Schoolboys Freedom: Buhari, Lawan Laud Security Forces

Schoolboys Freedom: Buhari, Lawan Laud Security Forces

…We Didn’t Pay Kobo for Ransom…Masari, Matawalle …FG Paid Huge Sum for Schoolboys’ Freedom…Afenifere President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, have commended the security forces over the release of kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, describing their safe return as a big relief to their families, the

…We Didn’t Pay Kobo for Ransom…Masari, Matawalle

…FG Paid Huge Sum for Schoolboys’ Freedom…Afenifere

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, have commended the security forces over the release of kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, describing their safe return as a big relief to their families, the entire country and international community. This is coming just as principal actors in the negotiation for their release claim no ransom was paid to secure their freedom.

In a remark shortly after their release was announced, the President expressed the nation’s appreciation for the steps taken by all those who made their release possible.

President Buhari specifically lauded what he called the “spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and the military leading to the release.’’

He commended the nation’s intelligence agencies, the military and police force for providing the environment for the safe release of the hostages.

“The Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and the Army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information, I congratulated them. The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated.”

On the issue of detainees held elsewhere in the country by either terrorists or bandits, the President gave assurances that his administration is aware of its responsibility to protect the life and property of the Nigerians.

Buhari urged the citizens to be patient and fair to the administration as it deals with the problems of security, economy and corruption.

He noted that the administration was fully aware that it was elected to resolve challenges.

“When we came, we made efforts that yielded the return of the Chibok Girls. When a similar incident of school abduction happened at Dapchi, we successfully returned all but one of the more than one hundred abductees. When this latest incident happened, we put in our efforts and today we have this result to show.”

The President pointed to the successes of the administration in dealing with security in the South South and North East, adding that the North West now presents a challenge which his administration is determined to deal with.

“We have a lot of work to do, especially now that we have re-opened the borders. It is unfortunate that the bandits and terrorists continue to get weapons even under the circumstances of the border closure. We are going to dare them. We will deal with all that,” the President further assured.

Also speaking on the issue, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan on Friday noted that the recent attack on the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State is enough warning for the Nigerian Government to deploy all the resources needed to ensure the nation’s educational institutions are secured.

In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President said: “The past few days have been a nightmare for the parents of the students, their teachers and all of us as a nation.

“This unfortunate incident reminds us of our country’s continued vulnerability to heartless crimes such as the kidnap of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 and the Dapchi incident of 2018.

”The scar of those earlier incidents is still on us as a country and we had hoped that the outrage that they sparked would mean such never happened again in Nigeria.

“However, this sad recurrence is enough warning to us as a nation to deploy all the resources required for the security of our educational institutions, and everywhere else our children gather, to protect them against cowardly attacks by these terrorists.

“I commend the prompt intervention and productive engagement of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state and others which resulted in the release of the children,” he said.

The Senate President also applauded the security forces and the intelligence community for their coordinated efforts which ensured the safe release of the boys.

He urged them to continue in the same spirit and with the same approach in addressing other security issues across Nigeria.

Both Governor Masari of Katsina state and his Zamfara state counterpart, Bello Matawalle, have also been talking on the process that led to their freedom.

While Governor Masari spoke to the Hausa service of a German radio station, Radio Deutche Welle, the Zamfara State Governor spoke in an interview with Daily Nigerian.

For one, the two Governors were emphatic that no ransom was paid to secure the release of the students.

They also dismissed claim of the insurgent group, Boko Haram, which released a video releases hours before the students were freed, that it was behind the abduction of the students.

According to them, Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN played a key role in securing freedom for the students.

Specifically, Masari told Radio Deutsche Welle, DW that MACABAN negotiated with the bandits to get the schoolboys released and no single Kobo was paid as ransom.

He also insisted that the schoolboys were not abducted by Boko Haram, but bandits.

He said, “Some hours ago, those assisting us in talks with the bandits said they have released all children in captivity. About 344 of them. And we have sent vehicles to transport them to Katsina.

“We will direct our doctors to carry out medical examination on the children tomorrow morning. They have spent six days in the forest. We will change their clothes and we will hand them over to their parents,” Masari said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Zamfara Governor said he facilitated the release of the 344 schoolboys without payment of ransom.

