The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has confirmed that the Nigerian military rescued all 344 boys kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State.Shehu made the confirmation on Sunday in an opinion article titled “Five takeaways from the safe return of 344 Kankara schoolboys”.
The defence headquarters had said the troops’ Operation Hadarin Daji rescued the kidnapped students, a statement that contradicted the remarks of Governor Bello Masari that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association played a major role in the release of the schoolboys.
Shehu said: “Under enormous pressures from local and international sources, those charged with coordinating the boys’ safe return held tight, stayed focused, refusing to succumb to doubts, taunts, and conspiracy theories. They eventually got the job done most transparently and brought back the boys.
“Our Security Forces often do not get the accolades they deserve. Once more, the Nigerian Military has delivered on the big stage. They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot. This is important because one casualty, one dead schoolboy, could have traumatized President Buhari and the parents. One dead student would have tainted the rescue mission. The President wanted the boys back alive and delivered to their parents. As a compassionate father figure, he would have been pained if one life had been lost in the rescue process.
“Bravo to the Nigerian Military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the President’s order reuniting the boys with their parents. There are not enough words to thank our gallant men and women in uniform, the military that continues to make sacrifices for many of us to enjoy and express our freedoms in its various forms and shapes. Millions of appreciative citizens applaud the success of the Army in bringing back the Kankara Schoolboys. Well done, boys!”
“Terrorists have lost the narrative”
The presidential spokesman said the terrorists had lost the lead narrative with “the military and our security personnel’s excellent performance in rescuing the boys without any incident.”
He said with the momentum now, Nigerians should expect a new push against violent forces and their sponsors from the military.
Shehu flayed Nigerians who tried to make gains from the incident, saying “There will always be profiteers from other people’s misfortune.
“The lack of patriotism shown by few unnecessary elements in a moment of national distress was crass, shameful and despicable.
“If they are not directly affected by a tragedy or no immediate family member involved, it is fair game for them and time to gloat or even make a few fast bucks. Indeed emergency activists thought they could cash in on these schoolboys and their parents’ misfortune devoid of their conscience.
“While patriotic Nigerians prayed for the boys’ quick return, these merchants of fortune were renting crowds, creating certain suspicious hashtags, opening bank accounts for the sole aim of soliciting funds for a cause they thought would linger. What will they do now with the one million T-Shirts they have produced? This is hugely shameful.
“These scavengers should now be honourable enough to refund the monies they have so far collected for the now futile campaign to discredit their fatherland.”