Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, has called for more prayers this Easter season for the safe return of the remaining abducted girls of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.
According to the school authorities, 113 of the 129 female students lodged in the hostel were abducted by unknown gunmen last Monday
So far, about 30 of the girls have escaped from their abductors, some who ran home have been accounted for while the whereabouts of 76 remain unknown.
Governor Shettima admitted failure on the part of government to ensure the protection of the lives of law abiding citizens, especially children, and has pledged that his administration would do everything possible to ensure that the remaining girls are returned safe to their families.
Shettima who spoke through his spokesman, Isa Umar Gusau, said he has been traumatized by the fact that one week after the sad incident, there is still no clue as to where the girls might be held, even as security agents and vigilante groups continue to make efforts to locate them.
“I have seen very serious moments since I became the Governor of Borno State in 2011 at a period of insurgent crisis. I have seen many innocent lives lost for no reason and I mourn every life lost with empathy and high sense of responsibility. But the last one week have been my worst days as a Governor and even the worst in my life. I am troubled as a father, as a leader and as a politician,” the governor moaned.
He said as a father with young daughters, he can only imagine how difficult it must be for a parent whose female child in possible danger, especially in the hands of terrorists known for brutality.
Shettima dismissed insinuations that attacks in the state were targeted at a particular religious group, saying he was sure that the abducted girls comprised of both Christians and Muslims alike.
“As a leader, I have always believed and displayed fairness to all citizens regardless of ethno-religious backgrounds. I hold that the Borno State Government has a responsibility towards every citizen of the State, young or old, irrespective of religion, ethnic group or place of origin. I very much share the grief of parents and the entire people of Chibok,” he said.
He added that: “So much is being done by rescue teams, there is very high commitment on the part of the Federal, State and Chibok local government authorities in working for the freedom of these innocent daughters of ours that are future leaders and mothers of future leaders. I pledge the resolute commitment of my administration to the search for peace and sustainable progress of all citizens.”