- Sources: FG offered millions of Naira in hard currency
- Govt officials maintain communication with negotiators
It has been revealed that efforts by the Federal Government to secure the freedom of Leah Sharibu were thwarted by Boko Haram members.
It was learnt that in the weeks succeeding her abduction, the Federal Government, acting through a third party, offered a huge amount of money as ransom to secure Leah’s release, but her abductors, who had made the financial demand, backed out when the money was offered.
Sources, privy to the transactions, told New Telegraph last night that the money was ready to be delivered when the terrorists who had made the request for a specific amount totalling several millions of Naira in hard currency, changed their minds and rejected the money.
“Channels of communication between top security agents of the government, third parties and the terrorists at times take more than a month to complete one line of messages back and forth; the Federal Government reached an agreement after such a long communication procedure only to be turned back after an agreement,” one of the sources said.
The source said it was discovered that the terrorists were trying to use Leah to whip up religious sentiments, which explained why they backed out of the deal.
“The Federal Government demanded an explanation for the sudden refusal to receive the ransom, but some of the third line communication channels disclosed that the terrorists decided they would never accept a ransom on Leah because they hoped to use her abduction to rankle religious passion and possibly cause a religious war in the country, if possible.
“While the Federal Government remains strongly committed to securing the release of Leah and all other identified and unidentified abductees, by any means necessary, the terrorists chose much earlier after Leah’s abduction to use her to fan religious embers and cause devastating division in the country. And that was why the terrorists rejected the ransom government security agencies prepared to pay for Leah’s release,” he said.
Another source said top presidential officials still encouraged the Federal Government officials to remain actively engaged with the channels of communication and the negotiators until a positive resolution was secured.
“This was because President Muhammadu Buhari has set a firm target and has resolved to ensure the freedom of Leah and others by any means necessary,” it added.
On February 19, 2018, about 5:30p.m., Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls, aged between 11 and 19 years, from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi at Bulabulin in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State.
On March 21, 2018, 104 out of the 110 abducted girls were released.
However, five did not survive the ordeal while Leah has been held in captivity since then.