How Borno Governor caused kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls – WAEC
The kidnap of over 250 schoolgirls in Chibok may not have occurred if the Borno State Government had heeded the advice of an examination body, fresh facts have emerged.
Aware of the poor security situation in Borno and worried about the safety of students, the West African Examination Council, WAEC, declined to conduct its Senior School Certificate Examination in unsafe parts of Borno, including Chibok.
But that was until the state governor, Kashim Shettima, assured of adequate security measures, an official has said.
The head of WAEC's National Office in Nigeria, Charles Eguridu, stated this on Friday night in Abuja while answering questions from several women including First Lady Patience Jonathan, wives of state governors, female legislators at federal and state levels, and leaders of various women organizations.
The Borno State Commissioner of Women Affairs, Inna Galadima, stood in for the wife of the Borno Governor, Nana Shettima.
The event was organised by Mrs. Jonathan at the First Lady's conference room, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. Eguridu said WAEC was initially reluctant to conduct its examination in Chibok and other troubled areas of the north-east because of the security challenges but had to buckle when Mr. Shettima assured the Council, in writing, that adequate security would be provided.
“Following the previous experience, we were afraid to go to the North-East this year, yet we risked it and asked for extra security through the Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike,” the official said. “We also asked the various state governments to relocate all the centres to the state capitals where there would be adequate security.”
“The three governors did not respond to our request but instead said they had made adequate security arrangements. The Borno state government also refused to relocate the students from Chibok to safer places like Maiduguri,” Mr. Eguridu told the women on Friday.
The WAEC official reportedly tendered the letters written to the governors of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe to prove his claim.
He also told the women that another factor that influenced WAEC's decision to ask that all centres be moved to the state capitals was the death of three of its staff while conducting a similar examination in a school along the Yola-Maiduguri road, last year.
Schools in Borno had been shut following the various attacks by the extremist Boko Haram sect.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the state government, in a bid to ensure its students do not miss the SSCE examinations, asked final year secondary school students to resume studies.
The Borno governor, who initially declined transferring the final year students from centres in remote areas like Chibok to the state capital, finally agreed to do so after the kidnap, Mr. Eguridu said.
“Borno state government only agreed to relocate the remaining 189 pupils after the abduction of the girls,” he said.
The Borno Government is yet to react to WAEC's claim. The Borno Education Commissioner, Musa Inuwa Kubo, did not answer or return calls made to his phone and was yet to reply to a text message enquiry as at the time of publishing this report.