The rescued abducted 344 Nigerian students have met with President Muhammadu Buhari and would be re-united with their families after they rest from fatigue, undergo medical check-up, and given proper clothing and feeding.
The students were abducted in the night of December 11, 2020 in the hostels of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Nigeria’s Katsina State by gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram.
They met with the President Buhari at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Katsina, along with the representatives of their parents and Governor of Katsina state, Mr Aminu Masari, on Friday, December 18, 2020.
The president, who spoke in Hausa language during the meeting with the students said the abduction was calculated to embarrass the government and that was not a coincidence that the bandits struck on the very day he visited his home town, Daura after about 18 months.
He explained that his trip to Daura had become necessary because he last visited his home 18 months ago and explained that he planned to retire to the town after completing his second term in May, 2023.
“I normally visit my home town because I swore by the holy Quran that I will safeguard the nation’s constitution, hence I must hand over power on May 29, 2023 to the next government.
“So, if God spares my life, I’ll definitely come home. This informed my visits home.’’
Buhari vowed to leave behind a stable and prosperous nation by the end of his administration.
He urged the students to put behind them, their ordeals in the hands of the bandits and advised them to take their studies seriously to enable them accomplish their missions in life.
The president reminded those saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding lives and property of citizens to bear in mind that they would also be judged by God after their earthly sojourn.
Buhari, however, said the military and other security agencies still had a lot to do to secure 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,’’ the Buhari stated.
In his remarks, Masari suggested that the security architecture in the country should be upgraded to ensure safety of citizens, assuring that the “kidnap of school children will never happen again’’.
The governor said the release of the children was through collaborations, negotiations and discussions, thanking the president for consistently supporting the process, creating time for regular updates and taking actions when needed.
The governor explained that the students were released in Zamfara State, and travelled to Katsina government house where they were received by the governor.
“The released students will be carefully reunited with their parents after the state authorities in collaboration with local government officials confirm that those that come forward are the real parents, guardian,” the governor said.
“The principal of the school cannot know all the 344 parents and guardians of the released boys which is why the government has to engage local officials. Also, the released boys are to identify their relations before we hand over any child,’’ he explained.
The Science and Technical Education Board, he said, will list all the names of the students and their parents “because we are not going to release a child to anyone until we are sure they are the parents or guardians’’.
A faction of Boko Haram terrorists led by Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the abduction and released a video on December 17, 2020 to confirm the veracity of its claim.