Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, has blamed the “opposition” for the news circulating on social media that Leah Sharibu is dead.
A statement by the minister referred to the report as “fake news”.
On February 19, 2018, more than 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram insurgents.
While other girls were released, Leah Sharibu was held back by her abductors over her refusal to convert from Christianity to Islam. Boko Haram had also threatened to make her their slave for life.
So far, government efforts to secure her release have not produced anything fruitful. President Muhammadu Buhari made a phone call to her family, promising to secure Leah’s release.
Responding to the news of Leah’s death, Mohammed said: “It’s absolutely fake news. There is nothing like that. I think it’s part of the opposition’s strategies to throw everything at the administration and at the President. I think every day they are realising the hopelessness of their position.
“Every day, they are amazed by the support Mr. President is receiving from every part of the country and they have decided that they are going to spread falsehood, inflame passion and make this election a Muslim-Christian affair or North-South affair, but people are not listening to them.”
Meanwhile, Leah Sharibu's mother addressed a press conference on Sunday.
As she spoke to the press, surrounded by members of the #FreeLeah support group, she broke down in tears as she pleaded with the government to do more to ensure her daughter's release.