Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has faulted former President Goodluck Jonathan’s account of the Chibok girls’ abduction saga in his book, ‘My Transition Hours’, released to the public, on Tuesday.
Shettima, in his reaction, said the former president attempted to sweep the Chibok abduction under the carpet.
“In clever attempt to sweep under the carpet incontrovertible facts surrounding the April 14, 2014 Chibok abduction, former President Goodluck Jonathan has deliberately omitted, in chapter four of his new book, an investigative report submitted to him in June 2014, by the presidential facts-finding committee he constituted in May, 2014, which was mandated to gather evidence-based facts and circumstances on the abduction,” Shettima said in a statement yesterday, released by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau.
He said: “The Chibok school girls affair, in Chapter four of the book, ‘My Transition Hours’ did not represent the true account in the situation.
The former president had indicated that the schoolgirls abduction was a product of conspiracy by the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), in connivance with Borno State government.
Reacting to allegation of poor governance leveled against him by Shettima, Jonathan had challenged the Borno governor to speak up on the roles he played in the kidnap of the Chibok school girls.
He blamed the governor for allegedly exposing the girls to “avoidable danger.”
In a statement by his media aide, Jonathan had said: “He (Shettima) should be able to tell us if it was Jonathan’s poor choices that led the governor to expose students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok to avoidable danger, in total disregard of a Federal Government directive to the governors in the three states most affected by Boko Haram, to relocate their students writing the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) to safe zones.”
He also accused the Borno government and then President Barack Obama’s administration in the United States of undermining efforts to rescue the Chibok girls in 2014.
“The former president’s elementary book of tales fell short of the courage required of him to publish findings by his own panel in chapter four of his book.
“The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s book, ‘My transition hours’, from the first to the 177th page. I took particular interest in chapter four (the Chibok school girls affair), which has 42 paragraphs written on pages 27 to 36.
“I was amused that despite admitting, in paragraph 15, that he had (in May 2014) constituted a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee, under Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo and many others, ‘to investigate’ the Chibok abduction, former President Jonathan refused to mention any part or whole of the findings by that panel, which had submitted a highly investigative report to him on Friday, June 20, 2014, after the panel held investigative meetings with the then Chiefs of Defence Staff, Army Staff, Air Staff, the DG, DSS and IGP, met all security heads in Borno, visited Chibok, met with parents of abducted school- girls, met surviving students, interrogated officials of the school and the supervising ministry of education, interrogated officials of WAEC and analysed all correspondences.
“What has become very clear is that the former President decided to sit on facts in his custody, while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fiction designed to pass gulty verdicts to anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenges,” he said.
He said Jonathan book was short of “presidential take by midday” having missed out the report of the fact-finding panel which he established after global outcry of the abduction.
He said he was out to set the record straight.
“On Tuesday, the 6th of May, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding panel under the chairmanship of Brig. General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence and also appointed a secretary from the Niger Delta. President Jonathan single handedly selected all members of that committee which included his trustees amongst serving and retired security officers from the Army, DSS and Police; representatives of the UN and ECOWAS, representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organisations, representatives of the National Council on Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists amongst other persons he trusted. For almost two months, the probe panel undertook forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issues, held investigative meetings with parents of the schoolgirls during a visit to Chibok.
“The panel held separate one-on-one investigative meetings with myself, the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chiefs of Air and Naval Staff, met the then Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.
“The panel interrogated officials of Borno Government including the Comof Education and the school principal.
“The panel also held investigative meetings with heads of all security agencies in Borno State including security formations in charge of Chibok. At the end, the panel submitted its report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Abuja.