The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Sunday described as “absolute fake news” reports making the round that the abducted but yet-to-be released Dapchi schoolgirl, Miss Leah Sharibu, has died in captivity.
Leah was abducted by agents of the Boko Haram insurgents along with more than 100 other female students from their school dormitory in Dapchi, Yobe State, in March 2018.
And just over the weekend, news filtered the country that the only Christian girl abducted by the insurgents, but was not released when government bargained the release of the other girls and who had insisted she would not renounce her religion, had died.
But, dismissing the information, the minister insisted in Ilorin, Kwara State that “it’s absolutely fake news”, adding that “there is nothing like that”.
In the statement by the minister’s special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, Mohammed maintained that “the reported death of Miss Sharibu, few days to the presidential election, is a ploy by the political opposition to tarnish the image of the administration and exploit primordial sentiments ahead of the polls”.
According to the minister, “I think it’s part of the opposition’s strategies to throw everything at the administration and at the president. I think everyday they are realising the hopelessness of their position.
“Everyday 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”.
He did not, however, say if government had any recent intelligence to confirm Miss Sharibu is alive or where she is being held.
Since the kidnap, the Federal Government has kept promising that it is doing everything to free Miss Leah from her captors. President Muhammadu Buhari and his aides have continued to re-assure Nigerians that she has not been abandoned.
Buhari had said that he was being cautious not to fall into the hands of dubious men presenting themselves as negotiators.
In another development, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai MMohammed has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally in Kwara state scheduled for today is on course.
According to him, the party has put everything in place to ensure that the visit of President Buhari is a huge success.
“The party has been meeting in the last couple of days to ensure that the president’s visit is very successful. We have watched the rallies in many parts of the country and we want to assure Mr. President that our rally in terms of numbers, quality of people, entertainment and colour will rank among the best,” he said.
He also described the protest over the redeployment of police commissioners across the country as the handiwork of the opposition, which, he claimed were working to discredit the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).