Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima said Tuesday that he was yet to get sufficient facts on the abduction of scores of women and children alleged to have been abducted a few days ago from parts of his state.
The media was awash on Monday and yesterday with reports of the kidnapping of between 60 and 91 women and children from Kumugza village in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State as well as some villages in Askira/Uba Local Government Area, which shares a border with Chibok.
However, in a statement issued yesterday by the governor’s media aide, Isa Gusau, the state government said: “Governor Kashim Shettima has read with serious concern, media reports about yet another abduction in part of Damboa local Government Area of Borno State.
“The governor has since directed the chairman of the affected local government area and other government officials from the affected areas to make very urgent but accurate enquiries from communities and report to him as soon as they can, even as security agencies take appropriate actions.
“While the governor views the reported abduction with all the seriousness it deserves, he is also worried that weighty developments such as information concerning the abduction of 60 persons requires careful enquiry in order to obtain information that is comprehensive and beyond any reasonable doubt.
“The governor is worried that only recently, leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breaders Association were reported to have refuted media reports that some 30 fulani women were kidnapped at a community in Chibok.
“The association relied on what it called comprehensive investigation that involved making enquiries from all of its members not only in the area the kidnap was said to have taken place but also in the entire Borno State.
“The governor very much appreciates the urge of the media to inform the public about happenings not only in Borno State but everywhere in the world given the fact that the public has a right to know and they ought to be informed.
“However, he feels the Nigerian is competent enough to deploy means by which comprehensive and accurate information can be gotten. The governor appreciates that both the media and government at all levels, are working in unusual ways given the nature of the unfortunate insurgency that have remained persistent in some parts of Borno State.
“He knows and understands the difficulty but at the same time, he calls for patience at all times so that collectively, the media and government can in giving out information, be sure of exactly what happened, how it happened, when and who is or are involved.
“Governor Shettima stands by those who have been affected and shares their pains and those of their families even as we await the outcome of enquiries going on, hoping the outcome will be as soon as possible, without compromising accuracy of information.”
Shettima also expressed hope that the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok would, by the intervention of God, be rescued and “so will those recently affected, if ongoing enquiries confirm reports about the unfortunate incident”.
The statement from Gusau was in line with the information obtained by the state government sources on Monday night that they were unaware of the abduction of scores of women and children from parts of the state.
In a text message responding to THISDAY enquiries, a Borno State Government official said: “I do not think there is any truth to the story on the abduction of the women and children. We are making enquiries from all the relevant authorities and will revert (back) to you tomorrow (yesterday) morning.”
Also, security sources in the state said they were unaware of the abduction of the women and children from Damboa Local Government Area.
A security official, who spoke to THISDAY last night, said the village head of Damboa was in Maiduguri yesterday, but had not made any complaint about any abduction from his community.
“Damboa was attacked almost 10 days ago by Boko Haram which was reported in the media. We are not aware of another attack since then, not to add last week. If the abduction took place 10 days ago, then we would have known since,” he said.
However, a text message forwarded to THISDAY yesterday by another source in the Borno State Government from the chairman of the council said verbatim: “…last week attack on Kumugza village which bh (Boko Haram) abducted over 74 women and killed almost 10 men, but all press are calling me but I reserved my comments to them.”