Kankara kidnap: controversial claims raise questions

The kidnap of over three hundred schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina, earlier in December, sparked nationwide outrage which subsided after the boys were released one week after; unhurt. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, but the controversial accounts of how the boys got rescued have left unanswered questions in the hearts of many Nigerians.

Read more: #BringBackOurBoys: Here’s all we know about the abducted schoolboys from Kankara

The safe return of the boys is, no doubt, a welcome development considering incidences of kidnap cases across the country. But, conflicting accounts of the release of the boys is raising eyebrows.

First, the Katsina Governor, Aminu Masari, in an interview Thursday, December 17, 2020, disclosed that Miyetti Allah together with security operatives was responsible for the release of the boys. According to him, the boys were freed after negotiations with the kidnappers without ransom.

He said that, “those involved in the negotiation include my adviser, some top military and police operatives. Members of Miyetti Allah; (they) were all involved in the negotiation.”

The Nigerian military, however, disclosed Saturday, December 19, 2020, through Major General John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations; and retired Major General Ahmed Jibrin, former Director, Military Intelligence, that they had carried out the rescue mission that secured the release of the boys.

Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu Tuesday, said that repentant bandits had played a role in securing the release of the abducted schoolboys.

In addition to all these, the controversial tweet of Chairman, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), and a one-time member of the House of Representatives, Abike Dabiri, also raises questions. 

In a now-deleted tweet posted Thursday, December 17, 2020, Dabiri reported that the students had been rescued while showering accolades on the Muhammadu Buhari administration for securing the release of the boys. This was while a video of the boys still in captivity was circulating on social media – hours before their release was officially announced by the Katsina governor.

The NiDCOM Chairman later posted another tweet where she claimed the previously deleted tweet must have come from a fake Twitter handle and not hers. She also added that she lost control of her social media accounts “in the last couple of minutes.”

“Not my twitter handle. There may be fake ones out there,” she wrote in another tweet which was deleted too. But Dabiri came under heavy backlash for her rather controversial and misleading tweets. 

With the many conflicting accounts and Dabiri’s controversial tweets, it seems to some Nigerians that there may be something fishy about the Kankara kidnap; probably something the government is not saying or is trying to hide.

The confusing accounts of how the Kankara schoolboys were rescued, points to the fact that there is a lack of synergy and distrust in the government and communication in the Buhari administration is still a huge problem that needs to be addressed. And, if these problems are not promptly addressed, they might complicate issues for the government. 

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