The Secretary to the Borno State Government, Ambassador Ahmed Jidda was a guest on Channels TV Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily this morning where he gave the state government’s account on the missing Chibok girls and why Borno government appeared handicapped in providing security for the school girls on the night of the abduction.
During the interview, the SSG said the initial number of girls abducted were 276 with 53 escaping and now remaining 223. He said with the recent return of 4 more girls, the number of girls now with the abductors is 219. He said the 77 girls shown in the recently released video by Abubakar Shekau have been identified by their parents and that the 57 girls that have so far returned are currently at the state Governments house where they are being taken care of. Continue…
The SSG said the allegations that the abduction was stage managed by the Governor to stop extension of emergency rule was totally false and was discredited with the release of the video by Shekau taking responsibility for the abduction of the girls and also stating his conditions for the release of the girls. He said the military saying they now know the location of the missing girls prove that the whole abduction was never staged by the state government.
As regards the letter reportedly sent by the Minister of Education warning that the Government Girls Secondary school was not safe to write exams and the students be moved due to security reasons, the SSG said indeed the state government received the letter but that the letter sent by the Minister only requested for security details for the Examination officials and not for the students. He aid the letter asked that security be provided in exam venues which is in Maiduguri, Biu, Chibok, Lassa and never asked for security for the students. He said on receiving the letter, the state government wrote to the State Police Commissioner requesting for security details for the WAEC officials as stated in the letter but the police did not respond to their request. He said the Minister’s letter requested for security only for the Unity schools which is owned by the Federal Government and not for the Chibok Government schools as he never mentioned the school in his letter. He maintained that the Minister never bothered about the Chibok girls. He said the state Governor could not enforce the Commissioner of Police to provide security for the students if they did not want to do so because the Nigerian constitution did not provide the Governor the power to interfere in the activities of the Police which is to provide internal security in the state. He said even though the Governor was called the Chief Security Officer of the State, the constitution did not provide him any power to control the police, army, or even the Nigerian Civil Defence Corp.
Asked why the Governor did not use from his security vault to provide security for his people since the Commissioner of Police was allegedly not being responsive, the SSG said
“Security vault has a wider implication. If you know what security vault is, it has so many implications. Prayers for instance is a security vault. We have never received any assistance from the Federal Government in the area of security. The only time the FG supported Borno state in the area of security was in 2009 when the insurgency started. Till today, they released only N200m. This same FG released 3bn to security outfits. We have received only N200m, so this Governor (Gov Kashim) is a Governor that has preoccupied himself with Funding security matters. We have spent N10bn on security. We have provided more than 400 vehicles to the security agencies. We pay for the security official’s logistics.”
Asked how much the security vault was, he said
“Let me take you back to the Military. Security vault is a vault that was unaccounted for but since the advent of democracy in 1999, it is inscribed in the constitution that every Governor and even the President should put it in the budget for consideration on the approval of the National Assembly or State Assembly as the case may be. In the case of borno, we had N4bn in 20011, N4bn in 2012 and N4bn in 2013, for the 3years N12bn as proved in the budget as security vault and is generally audited and gives a lead way to the Governor to fund security requirement of the security agencies within Borno state. Security operatives in Borno state would testify to tha fact, whether on the part of the Commissioner of Police, or the Director of the SSS or Customs, Police, Army they are all members of the security councel.and when ever they raise issues on requirements, we never told them to go to the FG or Min. of Defence. We always provided funding for them” he said
The SSG was asked why the state government did not bother to ask for security details for the state owned schools since according to him, the letter from the Minister wrote requesting for security only for its Unity schools, the SSG said the responsibility of the state Government was to write to the Police Commissioner before the kidnap, which they did.
Asked what is the true account of what happened the night the girls were kidnapped as there are conflicting reports as to what happened, the SSG said
“The authentic story is the one from the Borno state Governor because the Governor of Borno state personally visited Chibok and also his Wife and Commissioner of Education in the state also visted the school’.
He said the girls were initially deceived by the Islamic sect men that they were coming and that they were there to give them protection. He said they were lured into a lorry and taken away. He said the school was thereafter razed down. He said the real version of the story is the one from the state government as they were the ones on ground as Chibok is not in Bayelsa or Lagos state.
Asked why the security agencies did not honor the state letter requesting for security personnel, he said the question should be directed at them. He said he and the Governor don’t supervise the police.
Asked why did the state government still continued with examinations in the centre since it had been informed of the security challenges in the area, he said it was the responsibilty of the Police to write back to the state Government acknowledging their letter dated March 21st requesting for security personnel. He said the Government respects the constitution which leaves the responsibility of maintaining internal security of states to the Police.
On whether the principal was available when the Islamic sect men arrived the school on the night of the abduction, he said
“No she was not around. She lives outside the school. They (the principal and the teachers) don’t live with the girls.
He said they could not do anything about the police not responding to their request as the governor didnthe powers of the Governor to interfere in the affairs of the Police. He was asked why then did the state Government still proceed with conducting examinations in schools since it was said to be unsafe, he said
“It is because it was said to be safe and that security provisions would be made and that all that needs to be done was to be provided by the security officials.
He said the constitution as it is today stops Governors from interfering in matters on security even in their own states.
Asked if he was absorbing the state government of any blame on the missing girls, he said
“Yes naturally. I would not be sitting down to see people insinuation things that are not our responsibility”.
He said the recent declaration by the Chief of Defence staff that the military knows where the Chibok girls are might make the abductors relocate.
Asked whether the Governor was aware that Pres. Jonathan was to visit his state before leaving for France when the Governor left for London, the SSG said
“Initially he was not aware but information came to us that Mr President would stop over in Maiduguri to Chibok so the Governor cut short his visit and we came back, waiting to receive the president only for the programme to be shifted to some other agenda. I mentioned to the Governor that Presidential visit is a major event. Normally we get 1 week notice of Presidential visit to prepare where he would stay, the roads he would pass. While we were waiting, we got news that the visit was shifted”. He said the Governor went to London to look for investment opportunities for the state.
He said presently all schools in Borno state are closed down. He called on the Federal Government to fund the state with more money to fight the insurgency.