The Borno Elders Forum, an umbrella body of elders in Borno State, yesterday condemned a statement attributed to the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. She was reported as having said that Governor Kashim Shettima, as the chief security officer of the state, is to be held responsible for the schoolgirls’ abduction at Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014, by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.
Spokesperson of the Forum Bulama Mali Gubio, in statement issued yesterday in Maiduguri, said the first lady spoke out of ignorance because Borno is under a state of emergency and that, by that, the powers of control over security have been withdrawn from the governor and vested on the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who exercises the powers through the chief of defence staff or the chief of army staff.
The elders said: “We have listened to the very disturbing remarks of our First Lady saying Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima should be held responsible as he is the chief security officer of Borno State. It is very important we remind her that the Emergency declared by her dear husband, Mr President, is still in force and this means the constitutional powers of the Governor as chief security officer have been temporarily withdrawn by the President in accordance with section 305 of the constitution which the President relied upon.
”The President is at the moment the chief security officer of Borno,Yobe and Adamawa states while the governors have administrative powers as democratic structures in compliance with the provisions of the constitution. The President as chief security officer of Borno exercises his powers through his appointees, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff or any of the service chiefs and the Governor administers other aspects of governance that fall under the concurrent legislative list of the constitution.”
In addition, the elders said it was very ridiculous that the first lady threatened to lead women to protest at the Government House in Maiduguri when her husband is still the commander-in-chief of the armed forces with the provision of security directly vested on the federal government that he leads.
“If the First Lady of the nation absolves the President of blames and leads protest to the Governor of Borno, should the Governor’s wife also lead protest to the Chairman of Chibok local government area as the one to be blamed? Should the wife of the chairman also lead protest to the principal of the school as the one to be blamed and possibly the principal’s wife or husband lead protest to the gateman at the school as the person to be blamed?
”This is funny indeed, the First Lady should grow to be the mother of the country and not to be seen doing things that can best be seen as unpresidential and capable of causing unnecessary confusion in the land at a time that the country desires for leadership from her husband,” the statement said.