Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity has admonished the #BringBackOurBoys campaigners to refund monies collected for the movement.
Garba also decried that it was disgraceful that “merchants of fortune” profiteered from the abduction of over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
According to Garba Shehu, the creators of hashtags like the #BringBackOurBoys lacked patriotism. Several hashtags including the #BringBackOurBoys had surfaced online after the December 11 abduction of the Kankara schoolboys.
Recall that unknown gunmen suspected to be bandits had attacked the school and kidnapped the students barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in the state for a week-long private visit.
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, however, announced the release of the 344 schoolboys six days after their abduction by bandits.
While some Nigerians, particularly the parents of the abducted students, delight in the news of the schoolboys’ release, the president has been criticised in certain quarters by persons who felt he created the problem and should not relish in the student’s release.
But Shehu, in a piece on Sunday titled, ‘Five Takeaways From The Safe Return Of 344 Kankara Schoolboys’, said the release of the students would be celebrated in any decent part of the world where empathy overrides cheap politics.
According to the presidential aide, by the release of the Kankara schoolboys, the Buhari tenure demonstrated “unquestionable capacity to protect Nigerians” and those who doubt the regime’s resolve are “mischievous”.
Shehu slammed the “mischievous” elements who he claimed anticipated a prolonged stay of the students in captivity.
“There will always be profiteers from other people’s misfortune. The lack of patriotism shown by few unnecessary elements in a moment of national distress was crass, shameful and despicable. If they are not directly affected by a tragedy or no immediate family member involved, it is fair game for them and time to gloat or even make a few fast bucks. Indeed emergency activists thought they could cash in on these schoolboys and their parents’ misfortune devoid of their conscience.
“While patriotic Nigerians prayed for the boys’ quick return, these merchants of fortune were renting crowds, creating certain suspicious hashtags, opening bank accounts for the sole aim of soliciting funds for a cause they thought would linger. What will they do now with the one million T-Shirts they have produced? This is hugely shameful. These scavengers should now be honourable enough to refund the monies they have so far collected for the now futile campaign to discredit their fatherland.”
The presidential aide also praised the security forces for the release of the students, saying the military rescued the students without firing a single shot. Shehu’s position, however, contradicted Masari’s claim that the release of the boys was facilitated by the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.