Supervising Minister of Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has stated that abduction of the Chibok girls would have been avoided had the Borno State Government heeded his written advice not to conduct Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in areas facing insecurity.
The Minister spoke in Abuja on Tuesday while addressing delegates at the First Conference of Certified Librarians.
He said that the Federal Government is working alongside other stakeholders to ensure that the abducted girls are reunited with their families.
Barr. Wike said that he was availing Nigerians and the international community the true position of events, because the Borno State governor has deliberately misinformed the international community through interviews with foreign media organisations.
He noted that rather than play politics with the unfortunate situation, the Borno State Governor should be courageous enough to admit that he erred by rejecting the written advice of the Federal Ministry of Education.
According to him: “I am responding to this issue because the wife of the Vice President, Her Excellency Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur raised it. I personally wrote to the governors of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states on the relocation of students for the SSCE because of the security situation in the three states. None of the state governors replied the letter”.
He said that all stakeholders must forge a united front to defend education against those who want to discourage the girl-child and other from attending school, rather than seek political gains from the regrettable situation.
“The safety and security of our children must not be politicised under any circumstance. I assure you that the Federal Government and other partners are working round the clock to ensure our girls are released. It is therefore uncharitable for anyone to say that the President is not doing anything about the girls”, the Minister said.
The Minister read the letter dated 12th March, 2014 with reference number HMSE/FME/147/VOL.1/150 and titled: “Security challenges and the conduct of the 2014 WASSCE and SSCE in Borno, Yobe and parts of Adamawa States” to the delegates at the conference.
The letter read: “In view of the current security challenges in the North East states of the country, the West African Examination Council, WAEC, and the National Examination Council, NECO, have expressed concerns over the safety of their officers who will be deployed to supervise the conduct of the 2014 diet of the examination in your state.
“In response to the concerns, I have directed that the candidates in the Federal Unity Colleges be assembled in the respective state capitals where they are to sit for the examinations in safe locations. You are please enjoined to make contingency arrangements for candidates from public and private schools in your state to sit for the examinations in safe locations”.
The three paragraph letter concluded thus: “Details of your arrangements should be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Education and the two examination bodies for their information and necessary action”