HomeNewsKaduna Gov Hosts Freed Students, Insists No Ransom Paid; Teacher Dies In...

Kaduna Gov Hosts Freed Students, Insists No Ransom Paid; Teacher Dies In Captivity

Wrapped in orange headscarves and blue school uniforms, over 100 Nigerian students and staff of Government Secondary School, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, kidnapped on March 7, were given a reception on Monday, a day after they were freed by the Army.

They were rescued in Zamfara State on Sunday.

“There are here 131 students, six others are currently being hospitalized and will be eventually discharged when they get better,” said Major General MLD Saraso of the Nigerian army.

He said one of the 138 people abducted, a school staff member, had died in captivity.

The Army announced on Sunday it had rescued 137 hostages – 76 female and 61 male – in the neighbouring state of Zamfara, days before a deadline to pay a 1 billion naira ($690,000) ransom for their release.

One security source said he saw 14 black bags, which he assumed contained the ransom money, being delivered to the Dansadau enclave in Zamfara State.

He asked not to be named for fears of the possible repercussions.

Information Minister Mohammed Idris told a press briefing in Abuja that no ransom was paid.

The Kaduna State Government received them at 2pm upon their arrival at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House.

Thereafter, the children were driven with security escorts to the Women and Children Shelter, for psychosocial therapy before being reunited with their respective parents.

Six of the students were immediately hospitalised at the Army medical facility, Dallet Barracks, Kawo, Kaduna.

Presenting the children, the General Officer Commanding 1, Maj. Gen. Mayirenso Saraso, told Governor Uba that one male student and five female pupils were at the Army hospital receiving treatment.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Sani warned “merchants of conflicts” over the wrong narrative of how the 137 schoolchildren were rescued by the Army.

The visibly angry Governor warned against politicising matters of security as this would endanger citizens.

Speaking further, the GOC insisted no ransom was paid for the release of the students.

He credited the students’ freedom to “sustained and coordinated application of both kinetic and non-kinetic efforts” by security agencies.

He said, “We successfully freed 137 but you will discover that six of them are not presently with us here. They are being attended to medically in our facility at Darlet Barracks – one male with five female students who have been hospitalised.

“His Excellency visited them last night and he saw all the students including, those lying on hospital beds. So, those six when eventually discharged, when they get better, will join their 131 colleagues who are here physically present to complete the figure of 137.

“In all, there were 137 children and one staff member, making 138 persons together that were abducted from the co-located schools on the ill-fated day.

“But unfortunately the staff member, Mr Abubakar, is not here with us today because he died while in captivity.

“Consequently, there are here at present, a total of 137 students of the Government Secondary and LEA Primary Schools Kuriga in the Chikun LGA of Kaduna State who were successfully rescued from captivity around Dansadau Forest in Zamfara State and safely brought back to Kaduna.

“The breakdown of the figure of the rescued children shows that there are 76 females and 61 males making the total of 137 together (less the teacher that died while in captivity).”

The Governor said: “I want to appreciate our children who are here with us and are in high spirits. I want to make it very clear to all of us that from the very day that our children were unfortunately abducted from their school in the Kuriga community, President Bola Tinubu has been with us from day one.

“He ensures that the security should return our children home safely. I want to thank the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, for his able leadership and all the Service Chiefs and all security agencies for their respective contributions and organised efforts.

“I want to appreciate many Nigerians who prayed day and night for the release of the children, and today God has answered our prayers.

“I also want to caution insecurity merchants and conflict merchants in Nigeria to be cautious with their utterances because, before the release of our children, a lot of people have been coming with a lot of permutations about how these children were released and what happened.

“The important thing for us in Kaduna is that the children are here with us. This is more important. As a Government,  it is to protect the life and property of our citizens.

“And under my government, the Kaduna State will continue to prioritise our security because security is the number one agenda of our government.

“We should not politicise the issue of insecurity in Nigeria. It is not good to undermine the efforts of security agencies in Nigeria.

“I want to caution the media and some elements in the society about the permutation of the school children, in my own opinion it is just to celebrate their release.

“We are all happy because we had 16 days of sleepless nights, but today we are happy the children are back and I want to emphasise that we will continue to make security efforts so that all our Local Government Areas(LGAs) and Communities are saved.”

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