Borno State Government yesterday revealed that it had put down the sum of N150 million for the rehabilitation of the 53 girls of Chibok, who escaped from The forest where the girls are being held.
It also said the amount would be used to assist the traumatised parents whose daughters are still held captive by the terrorists.
Governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima, while addressing the chairman of the presidential fact-finding committee on the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), in Maiduguri, said while the amount would cover medical, counselling of the 53 girls who escaped, it would also provide material support for the grieving parents who have not been able to focus on their sources of livelihood.
Shettima, who was responding to the address by Sabo, said the initial doubts expressed over the abduction of the schoolgirls and the theory that his government staged-managed it was as painful as the actual abduction.
The governor, who said the state government had spent N1 billion since the beginning of the year as palliatives to victims of Boko Haram insurgency, added: “Unfortunately, we had to hold what we should have done for Chibok because of the politics brought in.
“If we had released some material support earlier, some bad elements would have said we tried to buy the people of Chibok. Unlike other communities in which private houses and markets were destroyed, public institutions like the school, the council secretariat, the residence of the council chairman and some few shops were destroyed in Chibok.”
According to him, “Borno State has seen evil times. Our people have suffered. At times, when I lament this carnage in the midst of some associates, they remind me that I didn’t create Boko Haram, that in fact, I inherited it in 2011 when I was sworn in amidst the near complete breakdown of security in Maiduguri, the largest and most populated part of the state.
“But I normally say to them, that a leader is elected or appointed to solve problems, it doesn’t matter whether the leader created the problem or not. A leader is elected to find a solution, this is governance. There is a whole difference between politics and governance.
“It hurts me, however, that there was all kinds of politics that was not introduced into that unfortunate Chibok incident. Even religion was brought in, all for the purpose of blame trade.
“In politics, you tell the general public and victims about a problem, you tell them the gravity of the problem; and with emphasis, you tell them who to blame for it.
“But in governance, you identify a problem and work hard to solve it. Unfortunately for us in this interesting country, we all appear to lay more emphasis on politics than on governance. The Chibok incident, for me, has grossly exposed our weighty weakness as leaders in terms of assuming our shared responsibilities.”
He pointed out that for two or three months, the entire western world mobilised men and resources and contributed so much funds in the search for a Malaysian Airline, which was believed to have crashed into the ocean.
“Majority in the western world suspected that the crew and passengers of that Malaysian airline were most probably dead. Despite that, massive investment was and is still being deployed in the search of whatever can be found as remains of those in that plane and its wreckage.
“Now, while that was going on, here is Nigeria, there was a report that over 200 human creatures, young Nigerian girls about to complete their secondary school education, where attacked in their school at night and whisked away like slaves in ancient years.
“The politics didn’t help anybody at the end of the day, because soon after that incident, we thought that our 53 daughters that either witnessed that attack or escaped from abduction be flown abroad for psychological counselling and some medical examinations.
“But then, with the politics of doubt over the abduction, if the state government had flown these 53 girls abroad, the doubting Thomases would have used that to claim that the 53 girls were non-existent or they would have probably said, we were taking the girls away from the public, probably because we had something to hide,” he added.