Wife of Borno Governor, Hajiya Nana Shettima, has said that her inability to attend Sunday’s meeting with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, over the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, was not to disrespect the office of the First Lady but to avoid her planned humiliated at the meeting.
The President’s wife on Monday reportedly accused the Borno Governor’s wife of showing less concern over the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, because she did not attend the meetings called by Mrs. Jonathan at the Villa on Saturday and Sunday.
The Press Secretary to the governor’s wife, Aisha Hassan, in a reaction on Monday said while Dame Patience painted a different picture, Mrs Shettima had actually travelled to Abuja all the way from Maiduguri on April 28 and met the First Lady at the Villa same day.
She said the governor’s wife took two hours to brief her on the schoolgirls abduction as well as her (Mrs Shettima) personal efforts and that of her husband towards securing the release of the girls.
In a statement signed by her spokesperson, Aisha Hassan, released to newsmen in Maiduguri, the governor’s wife was represented at the meeting to enable her prepare for a scheduled visit to Chibok on Monday to meet with parents of the abducted girls and give them moral support.
Hassan noted that it was therefore shocking to the Governor’s wife when she heard Dame Patience on the television accusing the Governor of Borno as being responsible for the abduction.
“It became clear to the Governor’s wife that from the body language of the First Lady and some of her close associates at the Saturday meeting, there was high possibility that the First Lady’s demand for the Governor’s wife on Sunday was to humiliate her, by accusing her husband to her face in the midst of participants at the meeting.
“She thought it was better she concentrates on her planned trip to Chibok on Monday morning.”It said that the governor’s wife had high respect for the first lady as the mother of the nation.
“Mrs Shettima had actually travelled to Abuja all the way from Maiduguri on 28th of April, and on the evening of that day, she met the First Lady at the Villa and took two hours to brief her on the schoolgirls abduction as well as her (Mrs Shettima) personal efforts and that of her husband, Governor Shettima towards the freedom of the girls.
It said that before the April 28 meeting with the first lady, Mrs Shettima had held a meeting with coalition of women groups that included stakeholders of Chibok, officials of the National Council of Women Societies, wives of security chiefs in Borno State and the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The statement said that the meeting also had in attendance representatives of the Federation of Muslim Women of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Association of Christian Widows, Association of Muslim Widows, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), selected female professionals that included university lecturers, political appointees and the Principal of the attacked school.
It said that a copy of the communique issued at the end of the meeting was communicated to the first lady.
“The fact of the matter is that Hajiya Nana Shettima is right now in Chibok, she has met with parents of the abducted schoolgirls to offer support to them.
“Some of the parents have been discovered to have health challenges that will be immediately addressed. Mrs Shettima left today (Monday) for Chibok after she was finally given a security clearance that was delayed since last week for operational reasons.
“The Governor’s wife has the highest respect for the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, and couldn’t have done anything to disrespect her.
“The First Lady and her confidants can bear testimony to how respectful and obedient the governor’s wife has been to her in the last three years and how she promptly attends to all events related to the First Lady however inconvenient.
“The Governor’s wife regards the First Lady as a mother given her age and position as mother of the nation,” the statement said.