Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima told protesters in Abuja yesterday that his government had done a great deal to battle insurgency while the federal government had done so little.
He said:”When that video became public, this gentle man made copies of them and we directed the local government chairman to summon some of the parents in Chibok to come and identify their wards, so far they were able to identify 54 students by name and they were very sure that all the girls were students of the school
“I am a leader who is ready to accept resoponsibility for my actions and inactions if I don’t want to say so much in order not to scandalise federal authorities.
“After bringing back our girls alive, we can open the can of worms, we can tell you who and who are privy to information and I can even give you the time but I am a leader, I am not supposed to over hit the policy,I am to partner to see that we bring back our girls alive.
“Leadership calls for respect otherwise, believe me, i know a lot but i have to restrain myself from speaking too much because discretion is the better part of dialogue, believe me, if i am to speak, a lot of heads will roll.
“I will speak at the appropriate time. This country ladies and gentlemen belongs to all of us and we have to do whatever it takes to protect it.
“By overheating the polity, i am not adding any value to the system, hence it will resolve to something worse. We will allow others to do the talking…comment is free but facts are sacred and that is why i am not bothered about the insinuations and accusations because they cannot stand the test of empirical verification.
“All the girls in that video were identified to be students of Government Secondary School Chibok and 54 of them were identified by names by their parents. Some by partially, once they see a face that is familiar, they identify.
“The students from Chibok, we were able to get 53 of those students. Some of them fell off the vehicles, quite a number of them escaped from the hands of the insurgent, nobody rescued them, and they rescued themselves.
“Testimonies of our girls revealed that some of them were asked to cook, some were asked to go and fetch water from the river and they ran away.
“We are giving the girls counselling, we moved them over with the help of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and they are completing their exams today, the SSCE. They will go on a two-week break. For the NECO, we are bringing them down to Maiduguri and we are going to keep them in the most secured of locations in Maiduguri for them to seat for their exam.
“When the incident happened, i and my wife went to Chibok. It was after the international outcry that the federal government decided to give it attention; nineteen days after the incidence. I believe that if people are going to be fair to us, they will tell us that we have exhibited a lot of sympathy and support for the people of Chibok.
“Chibok is a community that i have personal likeness for, you can ask any Chibok person…
“Civil military relationship; without the relationship, the modest accomplishment that we were able to record in this counter insurgency period would not have come to fruition. The military and the civilian had a rough beginning.
“We were able to establish a rapport and that led to the creation of JTF. The JTF is a salutary effort, the JTF transformed into Borno Youth and Economic Empowerment, we are paying them N15,000 for community policing and they work hand in hand with the military. They help us with information gathering and they really guide the military in going to places because they are sons of the soil.
“If you have only have one river from which you are drinking water, you will not dare to poison that water and for that reason, i might withhold some of the information but believe me, Borno government has over the four years spent over N10billion assisting the security agencies in the state and if anybody says we are not assisting or partnering them, ask that person? Just two months ago, we bought 100 Hilux vehicles for the Nigerian Army at the cost of half a N500 million, you can go and verify from the Army headquarters whether we did it or not.
“For the police, we bought 20 APC’s for them and we are the only one in the federation that has done that for them.
“If anyone says the Borno state government is not partnering with the security agencies, it is just one of those tales by moonlight. They are people that want to divide the society that is together. So, we are solidly behind the military.
“They do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, if they are see me or Oby Ezekwesili, they will kill us, they are not intimidated by anybody. The ideology of Boko Hram is very devilish. They don’t discriminate, they are just bunch of lunatics bent on a suicidal mission and may God crush them for all of us.
“They have so far identified 54 of the girls, it is an ongoing process and they might identify more because it is an exercise that is currently going on at the government house in Maiduguri.
“The last time, i made a simple remark and it was taken completely out of context but i was saying this because i am the man on ground and can talk favourably on any issue concerning this issue more than anyone sitting comfortably in an office in Abuja here. I know that the security forces are doing their best under the circumstances they find their self.
“What they did was that when the video became public, a gentleman made copies of them and sent to us in Maiduguri, i directed the Local Government chairman to summon some of the parents to come and identify their wards, they were brought to Maiduguri and so far it is an ongoing exercise, where we have been able to identify 54 students by name and it was identified that all the girls in the video are students of the Government Secondary School Chibok.
“The FG’s claim about Borno State opening of schools in Maiduguri is absolutely nonsense, Federal Government Colleges in Maiduguri is right now open with students undergoing their final examinations, are they not Federal Institutions? We are not a unitary state, we are a Federation and if we are to permanently close down our schools, what message are we sending to the world, that Boko Haram have won? We met and discussed at length with WAEC who were subsequently intimidated into withdrawing their wards, i have documented evidence that WAEC agreed to the examination in Chibok and other communities including Maiduguri but i don’t want drag it, the issue now is how to get our daughters back.
“We know the whereabouts of the girls, in the context of the fact that we are the closest to the people, we have a very robust platform and a security alert system, where we have sensitised the communities about alerting us when they notice unusual movements. I will not go further on the locations of where they were sited or seen due to security reasons, if i do so, i will compromise the safety of those innocent girls, anytime we get information and we do get information, we relate it to the relevant quarters for them to investigate further.”