Two journalists have written a letter of protest over what they describe as the “maltreatment and humiliation” of some Borno State officials when they were summoned to the State House by Pres. Jonathan on Saturday May 3rd and Sunday May 4th
Sahara Reporters obtained the protest letter signed by Bashir Shuwa and Aliyu Biu.
Read below “We the undersigned wish to register our total protest to the President, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan over the degrading manner in which Borno State Government officials were chastised and reduced to nothing by the Presidency.
“Last week Friday, on May 2nd, 2014, the President appeared to have cause to invite key Borno State Government officials together with some Federal Government functionaries to the Presidential Villa over the abduction of the more than two hundred school girls at the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State three weeks ago.
“Those invited included His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Borno State, the Honourable Kashim Shettima, the State Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Inuwa Kubo, the State Commissioner of Police, and the State Director of the Department of State Security Services. Others are, the Principal of Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, the Chairman of the Chibok Local Government Council, and the Division Police Officer of Chibok, as well as the Chief Security Officer of the school.
“Upon their arrival at the Presidential Villa, on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan personally interrogated these key officials, from 9 PM to 2 AM, as if all the official information relayed to him by his security apparatus in Borno, was meaningless, unreliable and suspicious.
“At the end of interrogation, President Goodluck Jonathan handed over these officials to the Inspector General of Police, with the clear instructions to do his job. These officials were then driven to the Force Headquarters where they were detained, and made to make written statements on how the girls were abducted, and later, released on bail on self recognition, as if they were directly, or indirectly, responsible for the abduction of their own children.
“The following Sunday, May 4th, 2014, they were again taken to the Villa at 5 PM for further interrogation, and this time by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. While at the Villa, they remained standing for four hours, after which, they were ushered into the First Lady’s chambers. It was there where they were treated to verbal assaults, as to the veracity of their claims on how the school-girls were abducted, to the admiration of her cheer leaders, including the president of market women association, and Ms. Onyeka Onwenu, as well as some members of the Northern Governors Wives Association, who were present.
“One would have expected that the First Lady would have sympathized with these government officials for the traumatic events they went through, but unfortunately, they were subjected to all sorts of embarrassing humiliation. The sum total of the First Lady’s vituperations appeared to be directed toward negativity, and substituting fact with fiction, in order to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Also there were attempts made to play on religious sentiments, an attempt that failed woefully, having realized that the girls abducted came from various religious groups.
“As if that was not enough, the First Lady made a number of threatening remarks, including the order to security officials to arrest some women protesters, and shouting down on the State Director of State Security Services, and other officials, whom she allegedly labeled as “Boko Haram sympathizers.” She also ordered all of the officials to resign their appointments forthwith, on their return to their respective duty posts.
“This is highly unfortunate, and totally unacceptable, because the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended,) has not mentioned, or given any clearly defined responsibility, or role, or power to First Ladies to issue such directives. Nor is there any constitutional amendment to the First Lady to exercise the powers of the State Chief, or executive, directly, or indirectly, or otherwise in matters of governance. The Nigerian First Ladies are enjoying the current privileges courtesy of their husbands’ position.
“This official highhandedness exhibited by Dame Patience Jonathan, is primitive and unconstitutional, and therefore totally unacceptable. Similarly, the president (will) also need to clarify the grounds on which he ordered the detention and interrogation of the key government officials from Borno State, who were equally victims of the insurgency in Borno State by the Boko Haram.
“In view of the foregoing, we call on the International Community to ask President Goodluck Jonathan to explain to the world why he appeared to have doubts, as the security information sent to him by his own security apparatus, and (had) decided to descend on Borno State Government Officials.
“If he has any doubt on such reports, are the Borno State Government Officials who did [not issue] these official security reports going to be held responsible and asked to clarify what they have not written and reported? To us the sum total action of the presidency tantamount to blaming the victim, hence the purpose of our protest.
The office of President Goodluck Jonathan has yet to respond publicly to the letter written by the two journalists.