Katsina: How Buhari Worm Himself Back To The People

By Stephen Ubanna

 The Abduction of  344 students of  Government  science secondary school of Kankara, Katsina state, which the Opposition People’s Democratic Party , PDP, are waiting to use  in their Political Campaign in the  2023, general elections appeared to have boosted the political profile of President Muhammadu Buhari , who incidentally is  a retired  army General.

Until Monday, December 14, 2020,   people were still throwing  stones on the Katsina state born Nigerian President over his refusal to visit the site at Kankara town, where the 344 students  were abducted  by Bandits  despite holidaying in Daura , his home town.

 Unknown to the critics, the retired  army General has  given a marching order to Gabriel Olonisakin, an Army General and Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, the service Chiefs  as well as  the Head of the other security agencies in the country  to rescue the students  now that he is in the state.

Buratai: CAS

 Gen.Olonisakin, the CDS, Yusuf Buratai a Lt. General  and Chief of Army Staff and Sadique Abubakar, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff , may have taken it  as an opportunity to prove that the military  has the capacity to protect life and property in this country.

 Between Friday December 11, 2020, that the students were kidnapped and December 18, when they were released from the forest, the military Authorities were said to have been working on different plans on how to rescue the students having located the hide out of the Bandits in  the  forest . The plans were said to have been a closely guided secret.

 As a prelude to rescuing the Kankara  students, the Abubakar led  air force were  said to have  provided air support to the  Buratai ground troops and Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, well   trained Tactical Squad  personnel and Crack detectives, to prevent the  abductors from  crossing over to the West African country of  Niger with the students, which may make the rescue operation  difficult.

   The Abubakar led air force   were said ’’to have provided  air assets including Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance , ISR, aircraft  to Katsina  state , hours  after the students were abducted’’. The additional assets  were said to have been deployed  on Saturday, December 12, 2020,   to provide persistent  surveillance   over the  identified areas  of interest within Katsina and the neighbouring Zamfara state.     

It is instructive to note that while this was ongoing, the air force personnel ‘’ maintained  offensive air presence  in the two  states’’of crossing over to Niger , to forestall  the abductors from carrying out their intended action with the students.

 This may have informed why the Abductors, who call themselves members of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group  BokoHaram or Bandits could not have their way  of crossing over to Niger for fear that the game is up  had to bow to pressure and release the students without doing anything funny and run for their  life to avoid playing into the hands of the Nigerian security Operatives.

The Magazine was informed  that ‘’as soon as  the Kankara students  regained their Freedom, they were  taken to the  Government House , Katsina, escorted  by a combined team  of the various security agencies personnel  that had participated in the search  and rescue  operations of the students  with air cover provided by the Air Force personnel  deployed for intelligence gathering,  air surveillance and Reconnaissance to prevent any intruder from launching any attack They  were said to have been received by Aminu Masari, the state governor. 

AirMarshall Abubakar: Chief Of Air Staff

Informed sources told The Magazine that the NAF, Special Forces, particular, the Medical personnel,  provided immediate  care for the students  who were said to have drastically lost weight because of the shabby treatment received from the abductors within  the five days they were in their forced detention  in their hideout   after their rescue from the forest.

 There are indications that the abducted students may have been moved from Kankara forestt, in Katsina state to the neighbouring north west o state of Zamfara, forest , preparatory to cross over to  Niger but luck ran out of them.

Recall that the initial reports making the rounds was that’’ it was the troops of Operation  Hadarin, Daji’’, a military Operation in the north west,  that rescued  the abducted Kankara students in the forest. Perhaps, acting on the report from the army,  John Eneche, an Army Major General and Coordinator of Media Operations  at the Defense Headquarters, DHQ,  had said on Friday, December, 18, 2020, after the students regained their Freedom , confirmed that 344 students were  rescued as by the troop of the Operation Hadarin Daji as against the initial 333 students being rumoured. The DHQ, spokesperson, had said that  the rescue operation was conducted by the Operation Hadarin Daji Troop,  in line  with  the promise  of the armed Forces  to ensure that all students from the Nigerian President home state  are rescued.

Given an insider information, he had  said ‘’they were rescued  following credible intelligence  received by the troops  who carried out the operation with a high degree of Profesionalism’’. The army Major General and DHQ, Coordinator of Media Operations, may have known that other security agencies who had  played  significant role to facilitate the elrelease of the Kankara students, particular NAF personnel  may not be happy f that he was forced to change  his language. The military  Authorities commended  the troops  and personnel  of other security agencies  involved  in the Operation  , as well as the civilians  who provided the information  that  led  the success recorded’’, he had said.

Masari: Governor Of Katsina ststate

He  had singled out the Masari led  APC, government of Katsina state and  Bello Matawalle , led PDP government of Zamfara state  and friends of Nigeria, who were said to have   helped  to facilitate the release of the 344 abducted  Kankara students from the forest.        