Governor Matawalle told DAILY NIGERIAN, that he used repentant bandits and leadership of Miyetti Allah to identify those behind the abduction, and then started the negotiation process.

“When we established contact with them, I persuaded them to release them unharmed. And so they did tonight. This is not the first time we facilitated the release of our people without payment of ransom.

“Ask anybody, we don’t pay bandits a dime. What we do is to extend olive branch to them because they also want to live in peace.

“As I speak to you, they are still on their way to Tsafe, from where they will come to Gusau and sleep. They will begin their journey to Katsina tomorrow morning,” the Governor said.

“Nothing like Boko Haram in this. The bandits did it,” the Governor said while disputing the claim of Boko Haram that it was behind the abduction.

Leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau who spoke in the video, claimed that his men abducted the schoolboys.

The schoolboys who regained freedom on Thursday night, have narrated their ordeal in the hands of their abductors. As earlier reported, the boys were abducted after armed gunmen stormed the school premises on Friday, December 11th, 2020.

Speaking to Channels Television on Friday morning after the Governor, Aminu Masari, received them at the Government House in Katsina, the schoolboys lamented that they only fed once in two days, and were subjected to different shades of dehumanization at the hands of their kidnappers.

‘We ate only once in two days,” one of the boys told Channels Television. He also said he was not feeling well, adding that they really suffered while in the bush. Another boy said they were made to defecate in the same place that they slept.

Meanwhile, the Pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere has alleged that the Federal Government paid ransom to ensure the freedom of the kidnapped Katsina schoolboys.

In a statement titled, ‘Kankara Boys: Now Nigeria Is Finished! signed by Yinka Odumakin, its national publicity secretary, Afenifere said the Kankara abduction is a clear signal that Nigeria is finished and concerned Nigerians, especially the elites in the Northern part of the country must speak up.

He called on Nigerians to come together and rescue the country from the chaos and precarious conditions the Buhari administration ha plunged the nation into.

The statement reads; “Those who harbour any illusion that something is left in this joke of a country called Nigeria must have their eyes cleared after the Kankara practical joke of abduction of hundreds of school boys by Boko Haram bandits”.

“The tragedy was Chibok foreplay in 2014 which was a regime change platform but in which previous lives were involved. But with God with his big sense of humour intact, the Chibok practical joke was re-enacted a few days back as President Buhari arrived Katsina and hundreds of Kankara schoolboys were abducted by Boko Haram in broad daylight and along military routes like in Chibok”.

“This time around those who celebrated Chibok to the hilt in 2014 are now in power and fumbled like amateur comedians in a big revelation that what is called terror in Nigeria is most likely a big scam being played at our expense”.

“At a point, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu who on different occasions had given impression that he had never been too far from the key room of Boko Haram told what he regards as a silly nation that only 10 boys were kidnapped as against 344 figure given by Governor Masari. A more accurate figure would have been given by this administration if their precious cows were the ones rustled”.

“The height of stupidity in governance was when it officially came out that another terror group called Miyetti Allah was the front for negotiation confirming our suspicion that this government rolls with all that troubles this country”.

“Even when the boys were cheekily released and there was official lie of rescue Governor Masari in the boldest official cover – up for the terror enveloping Nigeria said he needed a third party to tell him who abducted and released them”.

“The United States of America has asked what it mistakes for a government in Nigeria to hold the abductors responsible but we know that would be the 8th wonder of the world.The Army who went after peaceful protesters in Lekki and killed mercilessly will not go after these Fulani terrorists”.

“We in Afenifere are in serious pain that we are called fellow Nigerians with some people at this sad period when human lives have been made to be totally worthless officially.

“We are not in doubt that the lives of these boys must have been used to swipe the card once again and more money will be available to terrorise Nigerians”.

“We call on all Nigerians, especially the enlightened north to rise and speak up at this mad season as we can’t continue to allow this practical joke to roll over us. It is time to rescue Nigeria from this malady and we must rise above any primordial sentiments,” he said.

 

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