“If the First Lady leads protest to the governor of Borno, should the governor’s wife also lead protest to the Chairman of Chibok local government area as the one to be blamed?”
The Borno Elders Forum, an umbrella body for elders in the troubled northeast state, has criticized the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, for appearing to blame Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno State for the kidnapping of over 200 girls from Chibok secondary school.
At a meeting with the wives of state governors Saturday, Mrs. Jonathan had questioned the decision of the Borno State government to open the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok despite warnings about insecurity.
The students were in the school for their final certificate examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council, WAEC.
The head of WAEC’s national office in Nigeria, Charles Eguridu, who attended the meeting with the First Ladies Saturday, said the Borno State governor should be held responsible for the abductions. He said the governor ignored the council’s warnings that students be relocated to safer areas for the examinations, and gave a written assurance of security in the risk-prone community.
Mrs. Jonathan said the meeting agreed that she leads a protest to the Borno State governor’s office and other prominent officials if the girls were not found by Sunday.
The spokesperson of the Borno Elders Forum, Bulama Mali Gubio, said Mr. Shettima cannot be responsible for the security of Borno State since the state is currently under an emergency rule imposed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We have listened to the very disturbing remarks of our First Lady saying Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, should be held responsible as he is the Chief Security Officer of Borno State,” the group said. “It is very important we remind her that the emergency declared by her dear husband, Mr President is still in force and this means, the constitutional powers of the Governor as Chief Security Officer have been temporarily withdrawn by the President in accordance with section 305 of the constitution which the President relied upon.”
“The President is at the moment the chief security officer of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States while the governors have administrative powers as democratic structures in compliance with the provisions of the constitution. The President as chief security officer of Borno exercises his powers through his appointees, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff or any of the service chiefs and the Governor administers other aspects of Governance that fall under the concurrent legislative list of the constitution”, the group added.
The forum said described as “very ridiculous” Mrs. Jonathan’s plan to lead women to protest at the government house in Maiduguri when her husband is the still the commander-in-chief of armed forces with the provision of security directly vested on the Federal Government that he leads.
“If the First Lady of the Nation absolves the president of blames and leads protest to the governor of Borno, should the governor’s wife also lead protest to the Chairman of Chibok local government area as the one to be blamed?” the group asked.
“Should the wife of the chairman also lead protest to the principal of the school as the one to be blamed and possibly the principal wife or husband lead protest to the gateman at the school as the person to be blamed? This is funny indeed, the First Lady should grow to be the mother of the country and not to be seen doing things that can best be seen as un-presidential and capable of causing unnecessary confusion in the land at a time that the country desires for leadership from her husband”.
President Goodluck Jonathan met with the Borno State governor and other officials of the state government in Abuja on Saturday.