President Muhammadu Buhari , on Tuesday, expressed “overwhelming joy” over the release of abducted female students in Zamfara State.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement titled: “President Buhari celebrates release of abducted Zamfara female students, calls for greater vigilance.”
Shehu quoted the President as saying that “I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students.”
The presidential aide further quoted Buhari as saying that he was excited that the abductees’ ordeal came to a happy end without any incident, adding that “being held in captivity is an agonising experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.”
While celebrating the release of the students, the President reportedly called for greater vigilance by the people so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.
He warned that the time has come to reverse, completely, the grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping.
The President was also said to have kicked against payment of ransom, saying “Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping.”
He urged the Police and the Military to go after the kidnappers and bring them to justice.
Bello Matawalle , Zamfara State governor who announced the release of the abducted girls on said that they were actually 279 girls in number. Police initially said 317 girls were abducted in the raid by more than 100 gunmen on the Government Girls Secondary School in remote Jangebe village.
Bello Matawalle said that no ransom was paid for their release. “Today, we have received the children who were under captivity since Friday. I initiated a peace accord which yielded a positive result. No ransom was paid to anyone. I insisted that we were not going to give anything to any of them,” Matawalle said. The governor said the students were being taken to a health facility for medical examination.
Government officials had been in talks with the kidnappers – referred to as “bandits” – following Nigeria’s third school attack in less than three months.
Zamfara state police commissioner Abutu Yaro said a government-led peace process had resulted in the girls’ release. “The Zamfara peace accord remains the backbone of the success we have recorded so far. These children were recovered through dialogue,” he said.