The federal government said yesterday that it was not part of any negotiations or ransom payments for the release of abducted 344 Kankara school students in Katsina state, despite a Wall Street Journal report that schoolchildren said the kidnappers demanded N344 million (N1 million per head) before than they were released.
Senior Special Assistant to the President for Media and Advertising, Mallam Garba Shehu, in his reaction to the Wall Street Journal report, said it was false to say that the Federal Government paid a ransom for the release of the students.
He said: “The federal government was not a party in the negotiations, so it is false that anyone said that it paid the ransom.
“The governors of the states of Katsina and Zamfara, who conducted the talks, reported that they did not pay the ransom. We trust them. You have the right to choose who you want to trust. “
The robbers released all 344 schoolchildren on December 17, 2020, on December 11, 2020.
The controversy, however, sought to claim that Nigerian authorities did not pay a ransom to ensure the release of schoolchildren.
According to a Wall Street Journal, WSJ report, the Lawal brothers thought they would be executed on the third day in captivity.
Exhausted and hungry, their bare feet torn after long marches on target through a dense forest with more than 300 abducted schoolmates, 16-year-old Anasa and 17-year-old Buhari were ordered by the kidnappers to answer a question.
“Is your family poor?” said one of the armed faces, much of his face masked by a turban. “If they are, we will kill you now. He will not be able to afford a ransom, ”he said.
The brothers, whose father is Abubakar Lawal, a construction industry, said nothing and looked at the ground.
“We thought they were going to kill us here and there,” Anas said.
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“It simply came to our notice then. We thought we would never see our family again, ”said his older brother, named after Nigerian President Muhammad Bukhari.
Three days later, the legalists were among 344 students from the overall Kankara boy’s science school, who were released, a happy ending to a terrifying week in which they suffered beatings, threats and seizures from the kidnappers.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction.
The three boys said in interviews that the kidnappers told them that a ransom had been paid for their release. A person familiar with the kidnappers’ negotiations with the government said a considerable amount had been paid for the boy’s freedom.
During their captivity, according to interviews with eight released students, 13-year-old boys were forced to eat raw potatoes and bitter kalga leaves to survive. They were rarely allowed to rest, sleep snakes and scorpions on the rocks. They threw themselves on the forest floor so that they would not be noticed by the military planes that their hijackers said would bomb them.
After six nights in captivity, the students were handed over to security agents in neighboring Zamfara on the night of December 17th.
Vanguard News Nigeria