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Opinion: When Would Leah Sharibu Return?

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By Eric Elezuo

When on February 19, 2018 the dreaded Boko Haram sect staged the kidnap of 110 students of Government Girls Science School. Dapchi, Yobe State, nobody expected that the heroine of the whole thing will be the then 15 year old Leah Sharibu. Even as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari negotiated the back channel release of the girls, there was no part reserved for Leah to play, but she finally took the scene by storm, and is today the preferred major character of the entire ‘script’.

On Tuesday, March 22, the terrorist ‘brought back’ 104 abducted schoolgirls with two others according to the presidency. Reports also claimed that five of the girls were dead and one, only one girl was not released. Her only crime was that she was a Christian, and had refused to be converted to Islam or wear the hijab.

This singular action brought a different twist to the well woven plot as not only Nigerian Christians reacted, but the world at large, making an emphatic demand for the unconditional release of the girl who has been described as spirited.

While lamenting his daughter’s continued stay as a captive in Boko Haram’s domain, Leah’s father praised her for refusing to denounce her faith, emphasizing how proud he is to be her father. The Christian world, on their part, has applauded her actions, saying it is only a true child of God that can call Boko Haram’s bluff right in their domain. The young girl chose to die rather than denying her Lord Jesus Christ – that was a feat not many so called acclaimed men of God and tongue talking brothers and sisters may be able to achieve. It is often said that it is in time of serious crisis where life is at stake that the real child of God could be known: Leah proved that she is a real child of God.

Her action has elicited a promise from the President that he will do everything possible to see that the lass returned home unhurt while the Christian sect are holding prayers on end for her safe return. Whatever happens at the end of the day, Leah has practically performed the whole duty of man which is encapsulated in ‘fear God’; she has paid her dues and shamed her detractors; she has stolen the show to the glory of God. It will not be forgotten also that she has affected a lot of lives, non-Christians too with her stern expression of belief even in an environment where she had no power to enforce anything. And many will begin to understand that there is more to living a pious life than meets the eye.

The world is waiting for her to return to be showered with encomiums and honour as that girl who was drafted for a ‘waka pass’ role but ended up becoming the lead character, the unexpected heroine of the whole Dapchi story.

But with the killing of two aide workers attached to the Red Cross society by the Boko Haram sect months after they were kidnapped at an IDP camp in Borno, fears have been raised as to her safety and safe return.

Consequently, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari must put every mechanism in motion to ensure she not returns, but return without scratches of any kind. As the government has promised, so must they do, at least for credibility sake. The world is watching!

In the same vein, even as President Buhari has constantly assured that the girl, who recently clocked 16 in the terrorists’ camp, will be returned, Nigerians, and of course the international community continue to ask: when would Leah Sharibu return?

Time, of course, is running out!

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Brazil Rally Back to Win U-17 World Cup

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Brazil staged a remarkable comeback for the second time in a week on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 in front of their own fans and win the Under-17 World Cup for a fourth time.

Just three days after they recovered from being 2-0 down to beat France 3-2 in the semi-finals, Brazil scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome their Latino rivals.

Although Brazil had more of the early chances, Mexico took the lead at 66 minutes when Bryan Gonzalez rose between two defenders to head a cross from the left into the net.

Kaio Jorge equalised from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) advised officials to pull playback following a challenge on Veron.

Then three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Lazaro ran on to a cross ball and calmly fired home, to the delight of the home crowd.

The Flamengo forward had also come off the bench to score the winner in Thursday’s last-minute win over France.

“They use the VAR when it is convenient for them,” said an unhappy Mexican coach Marco Ruiz. “We had the game under control until the VAR decision. They grew after that.”

The win was revenge of a sorts for Brazil, who lost 3-0 to Mexico in the Under-17 final in 2005, as well as to their Under-23 team in the final of the 2012 Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga scored a hat trick to help France come from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-1 and take third-place.

Dutchman Sontje Hansen won the golden boot for the top goalscorer with six goals.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Bayelsa Guber: APC Dislodges PDP in Massive Landslide Victory

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The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.

Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Diri won in two local governments.

Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.

The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.

Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.

Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.

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Theatres of War: Four Killed in Kogi, Violence Rocks Bayelsa

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The Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections as well as the Kogi West senatorial rerun were on Saturday characterised by violence, shootings, killings, vote-buying and ballot box snatching as many polling units across the two states experienced tension created by political thugs.

Four people were killed in Kogi during the election by political thugs while many were injured in Bayelsa where peace took flight as a result of electoral violence.

The Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Hakeem Busari, had before the elections assured residents of the state of the safety of their lives and property as adequate personnel would be drafted for the polls.

The elections commenced on a peaceful note across the state as there was a large turnout of voters with the electorate, mostly women trooped to the various polling units as early as 6.30am in Kogi.

But in spite of Busari’s assurance and voters enthusiasm, mayhem broke out in some polling units in Kogi East, Kogi West and Lokoja, the state capital.

Two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullets at the Adankolo polling unit in Lokoja.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the incident happened when some hoodlums tried to snatch ballot boxes at the polling unit.

Eyewitness said the two persons were killed when voters resisted the thugs. The thugs, it was gathered, killed the two persons while a passerby sustained a life-threatening injury from gunshot wound.

This angered the youth who mobilised and set the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the area ablaze.

When the state police command was contacted, its spokesperson, DSP William Aya, said all enquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of Police in the state Commissioner of Police.

The Punch

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