Kaduna Gov Clarifies137 Schoolchildren Were Abducted from Kuriga, Not 287 Upon Pupils’ Return

Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State has provided clarity regarding the number of schoolchildren abducted from Kuriga in the Chikun Local Government Area, revealing that 137, not 287, students were taken captive on March 7, 2024.
The governor made this clarification during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, emphasizing that all abducted children have been successfully rescued by the military in collaboration with local authorities, following their relocation by the kidnappers to neighboring Zamfara State.
The abductions occurred at LEA Primary School and Government Secondary School, Kuriga, approximately four weeks ago, prompting swift action from security forces to secure the safe return of the children.
Contrary to earlier reports, the Defence Headquarters confirmed on Saturday that a total of 137 students were rescued, dispelling the misconception of 287 abducted children.
Governor Sani dismissed the inflated figure as a product of misinformation.
“I don’t want to join issues with anyone in terms of numbers. What is more important to me is the safe return of the children. Today, I am happy that they are back safely, in high spirits, but those numbers were just figments of some people’s imagination,” the governor stated.
“Today, I met with the families of the children and they confirmed to me that the numbers given by the military are the correct numbers,” he added, describing the “287” as works of propagandists.
Acknowledging the unfortunate loss of a teacher who succumbed to health complications while in captivity, Governor Sani extended condolences to the deceased teacher’s family and offered solace to the families of the rescued schoolchildren.
He said, “It’s only one person that has not returned and that is the teacher. That is the fact of the matter, but all of the 137 children are safely back. We had the unfortunate incident that the teacher couldn’t make it because he had some complications; he was sick — that was the report we got from the military and the security agencies but the rest of the children, all of them are back with us.”
Addressing speculations about the involvement of Kaduna-based Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, in the rescue operation, Governor Sani refuted such claims, asserting that the cleric played no role in the successful return of the pupils.
“All those speculations you are hearing today are figments of some people’s imagination. I can tell you that without any fear of contradiction. There was nothing like Gumi in this operation. I can tell you. I won’t undermine the efforts of our Armed Forces,” Governor Sani said.
While Sheikh Gumi had expressed willingness to negotiate with the bandits for the children’s release, Governor Sani emphasized the pivotal role of the Armed Forces in the rescue mission.
The governor highlighted the concerning trend of schoolchildren abductions across Nigeria, emphasizing the need for decisive action to combat the menace.
Recently, some pupils and staff members of Apostolic Faith School in Ekiti State were abducted on January 29, 2024, from their school bus. They were heading to Emure-Ekiti when assailants intercepted them at Eporo-Ekiti. They later regained freedom about a week later but the driver of the bus was found dead.
The abduction of the Kuriga pupils was not the first in the series of mass kidnappings of schoolchildren in the country. From Chibok to Dapchi, Kankara, Kagara, and many others in Kaduna, Katsina, and Niger states, terrorists have in the last years seized thousands of schoolchildren in mass kidnappings that attracted global outrage. While some of the students eventually regained freedom, others have been perpetually detained in the enclaves of their abductors and sexual abusers.
The abduction in Kuriga adds to a series of mass kidnappings that have plagued Nigeria in recent years, prompting global condemnation and underscoring the urgency of addressing insecurity and protecting the nation’s youth from such harrowing ordeals.
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