Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has watched with very keen interest a video clip shown on the BBC world service, purported to have been released by members of the Boko Haram sect.
In a statement issued in Maiduguri on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Isa Gusau, Gov. Shettima directed the transfer of the video into mobile storage devices under the care of some officials, including the Chairman of Chibok local government area.
According to the statement, the video is to be shown to parents, some of the freed students, who know their abducted colleagues, teachers and management staff of Government Secondary School, Chibok, where the abduction took place, so that the girls in the video can be identified to ascertain if they are part of the abducted students or otherwise.
Gusau stated that the governor is optimistic about the video and views the development as encouraging, given the fact that some of the girls who spoke, said they were not harmed.
While expressing the hope that the “girls did not speak under duress”, even as he awaits confirmation, Shettima called on citizens of Borno State, most of whom commenced another round of fasting today, to seek divine help, in response to appeal by the governor, to intensify prayers for the safe release of the schoolgirls, who are very precious not only to Borno, but to the entire world.
The statement reads in part: “Shettima expresses appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan for their concerns and concerted efforts towards the release of the schoolgirls. The Governor also expresses appreciation to other Nigerians, world leaders and citizens around the world, whose pressures have been of tremendous help so far. The Governor particularly thanks all security agencies and volunteers engaged in search and rescue efforts with an appeal that the efforts are intensified till all the girls safely return home”.
He also commiserated with families of the abducted girls and assured them that the Federal and Borno State Governments with the support of the international community, are collaborating towards the freedom of the girls, who he called his daughters.
“Shettima also extends appreciation to media establishments and journalists, local and international for their efforts so far. He enjoins citizens with relevant information to forward such directly to security agencies using phone lines that have long been public or should send the information through community leaders in respective local government areas or to send to him directly through his phone numbers that are of public knowledge in Borno State”, the statement concluded.