Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says bandits, who abducted over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, made “all sorts of demands” of the government to set the students free.
Adesina stated this in a piece on Friday titled, ‘Enemies Of The Country Will Lose Las Las’.
He wrote, “A fortnight ago, when President Muhammadu Buhari proceeded to his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, on a well-deserved one-week private visit, an uncanny kind of welcome was given to him by bandits long troubling different parts of the country. They spirited away over 300 schoolboys, and began to make all sorts of demands of government, before the boys could be released.”
The presidential spokesman, who praised the responsiveness of the Buhari administration, however, did not state the type of demands made by the bandits or whether ransom was paid to secure the release of the students.
Gunmen on motorcycles attacked the school on December 11 and abducted the students a few hours after the President arrived in the state for a week-long private visit.
But Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, announced the release of the 344 schoolboys six days after their abduction by bandits. The governor also said the students were released in a forest in Zamfara State.
The military had since claimed victory for the release of the students. The presidency had also praised the military for the rescue of the schoolboys.
But both claims by the military and the presidency contradicted Masari’s position that the release of the boys was facilitated by the leadership of Miyetti Allah/MACABAN.
These positions further conflicted the claim by Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, that repentant bandits were contacted for negotiation with the bandits.
One of the major unknown details around the release of the schoolboys was whether ransom was paid by the Buhari regime or whether captured Boko Haram ringleaders or bandits were freed in exchange for the release of the abducted schoolboys.
The presidency has come out to say no ransom was paid but some of the freed Kankara boys told United States publication, Wall Street Journal, their captors said they demanded N344m ransom while N30m was paid as an initial ransom.