Buhari Celebrates Rescue of Kankara Boys in 6 Days, Echoes Resolve to Secure All

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President Muhammadu Buhari was upbeat yesterday when he met with the returnee Kankara boys at the Government House, Katsina, and reiterated his determination to provide security for all in Nigeria.
The schoolboys were abducted when gunmen stormed their school, Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, on December 11.

The president, who spoke in Hausa, was excted by the rescue of the schoolboys within six days and congratulated the children for their safe return.

He stressed that the government would continue to improve the nation’s security system.
Buhari advised the freed students to remain focused in the pursuit and acquisition of good education despite their ill-fated experience.

The President, who tasked the pupils not to be distracted by the misfortune of their kidnapping, said the reward of knowledge acquisition was non-negotiable.
The President described their plight as a test of character and determination to succeed in life.
He assured them that the federal government would upgrade the security structure in the country to ensure more safety.

Imploring the students to put their predicament in the hands of their abductors behind them, Buhari insisted that there is no alternative to education
“My dear children, don’t be discouraged with what has happened,’’ he said, “give your attention to acquiring knowledge and developing good character, and you will be distinguished in life.

“I know that you have been through a lot. The suffering you went through, please put it aside, and try to forget the painful experience. There is no substitute to good education, so you must return to school and continue.

“If I wasn’t educated I will not be standing here today in front of you. I schooled in Katsina for nine years. I moved on to join the army, served as a governor, head of state, went to prison, came out and later joined politics. I contested presidential elections three times, and finally I was declared a winner in 2015.’’
He commended the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, for working tirelessly to ensure the kidnapped boys were freed unharmed.

He also expressed appreciation to all security agencies, traditional institutions and individuals who played key roles in the rescue efforts.
Buhari said the military and security agencies still had a lot to do to secure both the country, and its citizens.

“This is their job. They signed for it. Whether they like it or not, they will have to provide security for the country,” Buhari said.
Governor Masari, in his address, told the President of the traumatic experiences the students had in the hands of their abductors.

He said, “These students returned barefooted. None of them wore any sandals while they were being brought here.”
There was also controversy over the modalities adopted for the freedom of the Kankara boys, as allegations of financial inducement of the kidnappers rent the air yesterday.

While the federal government and the Katsina State Government insisted that the schoolboys were actually kidnapped by bandits and not Boko Haram, and that no ransom for their release, the Yoruba pan-social group, Afenifere faulted the government’s claims, saying it had no doubt that the federal government, contrary to its claim, paid the terrorists to secure the freedom of the school children.

Also, there were controversies over the true identity of those responsible for the freedom of the schoolboys, with the Nigerian army debunking the claims of the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari that the operation leading to the release of the boys involved the security agencies and members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN.

The Commander of the 17 Brigade, W.B Idris, who handed over the students to Masari yesterday, said they were rescued by a team of security operatives in the state.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also told journalists in Abuja that there was no ransom to the bandits before the boys were released.
“The release of these school boys is a testament to the importance that this administration attaches to the security and safety of all Nigerians.

“There is no government in the world that will not face the challenges of security at one time or another.
“No government in the world is immune to terrorist attacks. What stands any government out is the way and manner it responds to such challenges”, he stated

Explaining the global security challenges, the minister said school shooting had been a recurring challenge in the United States, stating that between 2010 and 2020, almost 200 school children were killed and many more injured in various school shooting incidents.

He further stated that President Buhari would do everything possible to prevent a recurrence of these school abductions, insisting that the federal government has moved with speed and determination each time it has faced the challenge of school abductions.

The minister claimed that some Nigerians simply threw decorum to the wind and allowed their emotions to take a better part of them, adding that when disasters and tragedies strike, people come together. We hope the naysayers have learnt their lessons.

“And we hope those who have started trading and politicking with the hashtag ‘BringBackOurBoys’ can now go home, as our boys have been brought back, even before their dubious campaign could take off,’’ he added.

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