GovERNOR Kashim Shettima of Borno State yesterday declared three days of fasting and prayers in the state for the safe return of the students of Government Girls Secondary Schoool, Chibok, who were abducted by Boko Haram last month.
The fasting will run from Monday, May 12 to Wednesday, May 14 for God to intervene in the rescue of the girls . Receiving participants in a protest organised by the Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), Chibok, in Maiduguri, the governor asked every Nigerians, regardless of religion, to join the three-day fasting.
He said that the issue at stake is beyond politics and religion because, according to him, the abduction borders parents everywhere.
He hailed the American first lady, Michelle Obama, for supporting the cause of the freedom of the girls.
Shettima noted that without the support of concerned citizens of the world like Michelle Obama, her husband and many other leaders around the world, little would have been known about the plight of the victims.
“The people of Nigeria say no to this unfortunate development and I assure you that we will do all we can to get you out of this pains you are going through,” he told the women.
Earlier, spokesperson for the KADA people, Alabe Grema, called on the managers of security in Abuja to take concrete steps to free the abducted teenagers.
Grema spoke of the psychological trauma being faced by his people following the abduction and prayed that the pains would end soon.
Among the protesters were women and elders of Chibok, including those whose daughters were abducted.
The mother of Helen Jarma, one of the victims, wept all through the protest.
She told reporters that since she could not go to the Sambisa forest to get her daughter, the best she can do now is to cry until she returns.
On the allegation by Amnesty International that the military had foreknowledge of the abduction four hours before it occurred, Governor Shettima said that while he appreciated the “sacrifices” of security agencies in checking the menace of Boko Haram in the state, he had no reason to doubt the findings of the organisation.
But he said that with the AI’s findings directed at the Federal Government, the state government would prefer to stay out of it.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mallam Isa Gusau, in a statement yesterday on the AI report said the governor “will not comment” on it.
“But the Governor deeply appreciates the efforts and sacrifices of security agencies in Borno State who have been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the last three years with some of them laying their lives for the state. The Governor also respects the Amnesty International as a credible institution and will not doubt its findings,” he said.
“The Governor is very much committed to supporting ongoing search and rescue efforts to free Borno’s precious daughters.
“More than any other person in position of authority, Governor Shettima is deeply pained by that unfortunate abduction and is committed to providing all necessary support security agencies and community volunteers towards freeing his daughters.”