Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has challenged former President Goodluck Jonathan to reveal the findings of the committee he constituted to investigate the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls.
Shettima was reacting to a press release by former President Jonathanâ€™s media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, which hinged the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls on the poor choices made by him.
Eze had in the press release asked Governor Shettima to tell Nigerians whatever he knew regarding the April 14, 2014 abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram after the terror groupâ€™s attack on Government Secondary School, Chibok.
A statement signed by Borno State Commissioner of Education, Hon. Musa Kubo, in Maiduguri on Saturday, said: â€œNigerians should ask Jonathan why he concealed report of his own fact-finding committee.â€
Kubo, who was amongst those interrogated by the Jonathanâ€™s Fact-Finding Committee on Chibok schoolgirls abduction, said: â€œRather than direct spurious allegations against Governor Kashim Shettima on controversies surrounding abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, the media aide should ask his principal, President Goodluck Jonathan, why he deliberately concealed report of a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee he constituted and inaugurated on Tuesday, 6th of May, 2014 and which submitted report of findings to him on Friday, 20th of June 2014.â€
Kubo said: â€œFor the purpose of records, Eze and his colleagues are pointing towards the wrong direction, they should ask their principal, President Goodluck Jonathan, why he deliberately refused to make public, the report of a committee he constituted, inaugurated and received their findings on facts surrounding the Chibok abduction and who is to blame for it.
â€œTo refresh their minds, on Tuesday, the 6th of May, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Brig. General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence, and secretary of the Committee was from the Niger Delta. President Jonathan singlehandedly selected all members of that committee which included representatives of the UN, ECOWAS, retired and security officers from the Army, DSS and Police; representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organisations, representatives of the National Council of Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and some of his highly trusted associates.
â€œFor nearly two months, the committee undertook thorough investigation that included forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issues, held meetings with parents of the schoolgirls, visited Chibok, met with the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.
â€œThe committee also met with officials of Borno Government including myself and the school principal, the committee held meetings with heads of different security agencies in Borno State including security formations in charge of Chibok and after compiling their findings, the committee submitted it’s report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Aso Rock. The question anyone should ask is why President Jonathan deliberately refused to make that report public.â€
Kubo asked: â€œWhat was he hiding from Nigerians? Here is another question, if the findings had indicted Governor Shettima or the Borno State Government in anyway, does anyone really think Jonathan would have concealed that report given his open hatred for Shettima and the fact that the governor was in the opposition party?”
The Borno Commissioner of Education noted that, â€œif there was one Nigerian that assisted Jonathan in the fight against Boko Haram it was Governor Shettima who single-handedly approved the funding of Civilian JTF without any support from the Federal Government even when Jonathan himself repeatedly acknowledged the roles played by Civilian JTF in whatever success his administration recorded in fighting the insurgency.â€
He said Shettima supported Jonathan by funding security agencies and mobilising community intelligence as publicly attested to by the then Director of Operations at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Lawrence Ndugbane.
Kubo, however claimed that Jonathan’s main anger with Shettima was when the governor spoke out of frustration by telling the world that the Nigerian military was not being equipped.
He said the governorâ€™s claim had since been proved by former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, and by the discovery that the huge funds meant for arms were shared under Jonathanâ€™s watch.
The commissioner noted that President Jonathan’s decision to constitute that committee was a miraculous intervention by God to preserve the innocence of Governor Shettima and his administration.
He said that, â€œif Jonathan wasn’t the one that constituted a fact-finding committee and received a report, no administration on earth would have upheld Shettima’s innocence because Jonathan’s men would have questioned the report of any other fact-finding committee.â€
He called on President Jonathan’s media team to find something more important to do with their time rather than making baseless allegations in order to confuse Nigerians.