Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday announced an offer of N50 million to anyone that offers useful information which leads to the rescue of some female students of Government Girls Secondary School,Chibok, abducted by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect. The offer came just when ten girls escaped from an un-identified camp of their Boko Haram abductors.
This bring to 14, the number of students that have so far escaped from the Boko Haram abductors as four earlier escaped when the vehicle conveying them to the camp broke down on Tuesday morning.
Shettima explained that a total of 129 final year science students undertaking exams were at the school hostel as at the time of the attack. He said other science students were day students while the rest of the students were on holiday. He however said the exact number of abducted students was yet to be ascertained but that a register has since been opened for parents and guardians to make formal reports on missing students. He said 50 complaints by parents and guardians have so far been documented in the register.
The governor said his government was willing to do everything to ensure that the female students get reunited with their family.
He said he has been in constant touch with the principal of the school and the leaders of Chibok and have gotten everyone involved in the search for the students.
The governor, who was in painful mood at the press briefing, said: “The commissioner of education has been in constant touch with the school and the people of the town. I have also been speaking to the principal and the district head of Chibok on hourly basis.”
On how the ten students escaped, the governor said they were asked to be involved in the preparation of meals by the insurgents and they took the opportunity of washing plates to flee the camp.
He said he would have been in Chibok by now but for security advice which told him to stay away for now as search and rescue operations launched by the military and vigilantes were ongoing.
He said: “I wanted to go to Chibok but I was advised against it because of military operations going on around there. My convoy may interrupt the efforts and that will be counterproductive. What is important is to safely rescue our daughters and sisters”
Shettima added that the time calls for sober reflection and should not be used to apportion blame, insisting that everyone is required to contribute his quota at finding the students and reuniting them with their families.
He said: “I want to appreciate the efforts of the military in the task of bringing peace back to the state.”
Shettima said he would not rest until all the abducted students are reunited with their families.
He said it was unfortunate that the students were abducted as the state have envisage something like this might happen and have put in place strategies to check against it.
He said one of the strategies was the premature closure of schools about two weeks ago, stressing that his government against criticisms closed down schools in the state knowing that this insurgents might strike at schools.
He added that the state government have had to bring the students to a central and secured place to write their WAEC/SSCE examination.
He said at various time whenever information was received schools measures were taken to safeguard the schools and in some instances students were transferred and some schools closed down. He said: “We have had cause to close down prematurely some schools in the state. Students of GSS Konduga, were rescued on the day Konduga was attacked. We congregated all the students in a center place. Students were moved from Mafa to Maiduguri to prevent them from being attacked.”
He said instead of the blame game, “the task before us is how to get the students back to their respective family.” He said that the crisis would not “last forever and we are sure we will overcome this traumatic phase.”