By Suleiman Umaru
Despite claims by the Abubakar Shekau , led Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, that had kidnapped 276 , Chiboks girls in 2014, that they were responsible in kidnapping the over 300 Kankara boys on Friday, December, 11, 2020, which was dismissed by Aminu Bello Masari, a former Speaker , House of Representatives and now Governor of Katsina state, this may have forced Yusuf Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff and his men to go back to the drawing board to rescue the abducted students. The governor may have told Shekau to keep his mouth shut that it was solely the Bandits affair.
Masari may have broken the cheery a news about talks with the abductors of the Kankara students to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, December 21,2020, which had contacted the state government.
The governor may have gladdened the heart of the Nigerian President who is on a Private visit to Daura, his home town, when he said that adequate progress has been made in the rescue of the Kankara district students. The delay in the discussion with the group which had claimed the responsibility for the kidnap of the Kankara students may have provided an ample opportunity for the Army, with the support of Sadique Abubakar, an Air Vice Marshall and Chief of Air Staff’s men to embark on air Surveillance, and the consequent location of the hide out of the kidnappers in the Zankara forest to perfect their plan to strike and rescue the students without any exchange of bullet.
Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, may have seen it as an opportunity to do what Oby Ezekwesili, a one-time minister of Education under former President Olusegun Obasanjo Administration and Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, now, Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, did with the Bring Back Chibok girls in 2014, which took the nation by storm and cwhich was said to be the main reason why former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015, Presidential election , to Buhari, of the APC.
Secondus, the PDP, National Chairman, had led a protest on Thursday, December 17, 2020, demanding the rescue of the abducted Kakankara students at the PDP Secretariat, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The protest , which was tagged ‘’Bring Back Our Boys’’, may have given Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, the ammunition to prepare his anti-riot policemen to deal with the protesters.
Unknown to the PDP protesters, Buhari, the Katsina state born Nigerian President and Commander –In-Chief of the Armed Forces, had given Gabriel Olonisakin, an Army General and Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, and the service Chief, who have failed in the public evaluation of their performance which had warranted the call on the Nigerian President by the National Assembly Lawmakers to sack and replace the service chiefs. This may have forced them with the support of the Nigerian President , to do everything within their capacity to rescue the abduted Kankara students to avoid another Chibok girls case.
Aware that that they cannot afford to fail in their assignment this time around that the Nigerian President is holidaying in Daura, his home town, the Army, the Air Force personnel, including the Police Crack detetives who had their plan-B, had moved into action to rescue the Kankara students with minimal force to avoid wasting the life of any of the students. They had their way. It could not be ascertained whether the Katsina state government paid any ransom to facilitate the release of the Kankara science students. The much Masari, the Katsina state governor could say was that ‘’the Armed Forces know their job’’.
Although, the governor had not given out the total number of students that were rescued from the operations but it is on record that 333 of the Kankara stdents were uncounted for between Friday, December 11, 2020, and Thursday, December 17, 2020, when they were released.
The Nigerian President who could not hide his feelings when information filtered out to him that the Kankara students had been released may have re-echoed what the Katsina governor had earlier said:The Armed Forces know their job. He had described the safe return of the abducted students , who Bashir Magashi , a retired Major General and minister of Defense, had said would be released after a few hours but took about five days for the promise to be actualized as ‘’a big relief to their families, the entire country and the International Community’’.
The Nigerian President, had cited what Garba Shehu, his senior Special Assistant, media and Publicity, had called ‘’the spirit of partnership and the Collaborative efforts of the Katsina state government , Zamfara and the military and the police , for the release of the students after five days of losing their freedom to abductors.
Recall that as a prelude for the search and rescue operations of the Kankara students, Adamu , the IGP, had deployed more policemen to the Buhari home state of Katsina . The policemen were said to have been drawn from the Police Tactical Squads and Crack Detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau, described as one of the best in the world.
They were said to have been given a mandate to work with the military and other security agencies personnel to facilitate the release of the students without losing any life. The message may have sunk deep into the heart of the police detectives that they went into action no sooner they had entered into Katsina state , extending their operations to neighbouring Zamfara, described in security circles as the home of Bandits.
It was therefore, not very surprising that when the military moved into action to secure the release of the Kankara students , they did so without making mistakes. The Abductors, who claim to be of the BokoHaram Group, or the Bandits, who may have wanted to use the Students as a bargaining powers to milk the state government and use the proceeds to procure more weapons to sustain the terrorist war in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and Banditry in the north west states of Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states may not have succeeded in their plan.
The Zamfara state government may have known that the Bandits would come after the schools in the border communities with other neighbouring north western states to abduc more students for helping the Katsina state government and the military to facilitate the release of the over 300 Kankara students kept in an isolated custody for five days in an undisclosed location in the state.
Bello Matawalle,the state governor, who was said to have quickly given the go- ahead to Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Commissioner of Education, to close the 10 secondary schools believed to be vulnerable to the Bandits attack, along the border Communities with the other north west states, particular, Katsina, may have taken the decision to avoid another Chibok girls, in Borno or the Kankara boys in Katsina states experience. The measure may have saved the country another embarrassment in the Comity of nations.
The abducted Kara boys who have regained their Freedom and who have the opportunity of narrating their ordeas l in the hands of the abductors had described it as a horrible experience thatshould not be experienced by any normal person. ‘’We ate only ate once in two days, made to defecate in the same place that we slept’’. they chorused. They may have summarised their deal : We rally suffered while in the bush.
Already, Masari, who have received the released Kankara students , amidst joys, has ordered ‘’proper medical care for the boys’’. The abducted Kankara students may have been crossed over to Zamara forest but not kept at Kankara forest as alleged by the military. The safe keeping of the released Kankara students at Tsafe local government Area in Zmfara state after being released by the abductors speaks volume.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian President, who did not consider it necessary to visit the site of the Bandits attack at Kankara, on friday, December 11, 2020, was very happy to meet them in Government House, Katsina, amidst tight security on Friday, 18, 2020. He was said to have addressed them in Hausa language.
Lai Mohammed , minister of Information and Culture , who may have seen the Kankara incident as an embarrassment to the government has assured Nigeians that the government ”will do everything possible to prevent a repeat of students abductions by terrorists or bandits or any other group, that may want to rise up. The minister may have used the opportunity of the elease of the Kankara boys to pledge that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will not relent until the remaing Chibok girls and Dapchi school girls are rescued.