Return money you collected, Shehu taunts #BringBackOurBoys campaigners

By Augustine Okezie, Katsina

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, has taunted #BringBackOurBoys campaigners to return the money they allegedly collected to campaign for the return of abducted 344 schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State.

Besides some northern groups, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Uche Secondus also led a protest in which he asked President Buhari to rescue the schoolboys who have been rescued and reunited with their families.

In an article on Sunday, titled: Five Takeaways from the Safe Return of 344 Kankara Schoolboys Shehu noted that while patriotic citizens prayed for the safe return of the pupils, “these merchants” were renting crowds and trending “suspicious hashtags”.

He added: “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 money they have so far collected for the now futile campaign to discredit their fatherland.”

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Shehu said the President and the parents of the schoolboys would have been traumatised if one of the pupils had died.

“They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot. This is important because one casualty, one dead schoolboy, could have traumatised President Buhari and the parents,” he said.

“One dead student would have tainted the rescue mission. The President wanted the boys back alive and delivered to their parents. As a compassionate father figure, he would have been pained if one life had been lost in the rescue process.

“Bravo to the Nigerian military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the President’s order reuniting the boys with their parents.”

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed had also taunted the #BringBackOurBoys campaigners, asking them to go home.

Also, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) yesterday hailed Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari for the early release of 344 abducted pupils of Science Secondary School in Kankara.

The coalition’s coordinator, Balarabe Rufai, spoke during a visit to the governor in Katsina.

He hailed Masari for showing exemplary leadership by recognising the seriousness of the situation and keeping his promise of ensuring the safe return of the abducted boys within the shortest time.

Rufai said: “We wish also to congratulate the rescued children, their parents and the entire people of Katsina State. We commend their resilience while the crisis lasted.”