The Presidential Fact-finding Committee on the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls has arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, in continuation of its assignment. The committee members said they were not in the city with preconceived notions, but on a fact- finding mission that would lead to a resolution of the current hostage crisis involving the schoolgirls, abducted on April 14 at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.
The spokesperson for the committee, Kingsley Osadolor, in a statement said the committee members, led by the Chairman, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), arrived Borno on Sunday evening aboard an Air Force plane.
He said the team was received at Maiduguri Airport by the Acting General Officer Commanding 7th Division, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. M. Y. Ibrahim, and officials of Borno State Government.
Sabo said the committee had entered a crucial phase of its assignment. “We are now in the main theatre where the schoolgirls were taken away against their will. The whole world is mobilised against their abduction, and we cannot be happy while our daughters remain in captivity,” he said.
He reiterated that the committee had an open mind to its assignment. “We are not here with preconceived notions. We are here to find facts that will lead to a resolution of the current hostage crisis involving the schoolgirls.”
Sabo said the committee, while in Borno State, would engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders, to enable the committee have a holistic appreciation of the matter at hand, and advise the Federal Government accordingly. He, therefore, called for the cooperation of all concerned.
During a courtesy call on the Shehu of Borno at his palace on Monday, the committee chairman recalled that, historically, Maiduguri was a famous centre in the Trans-Sahara Trade, but regretted that the city and the state had suffered severe socio-economic dislocation as a result of insurgency in recent years.
Responding, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai, described the abduction as unfortunate. He said the Kanem Bornu Empire had been in existence for some 1,200 years, adding that the people were peace-loving.
“What is happening now is unfortunate. It’s entirely new to us. None of the leaders of Boko Haram is from Borno.”