Day Governor Shettima celebrated with orphans

Day Governor Shettima celebrated with orphans

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You do not have to be there on this fateful day to have the feel of man’s inhumanity to man. Mere looking at the sea of heads in the pictures and told these are the ones who will no longer know or feel the affection and the warm embrace of their mothers or the protection of the fathers will run cold shivers down even stony spines. The more so when the affected are mostly children who suddenly discovered themselves in a situation they neither authored nor bargained for. Indeed they are children or victims of circumstance they could not comprehend.
And so at the Government House in Maiduguri in 2013, those helpless ones appeared in a large number as guests Governor Kashim Shettima. There was silence as words failed. These young army of orphans were in the Government House for Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast) with the state’s number one citizen. These had been orphaned by the inimical grace of the Boko Haram insurgency. Indeed, they are the wailing children… victims of unprovoked attacks. Indeed, the grim reminder of the sad tales left behind by the rampaging insurgents.
Writing on “My fear for Borno State” in the Daily Trust of August 14, 2014, Idang Alibi, a columnist said, Kashim’s response to the crisis bedevilling his state shows a governor who is truly concerned about the welfare and well-being of his people. Such a man needs support and not sacking. Almost on daily basis, he is called upon to respond to ugly developments and he has tried to do that admirably well. Instead of being guest of honour at commissioning ceremonies of his well executed projects, he has been forced to become chief victim of honour, consoling victims at bombed out sites and mourning death and horrendous devastation in some places. What an underserved fate to befall a gentleman like Kashim! Kashim suffers the double jeopardy of being both victim-in-chief and mournerin- chief.
Shettima told the orphans that they should regard him as their father, charging them to take their education seriously as henceforth they were on scholarship that would cut orphans from both Muslims and Christian’s backgrounds. He pledged to host Christian orphans later. While interacting with the children, the governor jokingly asked them to tell him stories and in the process the unexpected happened. untitledHe got the good and bad stories. The governor was visibly shaken and almost in tears when one of the children, a girl, painted a vivid picture of how her parents were butchered in her presence in their Budum ward residence in Maiduguri. The girl explained how the parents pleaded passionately with the attackers to spare their lives for the sake of their children, but they went ahead and slaughtered them while she watched helplessly. A boy told the governor that since his father was killed, he had given up hope and in fact was expecting death because he had become a liability nobody wanted to see or associate with. On September 5, 2016 at the same venue and for similar occasion, the memories of blood, deaths and sorrow Boko Haram imposed on Borno and beyond resurrected again. This time, at the 50th birthday ceremony of Governor Shettima sponsored by 26 individuals made up of friends, family members and political associates of the Governor, another batch of 50 orphans made up of Muslims and Christians were offered scholarships from primary to secondary for a period each of nine years, covering all expenses and tenable at two private schools in Maiduguri.
The occasion was sober, reflecting and emotional, especially when the Governor, along with the orphans, clustered to cut the birthday cake. So was the mood too when the wife of the Governor, Nana Shettima took the floor to dance exclusively with the orphans. Then, I heard the voice, “this is a phase the children are yet to comprehend.”
In his brief remark, Governor Shettima, who expressed his reluctance to attend the occasion for obvious reasons, pleaded as usual with wealthy Nigerians not to forget Borno orphans.
On the same occasion, Zenith Bank Plc announced the award of scholarships to additional 50 orphans, covering nine years duration. Earlier, in his brief remark on the sponsorship of the event, Mallam Isa Gusan, the adviser to Governor Shettima on media and publicity, said from the money realised for the individuals concerned, the amount involved for the 50 orphans’ scholarship for nine years has been paid in full to the schools concerned.
The chairman of the occasion, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former Governor of Kano state, who is now a senator, praised Governor Shettima, saying that though the occasion was conceived by the affected group to honour him for a job well done, the Governor chose to use the occasion to celebrate the orphans. It would be recalled that Dr. Kwankwaso, as the Governor of Kano state, had given scholarships to over a hundred pupils from Borno State who were affected by Boko Haram’s activities.
The exact number of children who have been orphaned as a result of Boko Haram insurgency is still in dispute. While officially the number is estimated at over 48, 000 in Borno, many are of the view that this figure is grossly underestimated as the orphans are on the increase so long the insurgency lasts.

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