The row between ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, over the abduction of the Chibok School girls in 2014 deepened yesterday.
Shettima through a statement by the Borno State Commissioner of Education, Musa Inuwa Kubo, has challenged the ex-President to make public the report a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee he constituted in the wake of the girls’ abduction, ‘if he has nothing to hide.’
The Commissioner, who denied allegation by Jonathan that the Principal of Chibok Secondary School at the time of the abduction was appointed commissioner by the Shettima administration, insisted that no one contributed to the fight against Boko Haram than Shettima.
The spat between Jonathan and Shettima followed remarks by the Governor at a book launch in Abuja that the ex-President had surrounded himself with persons who could not help him in the art of governance unlike former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose administration was studded with very bright personalities.
However, Jonathan, through a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, said Shettima should come clean on how the Chibok girls were kidnapped on April 14, 2014.
But Kubo also called on Nigerians to ask Jonathan why he concealed a report of his own fact-finding committee’ that investigated the circumstances surrounding the kidnap of the girls.
Kubo said: “Rather than direct spurious allegations against Governor Kashim Shettima on controversies surrounding the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, media aides should ask their principal, ex-President Jonathan, why he deliberately concealed the report of a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee he constituted and inaugurated on May 6, 2014 and which submitted the report of findings to him on June 20, 2014.”
He also said there was never a time the Principal of Government Secondary School, Chibok was considered for any appointment, not to mention being a Commissioner.
He described the claim by Jonathan’s media team as an irresponsible mischief.
He added: “For the purpose of records, Eze and his colleagues are pointing the wrong direction, they should ask their principal, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, why he deliberately refused to make public, the report of a committee he constituted, inaugurated and received their findings on facts surrounding the Chibok abduction and who is to blame for it.
“To refresh their minds, on May 6, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Brig. General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence and secretary of the Committee was from the Niger Delta.
“President Jonathan single handedly selected all members of that committee which included representatives of the UN, ECOWAS, retired and serving security officers from the Army, DSS and the Police; representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organizations, representatives of the National Council of Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and some of his highly trusted associates.
“For nearly two months, the committee undertook thorough investigation that included forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issues, held meetings with parents of the schoolgirls, visited Chibok, met with the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.
“The committee also met with officials of Borno Government including myself and the school principal. The committee held meetings with the heads of different security agencies in Borno State, including the security formations in charge of Chibok and after compiling their findings, the committee submitted its report directly to President Jonathan on June 20, 2014 in Aso Rock.
“The question anyone should ask is why President Jonathan deliberately refused to make that report public. What was he hiding from Nigerians? Here is another question, if the findings had indicted Governor Shettima or the Borno State Government in anyway, does anyone really thinks Jonathan would have concealed that report given his open hatred for Shettima and the fact that the Governor was in the opposition party?
“Also, the issue of saying the Principal of GSS Chibok was appointed a Commissioner is an irresponsible mischief because Governor Kashim Shettima is neither foolish nor is he a daft,” the Commissioner stated.
Kubo said if there was one Nigerian that assisted Jonathan in the fight against Boko Haram it was Governor Shettima.
He said Shettima single-handedly approved the funding of civilian JTF without any support from the Federal Government .
He said Jonathan himself repeatedly acknowledged the roles played by Civilian JTF in whatever success his administration recorded in fighting the insurgency.
He said the governor supported Jonathan by funding security agencies and mobilizing community intelligence as publicly attested to by the then Director of Operations at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Lawrence Ndugbane.
Kubo said Jonathan’s main anger with Shettima was when the governor spoke out of frustration by telling the world that the Nigerian military wasn’t being equipped.
He said the Governor’s claim has since been proved by former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh and by the huge allegations on how funds means for arms were shared under Jonathan.
The Commissioner noted that ex- President Jonathan’s decision to constitute that committee was a miraculous intervention by God to preserve the innocence of Governor Shettima and his administration.
He noted that if Jonathan wasn’t the one that constituted a fact-finding committee and received a report, no administration on earth would have upheld Shettima’s innocence because Jonathan’s men would have questioned the report of any other fact-finding committee.
He called on the ex-President Jonathan’s media team to find something more important to do with their time rather than making baseless allegations in order aimed at tarnishing the image the governor.