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… Buhari meets with 344 freed students

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (R) speaks during a meeting with the released Kankara schoolboys upon their release in Katsina, Nigeria, on December 18, 2020. Exhausted and dishevelled, several hundred Nigerian schoolboys seized in a mass abduction claimed by Boko Haram experienced their first full day of freedom on December 18, 2020 after a nearly week-long ordeal. Kola Sulaimon / AFP

 • Garba Shehu Apologises
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday evening, met and sympathised with the 344 freed students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, Katsina State, who were kidnaped by gunmen last week Friday.

Buhari, who met with the students at the hall of the Presidential Lodge, Government House, told them to “try and forget about the incident and focus on your educational goals,” saying the future belongs to the youth, especially those who are educated, as well as those who are in the sciences, which their school specialises on.

The President said as a young boy, he had gone through boarding school, just like them, and that education was what made him what he is today.

Buhari described the students as being lucky for going through such harrowing experience in the hands of gunmen and coming out unharmed, adding: “You’re lucky. Your school focuses on the sciences and sciences are part of modernisation, which allows you to secure good jobs.

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“The future is not for those that read English Language or History, but for those that read the sciences. I hope you will forget what happened to you and focus on your education instead.”

He stated that some of his relations who didn’t acquire education are now paying the price, as their animals and land had become less productive than before, noting: “I have relations that are not educated and their cows have finished, while their lands are not as productive as before.

“It is because I acquired education, that is why I am where I am today. Therefore, try your best to acquire both western and religious education, so that you become what you want to be in life.”

The President, however, used the occasion to call on security agencies to diligently work at weeding out bad eggs in society and to remember that they would give account of their actions before God, saying security agencies should not “forget that we would all face justice at the end of the day, whether we like it or not.”

Buhari, who had been in the state since last week Friday, returned to Abuja via the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport, yesterday evening.

Meanwhile, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, yesterday, tendered apologies for saying that only 10 students were kidnapped, contrary to the state government’s announcement that over 300 students were abducted.

However, in a series of tweets on his handle, Shehu said he was sorry for providing incorrect information, adding that the figure he made available to the public earlier was predicated on the information he had at his disposal.

He said: “I apologise for the incorrect communication, citing that only 10 students were kidnapped.”

In his verified handle, @GarShehu, the presidential spokesman added: “This communication of numbers was provided by persons that should ideally know. These numbers were seen to conflict with what was available at that time.

“Please understand that this communication was in no way done to downplay the seriousness of the situation.

“Please accept my sincere apologies on this matter, as we continue to move our great nation Nigeria forward. Thank you.”

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