Today marks the 435th day that no fewer than 200 students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state were allegedly abducted by insurgents. Though there have been reports of escapees among the abducted, not much have really been heard from and about the young girls over one year after.
We recall that on the night of April 14, 2014, female students numbering 276 were kidnapped from their school. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram whose operational base is largely in the North East axis of the country. While the nation and indeed the global community still grieved over the development, words flew about on October 17, 2014, raising hopes that 219 remaining girls might soon be released after the Nigerian army announced a truce between Boko Haram and government forces. The announcement coincided with the six-month anniversary of the girls’ capture and followed a month of negotiations allegedly mediated in Saudi Arabia by neighbouring Chadian President, Idriss Déby.
The announcement was met with doubt as this was not the first time government had claimed a breakthrough in negotiations with the Islamic militant group. The reason for this skepticism was not farfetched as government had to backtrack on an earlier announcement in September after saying the girls had been released and were being held in military barracks.
Even after that sorry state, the efforts of the Chibok people and government to rescue them from the stranglehold of their captors dipped too, as there has not been any reduction in public opinion about the sincerity and/or displayed unseriousness of the Principal and staff of the school in Chibok over the abduction of the girls. Apart from yawning lapses in the administration and management of the affairs of the students in a largely insecure environment, measures allegedly taken by the principal, Asabe Kwambura and her staff to secure the girls were anything but reasonable. We have underscored this before; but we still need to so state.
The loads of versions of how and when the Chibok girls were adopted remain questionable. Moreso, the cool and calm relationship between the school principal and officials of Borno state government with Governor Kashim Shettima as the arrowhead when thousands of parents, relatives and sibblings of the abducted girls still nurse some vanishing hope to see their children some day leaves more to be desired.
Against the foregoing background, we wish to query the sense in the state governor nominating the same GGSS, Chibok principal for a yet-to-be revealed commissionership office, as not only ill-advised, but a misplaced step that would throw up many more questions as to the abduction of the Chibok girls.
We must state that if the nomination of Kwambura sails through the Borno State House of Assembly and she is finally assigned a portfolio in Governor Shettima’s administration, not a few Nigerians, nay members of the global community, would condemn the development. For the same principal that refused to take security advice from West African Examination Council on the non-feasibility of conducting examinations for the students at the time and place and instead went ahead to issue assurances that landed the girls in captivity, to now begin to be named a commissioner in Borno state no doubt raises serious moral and security questions.
Governor Shettima and the good lawmakers of Borno state must rethink this move.