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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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Napoli Consider Renaming Stadium after Diego Maradona

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Napoli are considering renaming their stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.

The forward, who inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed following Maradona’s death that the club will discuss renaming their stadium in his honour, combining its current title with his full iconic name, Sky reports.

“We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,” De Laurentiis told French sports channel RMC Sport.

Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris supported the proposal that the city’s San Paolo Stadium be renamed for Maradona, who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club.

“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples stadium to Maradona,” De Magistris said.

The Mayor added: “We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”

Fans gathered outside the stadium, which was lit in memory of Maradona’s time at the club, in the southern Italian city on Wednesday evening.

Tributes have poured in from the world of football and beyond, with three days of national mourning underway in Argentina.

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Implement People’s Demands Or Set Nigeria on Fire, Wike Tells Buhari

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is ready to do the people’s requests.

The governor said the President will set the country ‘on fire’ by not implementing some of the requests voiced out by leaders during the recent discussions with the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The PUNCH had reported that Gambari led ministers and federal lawmakers to meetings with leaders of the six geopolitical zones as a way of addressing concerns raised in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

Gambari and the presidential delegation had met with governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday.

At the meeting, the South-South leaders including the Rivers State governor demanded the restructuring of the country in line with the principle of true federalism, saying it will guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.

Giving an update on the meeting on Thursday morning, Wike said the President still has time to implement the will of the people and etch a legacy for himself.

The governor spoke today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.

He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today. Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”

Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.

According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by implementing the people’s requests.

“He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.

The Punch

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Legendary Football Star, Diego Amando Maradona Dies at 60

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Diego Maradona, one of football’s greatest-ever players, has died. He was 60 years.

The 1986 World Cup winner had surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month. The Argentine Football Association confirmed he had died this afternoon.

“The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts,” they said.

Another of football’s greats, Pele, has led the tributes to: “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.” Follow latest updates and reaction here.

Dr Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s personal physician, said the former player had shown signs of improvement after a successful operation three weeks ago.

Dr Luque said Maradona “laughed” and “grabbed my hand” just a day after he had the procedure.

“Diego is without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery,” Luque said, addressing reporters at the clinic’s door.

“He has an excellent post-operative period, the laboratory parameters even improved.

“The first impression is it is favourable, but it is difficult to evaluate.”

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