Omokri Gets Hollywood Awards, Calls for Leah Sharibu’s Freedom


Martins Ifijeh

An ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri has bagged the ‘Most Outstanding Humanitarian Cause 2019 Award’ by the Hollywood Magazine Weekly Film Festival.

Speaking during the presentation of the award in Los Angeles, United States recently, Omokri called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to intensify efforts to ensuring that the yet-to-be-released Dapchi girl, Leah Sharibu is freed from her captors, Boko Haram insurgents.

He said he has been moving round the world to draw attention to Sharibu’s plight, as well as mount pressure on world leaders, including the British Prime Minster, Boris Johnson and US President, Donald Trump to lend their voices for her freedom.

Omokri said: “Ms. Sharibu is a Christian girl abducted by the Islamic movement, Boko Haram. I have made some progress in negotiating her release. They were going to kill her, but they have given me their word they are not going to do that. They told me what they want, and that is why I am trying to put pressure on the Nigerian government to get her released. I was willing to pay a ransom, but I was advised by the British security experts that if I pay a ransom, they will probably let her go, and then abduct more girls.

 “To get this resolved, I need the world to join me in the #freeLeahSharibu movement. I met with the British prime minister; I met with the former British Prime Minister, Theresa May. I have been to 36 countries to draw attention to her captivity. I have also met Hollywood celebrities. As long as there is a global attention on Ms. Sharibu, she will be a high-priced asset, and then the Islamic terrorists won’t hurt her. If she is a nobody, they can kill her.”

Omokri said if Johnson, Trump and other world leaders talk about the 16-year-old, she will most likely not be killed, adding that he was motivated to champion the cause for her release because back then in Nigeria as a six-year-old, he walked seven miles to church due to his love for God.

“This is also who Ms Sharibu is. She is willing to sacrifice her own life for God. This inspired me. I see myself in this girl, because, of course, I have a 14-year-old daughter,” he said.

He also thanked Hollywood Weekly for the recognition, adding that he will continue to champion humanitarian causes.