The Oasis Reporters
January 2, 2019
The dire security situation in Borno state in Nigeria’s North East under the seven and half years of Governor Kashim Shettima’s watch has forced him to be humble in words.
The governor who quickly read former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s book ‘My Transition Hours’ that was launched late 2018 as fast as he could, offhandedly dismissed it as an ‘elementary book of fiction’.
In doing that, Shettima cleverly avoided mentioning the fact that he received a letter from the then Minister of state for Education, Nyesom Wike, advising that he relocate the Chibok School girls to Maiduguri for their final examinations.
He refused, insisting that the girls would be protected.
It turned out that he either failed to protect the girls from the southern Borno town of Chibok, or indeed, along the security chain, a breach occurred that led to the massive abduction of almost 300 school girls, with many still in captivity.
Rather than blame himself for rejecting superior advise, he tongue – lashed the former president, who, in the book, among other allegations, said Shettima and the rest of the All Progressives Congress conspired in the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls.
Shettima said “it was clear to him after reading the former president’s book that Jonathan still lives with poor understanding of issues under his presidency.”
Governor Kashim Shettima said, for instance, that Jonathan’s claim on page 31 that Boko Haram wanted a Muslim president rather than a Christian like him, was laughable since the insurgents actually began their deadliest attacks in Borno under the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria.
He said the former president deliberately omitted in Chapter Four of his book, an investigative report submitted to him in June 2014 by the presidential fact -finding committee he constituted in May, 2014, which was mandated to gather evidence – based facts and circumstances on the abduction.
Shettima’ s reaction to the book was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau .
He said the allegations contained in Chapter Four titled, The Chibok schoolgirls affair, were untrue, saying that Jonathan was wrong to have indicated that the schoolgirls’ abduction was a product of conspiracy by the then opposition APC, in connivance with the Borno State Government.
He said that the former president, in the book, had also accused the Borno State Government and then President Barack Obama’s administration in the United States of undermining efforts to rescue the Chibok girls in 2014.
Shettima said the truth was that Jonathan never believed there was an abduction until rescue efforts were too late, insisting that “the former President’ s elementary book of tales fell short of the courage required of him to publish findings by his own panel in Chapter Four of his book. ”
“The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s book, My Transition Hours, from the first to the 177th page.
The following tweets may show that the Federal government needs to scale up efforts on the Boko Haram War project, but it is understandable that Kashim Shettima would now say that the Federal Government and the military are doing their best.
SPECIAL REPORT: Why Troops Are Losing Ground To ISWAP
Is the 2018 military strategy and campaign working? The facts based on the number of military formations successfully attacked and overran by ISWAP in 2018…@BokoHaramWatch @HQNigerianArmy
READ MORE: https://t.co/SRsyGVqemn pic.twitter.com/YUhl8eWbqh
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 2, 2019
— IG: brownsugarpage (@brownsugarpage) December 31, 2018
Meanwhile, the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has admitted that the security situation in the troubled state is worsening but said he could not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the situation because he now has unfettered access to the president unlike during the administration of former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, when he was treated as an enemy of the presidency.
But why was he treated as an “enemy”, according to his words?
Speaking at an extraordinary security meeting held on Monday night at the Multipurpose Hall of Government House, Maiduguri, the governor urged the attendees not to engage in blame games over the perceived failure of the soldiers, which he said would be unfair given the enormous sacrifices they have made in the last seven years.
He said despite the worsening situation, he would encourage, rather than blame the military, saying the soldiers were doing their best within the circumstances they have found themselves.
There has been a resurgence of Boko Haram attacks, especially on military bases in the state in the past few months, leading to heavy casualties on the side of the Nigerian Army, according to a Thisday newspaper account.
No fewer than 40 soldiers have been killed in sporadic attacks on bases in Metele and Baga.
There are conflicting claims of the insurgents holding positions in some of the local governments of the state.
But Shettima said despite these he was unwilling to apportion blames to Buhari and the military.
He explained, “Some persons have asked why I have not criticised the Buhari government or the Nigerian military over situations in Borno. My response to them is that unlike in previous years when I was treated as an enemy of the presidency, I have from 2015 to date, gained unfettered access to the president.
Unfettered access is one thing. But has it resulted in any successful outing for the beleaguered citizens of Borno state?
“I see the Commander-in-Chief at the shortest request and I tell him my concerns, he listens to me with keen interest and in most cases, he takes measures. I have not had reason to be frustrated with the presidency unlike previous years.
“Let me say that even under the previous administration, I regularly supported and defended the military. When I said in February 2014, that the military was not being well equipped, it was not a comment by design, it was a spontaneous reaction, which came out of frustration and it was in defense of the soldiers being killed in front lines. I knew the problems.”
He said the most inhuman way to go is to gather and condemn those who are putting their lives on the line and giving their lives in efforts to find peace.
According to him, “We are principally here as a family, as a people all affected by the situation in Borno State, to discuss suggestions that will hopefully contribute to combined ongoing efforts towards addressing the problem.”
He underscored the urgency of the situation when he told his guests, “For seven years, we held our regular security council meetings. I from time to time consult with some of the participants here. However, I never for once convened an extraordinary meeting of this nature because, frankly speaking, I was avoiding a sort of dramatisation or being sensational about our challenges in Borno State.
“Without being insensitive to the realities of our situation, I feel deeply pained whenever Borno is being discussed on the basis of helpless weakness. I prefer to assume a position of strength; a position of normalcy and a character of being incurably optimistic.”
He said his greatest wish was and still is, not to bequeath Boko Haram challenges and IDP camps to his successor.
“We wanted to, and still want to get Borno fully back to normal days,” he said, adding, “Sometimes, I unconsciously find myself boasting that Borno is safer than Lagos. I simply feel very bad to sound pessimistic about Borno. I so much believe in optimism.”
But the influx of men, women and children into Maiduguri, as well as reports of many dying on the way, have triggered tension in the state with concerns among citizens calling for drastic action to be taken by the government.
It was based on this that Shettima convened the Monday night security meeting that involved almost all sectors, including security agencies, the media and legal practitioners.
The outcome of the meeting was not disclosed as officials of the government said its conclusions would only be made known to the president
Meanwhile, the “helpless weakness” of Perry Brimah to raise funds and feed Nigeria’s soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the North East has gotten him into trouble.
Nigerian Army declares Perry Brimah wanted over alleged fraudulent fund raising to feed troops https://t.co/wFfZplGcTO
— TODAY (@todayng) January 2, 2019
Is the government really doing enough?
What are the constraints in Borno? Nigeria seeks urgent answers.