Kankara Abduction: Your Effort Not Good Enough – Buhari Tells Service Chiefs

December 19, 2020

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  • Mulls shakeup
  • We trekked to Zamfara, ate after 2 days
  • It’s unfair to accuse me of complicity – Gov Matawalle
  • How notorious bandit, Daudawa, moved to Kankara ahead of abduction

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the military and other security agencies had a lot to do to secure the country and its citizens.

He said their effort is not good enough. The president stated this at the Katsina State Government House while addressing the 344 abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, who were released on Thursday night after spending seven days in captivity.

He said, “I hope the army, the air force, navy, the police and the DSS will work diligently in fishing out the bad eggs among us and ensure that they are brought to book. This is their statutory responsibility and they would be called upon to give an account of their deeds.”

According to Buhari, “This is their job. They signed for it. Whether they like it or not, they will have to provide security for the country,” President Buhari said.

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The President, while advising the rescued students, urged them to remain focused on pursuing their interest in acquiring a good education, despite the misfortune of kidnapping.

Buhari, who said the reward of knowledge was not negotiable, stressed that the “unfortunate incident was a test of character and determination to succeed in life.”

He assured the students that the Federal Government would upgrade the security structure in the country to ensure more safety.

“My dear children, don’t be discouraged with what has happened,’’ he said, adding, “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 for a 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 added.

He also thanked Governor Aminu Bello Masari for working “tirelessly” to ensure that the kidnapped children were returned unharmed.

Earlier yesterday in Daura, Buhari had made some statements that alluded to the possible change in the security architecture of the country.

“On the issue of insecurity, I am extremely worried, and I hope next year it will be different.

Those among the law enforcement agencies that would remain in charge would be extremely busy.”

Political watchers could see his comment as a reference that some security agencies might see changes by next year.

There have been calls for the sack of service chiefs in the wake of rising insecurity in the country—two from the Senate and several from several civil society organisations and pressure groups.

“It is our responsibility to secure this country for all the citizens to do their businesses without any problem. We haven’t achieved that yet, but we will keep on trying,” the president said.

“I will continue to be loyal to this country. I have asked for this mandate; I got it; I must not advance any excuse for failing to perform.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and some of these things we may not say because I don’t want to compromise the security and efforts being put by the law enforcement agencies.

But we are accurately aware of our responsibilities. Our responsibility is to secure the country – so we have a lot of works to do.

Armed forces know their job. I meet them, we have security meetings from time to time, they must be very clear of my instructions, and their effort is not good enough for me.

Daily Trust Satsurday reports that the Kankara schoolboys were released by their abductors on Thursday after a series of negotiations which involved traditional rulers as well as leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

They looked fatigued and hungry after days of trekking. They were thereafter taken care of by Katsina health officials ahead of their meeting with Buhari.

While handing them over Masari, the commander of 17 Brigade, Katsina, Brigadier General W.B. Idris, said the release of the boys was consequent upon the combined effort of the security forces and the state.

Sack them – PDP

The PDP National Publicity Secretary,  Kola Ologbondiyan, in a telephone chat with Daily Trust Saturday,  said, “If they are not doing enough,  he should sack them.”

According to him, “The position of the PDP is that President Muhammadu Buhari should rejig the security architecture.  It is not for him to call them and be telling them that they are not doing enough.

“What Nigerians are asking for,  what the two chambers of the National Assembly have asked for is for the Commander-In-Chief to rejig his security architecture.  If they are not doing enough, then they should go. If the president can come out and say his security chiefs are not doing enough,  he has passed a vote of no confidence on them.

“So he should listen to what Nigerians are telling him. He should listen to the voice of Nigerians,” the party added.

It’s unfair to accuse me of complicit – Matawalle

Meanwhile, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State yesterday regretted statements credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the role of Zamfara State in the fight against banditry in the North-West.

The APC had on Thursday accused a governor from the North-West of supporting banditry but was short of mentioning any name.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications Zailani Bappa, Governor Matawalle said he had dedicated the whole of his precious time and efforts in the last 100 hours to ensure the release of the innocent children and was taken aback when immediately after their release, a statement in the media credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC accused him of harbouring bandits who terrorise the North-west.

“This is incidentally a similar statement credited to the Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari sometime ago when in a similar effort, Governor Matawalle rescued 26 innocent girls abducted by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of the same Katsina State.

Although Governor Bello Mohammed has resisted temptations to join issues with anyone over the unfounded accusations, there was a need to set the record straight,” he said.

The statement said the governor’s “carrot and stick” approach to dealing with the bandits had succeeded in the recent past, where over 300 bandits have been eliminated in two months.

He said it was mischievous to attribute the Zamfara forests as a haven for criminals.

“The Zamfara State governor called on all stakeholders, especially those of the region, to work together to finding a lasting solution to the problem instead of the blame game which is diversionary and counter-productive,” the statement said.

We were tortured, starved, threatened – Rescued students

Some of the 344 rescued students have also shared their experiences, praying that God will never allow such a calamity to happen again.

One of them, Aminu Mudassir Bello, said the journey into the kidnappers’ den was a terrible one.

“We were starved; we slept on the ground with leaves as mattresses. The environment and everything were terrible,” he said.

We spent two days in the bush before we were given food. What they always gave us was raw cassava, sweet potato and groundnut cake (kuli-kuli). We drank water from the pond where they used to take bath, but they drink sachet water.”

Bello, who said although he was terrified and sick (during this interview), expressed readiness to go back to school to complete his studies.

He said he did not know the exact number of students who were taken into the bush, but confirmed that they were counted to be 344 on the day they were freed.

He also noted that no one was left in the hands of the kidnappers.

