Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima led a delegation of National and State Assembly members, along with Chibok elders, to Aso Rock on Monday to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the successful release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants three years ago.
The governor’s delegation consisted of all Borno State Assembly members, National Assembly representatives from Borno State, the district head of Chibok, and community elders. Also present were the governors of Akwa Ibom and Zamfara States.
They were received by Yemi Osinbajo, who is serving as acting president in the absence of Mr. Buhari, who is in London receiving medical treatment.
"With this very heartwarming breakthrough, we asked ourselves: do we come here to thank Mr. President or do we again express gratitude in silence as we did in October 2016 after the release of our 21 daughters?” the Borno State governor said.
“Your Excellency, about 100 years ago, an American author, Gertrude Stein, wrote something wise. She wrote that, ‘Silent gratitude doesn't mean so much to anyone.’ By her reminder, gratitude cannot be sufficiently expressed in silence.
“We are here to thank Mr. President. To thank you, also, and to thank all senior aides of the President; to thank our service chiefs, the Director-General of the DSS; to thank our gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and entire members of Mr. President’s compassionate team who worked in leading the Nigerian Government to negotiate from the position of strength and logic which ultimately succeeded in bringing back our precious girls.
“We are here to also use Your Excellency’s exalted office to convey our depth of gratitude to the Swiss Government; to the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and to every organization, individual, group and institution which made whatever selfless contribution leading to the safe release of our daughters. No amount of words are enough to convey the extent of our very profound gratitude,” Mr. Shettima said.
He commended the president for his role in the negotiations which led to the successful release of the abducted schoolgirls.
"Your Excellency, as I said yesterday in a televised remark, negotiation leading to the freedom of these girls could not have succeeded if Buhari lacked integrity. There is no way international actors who helped in facilitating the negotiation, could have involved themselves if they had doubts about the integrity and sincerity of the President. It is also Buhari’s integrity that has made it possible for funds meant for arms to be judiciously utilized in making our gallant armed forces far more equipped than they ever were and it is his integrity that has made countries in Africa, Europe and the United States to wholeheartedly support Nigeria in the ongoing, and so far successful fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.
“When President Buhari was going round countries organizing regional and global cooperation, critics accused him of flying around the world. He inherited a very serious problem that Nigeria could not solve alone. And to make matters worst, he inherited a country with a terribly battered foreign image. He needed to first win the trust and confidence of allies so he could attract support for Nigeria.
“For me, as Governor of Borno State and the man who is on ground, I can say with no fear of contradiction that President Muhammadu Buhari indeed, succeeded in mobilizing the world for Nigeria. I am very optimistic that by the grace of God in this soon to be concluded fight against Boko Haram,” Mr. Shettima said.
He also lauded Vice President Osinbajo for his role in providing Borno State with humanitarian aid and support in the midst of the Boko Haram crisis.