The first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan has said if by today, Sunday, 4th of May that the 234 girls who were abducted from a government school in Chibok, Borno State have not been found, she will practically lead a protest against the government. She says they will first protest in Borno to the State Governor, before moving back to the Senate in Abuja, and then finally to the president’s office. Here is how The Nation reports it.
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan has blamed of the abduction of 234 secondary school girls while writing exams in Chibok, Borno State on the state government.
She made the accusation on Friday night during a meeting on the incident with wives of state governors, women opinion leaders, leaders of key women organizations and relevant women stakeholders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The First lady said the state government should be held responsible for the missing girls after the Head of WAEC National Office, Mr. Charles Eguridu revealed at the meeting that the Ministry of Education in the state refused to move all WASCE candidates in the state to Maiduguri as demanded in a letter written in March by the Minister of Education to the Ministry.
The state government reportedly replied that it had adequate security in school.
Worried by the revelation, she gave the state government three-day ultimatum to not only tell Nigerians the whereabouts of the girls but ensure the release of the girls who were abducted on the 15th of April, 2014.
If the girls are not found in the next three days, she threatened to lead women groups and mothers on protest march to Borno state, the National Assembly and to the President.
According to her, she had been dealing with the issue secretly since the news of the abduction broke out but has now decided to come to the open.
Failure on the mission, she said, is not acceptable to her.
She said: “By Sunday, we must have our children. If not, we will march to Borno and ask the governor to give us our children. We will march to National Assembly to see the Senate President and will also match to see the President,”
“Within three days, something will happen. We will get to the root of the matter. I don’t come out and go back empty. I have come out and something must happen.
“We will not fold our hands and see our children kidnapped our husbands, sons, daughters also being killed. We should be more concerned. We will form a committee to call on appropriate persons to come and answer questions. They must answer us. If they say they will answer us, then they should go and bring our children.
“The demonstration will take place at their doorsteps. When they don’t answer us, we can then approach our neighbours, the President, Senate President and others to help us.”
“I have been dealing with this secretly but you have taken me to the market square. There is no more hiding.” She declared
Noting that state governors are the chief security officers of their states, she said that they must be ready to take the heat for any act of insecurity in their domain.
Recalling when her husband was the Bayelsa State governor, she said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo could call her husband in the middle of the night over any news of kidnapping in the state.
She said: “Governors are the security officers of their states. During Obasanjo’s time, anytime an oyinbo is kidnapped in Bayelsa state, he would call the governor (Jonathan) at 2am and give him 24 hours to produce the kidnapped person.”
“We now know who to ask for our children. We don’t need to embark on demonstrations from state to state,” she said.
The meeting at the First Lady Conference room, which was adjourned till 4pm on Saturday, also summoned some individuals the First Lady believed would assist in unraveling the circumstances leading to the girls’ abduction and their whereabouts.
Those summoned include the Borno State Commissioner of Police, the state Commissioner for Education, the chairman of the local government, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Chibok, the wife of the village head, the school principal and the school gateman.
Also invited are at least two teachers from the school, the chairman and secretary of the school’s Parents Teachers Association, two house parents, two parents of missing children, and two parents whose children had returned home.
She also constituted a committee to ensure that those she summoned attend the Sunday meeting.
According to her, the committee to be chaired by the wife of Borno State governor, who was absent at the meeting, has wife of the Senator and member of the House of Representatives from the affected constituency in the state, wife of the Minister from Borno State and wife of the Chairman of the affected local government area as members.