Another student, Mustapha Idris, said many of the abductees had given up the hope of returning to their families.

“When we were taken, we spent about four days trekking into the forest and they were beating those of us who lacked the strength to walk.

It was when we were released that we got to realise how far we trekked because we were received in Zamfara State.”

Idris further said they suffered insect’ bites as they were sleeping on the ground where their abductors burnt logs and that their movement was restricted to where they were confined in the bushes and only allowed to collect wild fruits to add to their usual meal of raw sweet potato and kuli-kuli.

He explained “One of us who attempted to escape suffered in the hands of the kidnappers. They tied him every night and poured cold water on him in, addition to the lashes he received every morning.”

Abubakar Salisu, who noted that the journey was a lesson of a lifetime, said, “We slept on rocks the first day and with gunshot sounds, we were awakened to proceed and that was what we went through for four days.”

Salisu said some of the boys fell sick while in captivity but were not taken care of by the bandits and that, “We used to be the ones to take care of them by sharing the little they gave us.”

He further said the kidnappers threatened that if the students returned to their school, they would go after them again.

He explained, “We trekked for two days while the younger ones were put on motorcycles; over 200 of them. They gave us two pieces of kuli-kuli daily.”

Another student who spoke in the viral video released by suspected Boko Haram members, hours before their release, also shared his experience while speaking to journalists at the Katsina Government House.

Looking tired and sounding psychologically shaken, he said, “They (abductors) were scared and asked that I speak to the government not to send troops to rescue us. I don’t know who they (kidnappers) are, but I was asked to say that they are members of Abu Shekau’s group the Boko Haram. However, in my opinion, they aren’t members of Boko Haram.”

According to him, “We suffered a lot, they beat us morning, evening and night. They are just small boys with big guns.”

Rayyanu Ahmed from Sabuwa, a rescued student, said, “Those that escaped told us that they saw corpses as they escaped. If anyone misbehaved, he got beaten thoroughly during our captivity. The older students were flogged.

“They kept us in the forest in an open space which had a nearby stream. We used to see planes hovering over us in the night with their lights shining on us. If the planes came, they would ask us to hide; not wanting the planes to spot us. They would also hide.

We were over 400 when they took us, but when we got there, we were 344 when they counted us. While in the forest, I made up my mind to shelve my educational pursuit, but now that I am free I will continue with my education and the experience will boost my morale to achieve my aspiration to become a banker,” he said.

Ahmad Yahaya, an SS1 student who was also abducted, narrated his experience thus: “We suffered a lot, we were tired and begged them to allow us rest, but they kept shooting into the air and scaring us.”

Speaking on the number of bandits, Yahaya said they were many. “During our evacuation, we were two on each bike.”

He said what happened to them would not deter him from his educational pursuit saying,  “I want to become a customs officer.”

Tijjani Usman Galadima, another student from Tsanyawa, Kano State, speaking on how they received the news of their rescue, said, “We were woken up to get set to leave. We were shocked and started rejoicing. We were brought to the edge of the forest and released at about 5 pm, but we didn’t leave the forest until night to a village called Hayin Alhaji.

“We crossed a stream and they left us. They didn’t kill any but many of us have foot injuries because we didn’t have shoes,” he said.

How notorious bandit, Daudawa moved to Kankara ahead of abduction

A few days to the mass abduction, sources in the area told one of our reporters that one Auwalun Daudawa, a bandit, had arrived an area of the forest called Dabatallawa Jamare with over 150 motorcycles.

They said there was a celebration by the bandits as they spent the night singing, dancing and shooting guns.

One of the sources said upon Daudawa’s arrival, the relative peace enjoyed by residents began to cease, even the local Fulani bandits intermittently terrorising the area had to flee to Faskari town axis around Bakarya village.

Daudawa’s first attack was in Yar Kuka village on Thursday before the Friday attack in Kankara. For over two years, bandits failed in their attempts to attack the village, but with his coming it took them minutes and they killed 13 in the village, kidnapped scores and rustled animals, our reporter gathered.

Daudawa was equally believed to have some local collaborators like Dankarami and ‎Danmorti. They are bandits based in the area and notorious for crimes being carried out in the seven local government areas bordering the forest.

Kankara school close to a dreaded forest

Unlike insinuations making the rounds, GSSS Kankara is one of the most sought after schools in Katsina State given its academic excellence.

The history of the school dates back to the old Kaduna State during the administration of former Governor Balarabe Musa.

The school, believed to have been established in the 1980s, started as Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Kankara, and during the 1990/91 academic session, it was renamed Government Rural Boarding Secondary School (GRBSS) with day and boarding services.

During the 1999/2000 session, the school was transformed into its present status of GSSS under the state’s science education board.

It is situated along Zango Road, less than two kilometres from Kankara town. Well fenced with concrete blocks, the school boasts of the best facilities with well-furnished classrooms and dormitories.

Enrolment is done through a selection system which ensures that only the best get admitted.

Teachers’ houses are located in the school, but the school buildings stand alone and are surrounded by farms with the busy Zango Road under construction passing in front of its main gate. The road is said to lead to the forest that serves as a hideout for bandits and other criminals.

For years, the school has produced excellent results as testified by many parents, hence the rush by parents seeking admission into the school for their children/wards.

Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, Lawal Abubakar, the father of a student, said, “I am obsessed with the school. All my children study here, including two who were among those that were abducted.

“I live in Zaria but I send them all here because the performance of the school is excellent.”

Another parent, Hassan Aliyu, said, “The Islamic teaching in the school is wonderful and that is what attracted me. I am always impressed at how knowledgeable my son is in the Quran and Islam.”

Source: https://dailytrust.com/kankara-abduction-your-effort-not-good-enough-buhari-tells-service-chiefs

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