The schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, who were abducted by gunmen that raided their school last Friday have eventually been released after nearly a week in captivity.
According to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari who confirmed their release, the boys are presently kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara state and would be brought back to Kankara on Friday.
Their release came on a day protesters marched on Abuja and Katsina against the worsening insecurity in the North, especially the abduction of the students. Although the government did not give a specific figure of students released by their captors, over 300 of them were unaccounted for before the news of their release.
Reacting to the report on the release of the schoolboys, President Muhammadu Buhari described their safe return as a big relief to their families, the entire country and the international community.
He commended what he called the spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and military which led to the release of the students.
Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. I ask Nigerians to be patient and fair to us as we deal with the challenges of security, the economy, and corruption. We will not relent.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 17, 2020
“The Governor (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,” President Buhari said in an interview shared on his Twitter on Friday.
He urged the citizens to be patient and fair to the administration as it deals with insecurity, economic crisis and corruption. According to him, his administration knows that it was elected to resolve challenges.
He said: “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 cited the successes of his administration in dealing with security in the South-south and North-east as proof of its commitment to guaranteeing the safety of lives and property. He stated 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 added.
He prayed for the full recovery of the pupils, whom he said had endured hardships in the course of their six-day ordeal.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 18, 2020
However, hours before their release, Boko Haram, which had claimed responsibility for the abduction, had released a video showing the abducted schoolboys in its custody.
The video, which could not be independently verified, followed the same pattern after the kidnap of the Chibok girls some years ago. On Friday last week, gunmen suspected to be bandits invaded the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara.
While some of the students abducted escaped during the incident, some others returned recently as the grieving parents keep watch at the school in anticipation of their children’s release.
The abduction of the students sparked an outrage with calls from various individuals and groups on the government to step up efforts towards securing the lives of the people. It occurred at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.
The President had condemned the incident in a statement shortly after it happened and sent a delegation of the Federal Government to work with the state government in securing the release of the schoolboys.
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