Given what happened when the 276 Chibok girls in Borno state  were  kidnapped in 2014 and the abduction of Dapchi  girls in Yobe state, north east Nigeria, where the military Authorities had  appeared reluctant to intervene to rescue the girls may have informed why  the Opposition PDP,  had accused the ruling APC, ‘’of being in league  with the Bandits  and the terrorists  ravaging the country’’

. Kola Ologbodiyan, spokesperson   of the PDP,  a party that believes that it will regain its lost power  in the forthcoming 2023 general elections,  had alleged that the APC, has been acting  over  the years as ‘’the mouthpiece  of bandits and terrorists, rationalizing killings and kidnapping by showing sympathy  to the groups’’.

He  had alluded to the fact  that the  ruling APC, has refused  to condemn  the acts of terrorism  and banditry in the country  but attacks  any perceived person or group  that ‘’dare to criticise  the activities of the terrorists and   Bandits or demand  the unconditional release  of abductees’’.

  Security experts may not agree with the PDP spokesperson claims, insisting that the security challenges currently faced by the Buhari led APC , government were inherited from the PDP government, which the Katsina state born Nigerian President had consistently described as’’ 16 years of PDP misrule’’.

Former President Jonathan: Urged Nigerians To Support The Government In The Fight Against Insecurity

Former President Goodluck Jonathan who may have realised his short comings  for the over five years , he was in government: completing the tenure of late President  Umaru Yara ‘dua , who died in 2010, in his capacity as the then Vice President and subsequently been  re-elected I 2011, general elections to effectively  tackle the country’s security challenge. This may have informed why  he  has urged Nigerians ’’to support the Buhari government’s  fight against  insecurity  in the country to defeat the menace’’.

He  was said to have made his  feelings known at the    last  Command Performance  by the  Commonwealth Community Choir in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The former  President  had told those cares to listen that  ‘’insecurity is a global  phenomenon  that was not peculiar to Nigeria due to  the excesses  of terrorists and Bandits across the world.

Sani: Suggests Installation Of CCTV In Schools In The North To Curb Bandits Attacks

Shehu Sani , an activist and a one-time Senator, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is not happy  over the attack on innocent students of Kankara science school, in the President home state has called for ‘’the abolition  of boarding schools’’  in the rural areas of the seven states in the north west geo-political region which include Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano and Jigawa as a way  to protect schools .

He was said to have also advised  that ’’students and teachers  in schools in the region should  be properly trained  on what to do  and how to attend to emergency security situations when such arise’’, like  the Kankara science school incident. The activist   also believes that the establishment  of a special security unit  for schools  in the north ‘’ will go a long way  in ensuring  the security of students  and their teachers’’.

He was said to have also suggested  that ’’perimeter walls  should be built  around the schools  and the installation  of Close Circuit Television, CCTV,, Cameras and alarm system’’  should be encouraged.  Good suggestions, but the lean financial situation of the states in the north  may make the actualisation of these projects in the  schools   in the north very difficult .

Meanwhile, the Nigerian President who could not hide his feelings  over the release of the 344 abducted  Kakara students has urged the students when he met with them at the Banquet Hall  of the Government House, Katsina, has urged them ‘’to return back to school’’ and be more focused.  He had told the Kankara students  ‘’to see the unfortunate incident as a test of character and a determination to succeed in life’’. Appealing to those that may want to drop out of school because of the kidnap experience  to shelve the idea,  stressing that ‘ the ’reward for knowledge was not negotiable’’.

 Buhari, who would never miss any given opportunity to shine  had told the Kakara  students   that he schooled  in Katsina for nine years, , moved on to join the army, served as a military  governor, and also as a  Head of state.

He may have shocked the students when he said ‘’I went to prison’’. Perhaps, the prison experience may have prepared his mind to join politics in 199.  Hear him, ‘’I contested  the country’s  Presidential  elections  for  three consecutive times and lost but was  declared a winner  in the fourth attempt in  the 2015 general elections and subsequently re-elected in 2019. He may have gone down the memory lane as a way of encouraging the disillusioned students.

The good news was that the Nigerian President   who might have learnt a lesson from the Kankara  science school incident  has given his words that ‘’the government  would upgrade  the security structure  in the country  to ensure  more safety of the people’’.Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor of Law and Nigerian Vice President  may have alluded to this recently when he reiterated the Buhari Administration’s commitment  ‘’to protecting  lives  and property of all Nigerians’’.   

     In a related development, garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant,SSA, to The President on Media and Publicity  who  may have realiSed that he goofed when he told the BBC, Correspondent in Nigeria, when  news of the Kidnapped Kankara students broke out  that only  10 students were abducted.  He was forced to apologise for the misinformation  when state government government came out with reports that 333 students were missing.

 I  apologise to Nigerians  for ’’ the incorrect Comunication  citing that only 10 students  were kidnapped  at the science  school of,Kankara’’, he had tweeted. He may have corrected the  misinformation  when he further   tweeted that  333 students being kidnapped in the school.

 The DHQ, may have released the actual figure of Kankara  students abducted by the Bandits on Friday, December 18, 2020, after the abductees regained their freedom, putting at 344 students.

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