Strange things happen nowadays in Nigeria. Can you imagine that a group of people will carry ten or more vehicles, drive them inside a school compound, collect and pack hundreds of students into these vehicles and drive them away unnoticed?

The exercise which may take up to three or more hours to accomplish, will escape the prying eyes of both government and security agencies in this age of Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM), when the world is a global village.

It happened in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014; in Dapchi, Yobe State, in 2016; and now in Kankara, Katsina State. They took everybody by surprise, unaware, and the people would be beating about the bush.

In the case of Kankara abduction which happened on Friday, December 11, 2020, the most intriguing aspect of it was that it happened in the home state of our President, when the man had just arrived the state on a holiday, and when ordinarily, security would have been beefed up, or at a very high alert.

We see it simply as a slap on the face of our President, the man who is supposed to hold the ace, who is in charge of all security apparatuses in the country, the Chief Security Officer of the nation.

Another puzzle is in not knowing the exact number of students that were abducted. While President Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, put the number to 10 students; Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said they were 333 students.

On the other hand, the Daily Trust Newspaper, highly regarded in the North, claimed the number of missing students after armed bandits had invaded the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, on the night of December 11, to be 668 schoolboys.

According to the newspaper: “One of our reporters, who was at the school yesterday gathered that at the time of the incident, the school had 1,074 students in both its Junior and Senior Secondary sections in session.”

Quoting a school source, the newspaper further reported that “in the junior section, there are six classes, comprising JSS 1A, which has 58 students, 1B, which has 62 students and 1C, which has 64 students; JSS 2A has 74 students, 2B has 79 students and 2C has 75 students.

“As for the senior section, we have seven classes, which include SS1A, 97; 1B, 108; 1C, 106 and 1D, 118. While in SS2, we have 2A, 74; 2B, 79 and 2C, 80, giving a total of 1074 students.”

It added however that both SS3 and JSS 3 students have completed their exams, hence they were not in school during the attack.

The report also said that 270 students were rescued from the school on the night of the attack and with the number of those who returned from the bush the following night or those who were reported to have gone home to their parents, the number of those found rose to 406 as on Sunday morning, which means that a total of 668 students were yet to be accounted for.

So, which one do we believe: is it the Presidency, through Garba Shehu, who claimed that only 10 students were missing; is it Governor Aminu Masari, who gave the number of missing students as 333; or is it the Daily Trust Newspaper, which put its own number to 668? We are confused.

In the midst of these conflicting number of missing students, worried and tramatized parents of the abducted school children who tried to stage a street protest, asking the authorities to double their efforts and ensure that their children were rescued unharmed, were teargassed by the police.

Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari who was in Daura, Katsina State, when the abduction took place, could not utter even a word, nor visit Kankara in the same Katsina State, to get first-hand information about what actually happened, and to console the parents of the abducted students and assure them that the government would leave no stone unturned to secure their release. Instead, while still staying in Katsina, he chose to send a delegation from Abuja to visit Katsina State. What a contradiction!

In 2014, when Chibok girls were kidnapped, everybody blamed a “weak” President Goodluck Jonathan for the kidnap, and also lampooned him for not visiting Chibok. Public protests were staged in many parts of the country by #BringbackourChibok girls group, led by Obiageli Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesuf, and co., and nobody harassed, nor teargassed them.

In 2020, students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, were kidnapped, and a “strong” President Muhammadu Buhari could not do anything. He did not visit Kankara, even though he was staying a stone’s throw to the town. The parents of the abducted students who came out to protests were teargassed!

All hail our President.

Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI

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