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Gov. Shettima Sympathises with Gaidam, Yobe over GGSTC Dapchi Students

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has today Sunday expressed his sympathies to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state, the government and people of Yobe State over the sad and unfortunate incident at GGSTC Dapchi last Monday.

His words: "I am here as the governor of a sister state; of a brother state because Borno and Yobe are like Siamese twins…Secondly, I am here as the representative of the Northern Governors’ Forum. I travel all over the country to represent our forum on sensitive security issues. I feel it’s an irony if I go to far-flung places but do not come to Yobe at a time like this.

"Your Excellency our colleagues have mandated me to tell you that we stand by you at this difficult time. We share the grief of parents whose daughters are taken by this unfortunate incident. They are not their own daughters alone; they are our daughters as well.

"Your Excellency I have been in your shoes since 2014 when schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok. I know exactly how you are pained, how you feel and the trauma you are going through. When our daughters were abducted in Chibok, only God knew how I felt and I can imagine you and how you are feeling. The parents of these girls will always look up to you with hope in the midst of agony. I know your pain, but I also believe that Insha Allah these girls will be rescued very soon.

It is unfortunate that we have faced yet another abduction. But that only reminds us about the difficulties of fighting insurgency. Often time, they strike where you least expect them to.

"This incident however reminds us not only in Borno and Yobe States but perhaps across the northern part of the country to be on guard.

"And I think the difference between the Chibok incident and this one is that of the federal government assuming immediate responsibility and not being in doubt or in denial or concocting a conspiracy theory. When schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, some people said there was no abduction whatsoever because Borno was in the opposition.

" Those who admitted that there was abduction came with a conspiracy theory that the APC Government perpetrated it in order to take over the administration. Now this abduction took place in an APC-controlled state under an APC-led federal government. What this reminds us in very painful way is that, as political actors, we should learn to separate politics from issues of security. Human lives are precious in the sight of Allah.

"I know that Your Excellency have been supportive of the security agencies over the years. I know how much Yobe has expended in catering to the needs of the security establishment in the state. I know you are working closely with them.

"I want you to know that all our colleagues in the Northern Governors’ Forum do stand by the people of Yobe and Borno States. Our colleagues share the pains of the parents. This period requires us to be stronger and more united and more focussed. We should remain prayerful in this time and Insha Allah peace shall return to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and all other parts of the country.

"I am an eternal optimist. I see optimism in Your Excellency every day. I believe that this trying phase shall pass Insha Allah and we shall have peace, tranquillity, and prosperity in our sub-region. Tough times do not last forever but tough people do. In spite of (the fact that) the weather is stormy, but it won’t rain forever. Insha Allah we are seeing the silver lining at the end of the horizon and very soon we believe that concerted effort will be made to rescue our daughters from the hands of these demented monsters called Boko Haram".

In his speech, Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam expressed his gratitude and those of the Yobe State Government for the prayers and the sympathy visit, expressing the hope that the Dapchi school girls will be found and returned to their families soon.

His words: "I welcome Your Excellency on this sympathy visit despite your tight schedules and engagements in Borno State. It is my prayer that the Chibok girls who have been abducted since 2014 and the Dapchi girls who were abducted in the last five days are returned to their families safely Insha Allah.

"I want to seize this opportunity to register my gratitude to Your Excellency Governor Kashim and your entourage for paying us visit each time we had something happen either negatively or positively. We appreciate deeply. I pray that Almighty Allah will reward you all abundantly.

"Having said all that, despite the fact that the military personnel are doing their best, they need to do more to contain the situation...

"What happened in Dapchi was that prior to the sad incident, I didn’t know that the military personnel at Dapchi were withdrawn about a week earlier. This kind of incidence happened around 2014 at the Federal Government College Yadinbuni. In the morning hours (on that fateful day), the military were withdrawn from Yadinbuni. In the night of the same say, the insurgents went into the school and killed some number students on the day that the military were withdrawn...

"Dapchi is similar in that about a week to the incident, the military were withdrawn. And I was made to understand this morning that the defence ministry was disputing; that they did not withdraw anyone. I think that information is incorrect. The district head of Dapchi is here and I can tell you there was no military presence in Dapchi or Bayamari at the time of the incident. It was very unfortunate.

"This is no time for us to start shifting blame. But I want to put it on record that there was no military presence in Dapchi at the time of the incident. The press can circulate and quote me. This is the correct position.

"We remain prayerful that our children will be rescued and brought back to their families safe and alive.

"Thank you so much Your Excellency once again for the visit and I hope Almighty Allah will reward you abundantly".