Barely few hours after the release of video clip of abducted 276 girls by Boko Haram, the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, yesterday ordered mass production of the visual for the parents to assess.
The governor also directed the Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area to show the video clip to distraught parents to ascertain whether the girls were actually the ones.
These disclosures were made in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media/ Communication, Alhaji Isa Gusau.
The statement said: “The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has watched with very keen interest a video clip shown on the BBC world service, said to have been released by members of the Boko Haram sect.
“Governor Shettima has directed transfer of the video into mobile storage devices under the care of some officials, including the Chairman of Chibok local government area, who have been given an immediate task of showing the videos to parents, some of the freed students who know their abducted colleagues, teachers and management staff of Government Secondary School, Chibok, so that the girls in the video can be identified to ascertain if they are part of the abducted students or otherwise.
“He is, however, optimistic about the video. Already, some concerned individuals in Maiduguri and Abuja are on the request of the governor, making efforts to contact parents and relations of some of the abducted girls, who might be within reach to get feedback regarding the video.
“Governor Shettima views the development as encouraging especially given the fact that some of the girls said they were not harmed. The governor hopes that the girls did not speak under duress.
The governor, however, tasked Borno indigenes not to desist from praying for the release of the girls.
The statement added: “While awaiting the confirmation, Governor Shettima calls 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.
“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.
The Governor once again commiserates with families of the abducted girls and assures that the Federal and Borno State Governments with the support of the international community are collaborating towards the freedom of the girls who are also 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 Nation]