By Celestine Ajayi
Boko Haram is decimated and the remnants of the group are seeking relevance by claiming responsibility for the abduction of 344 school boys in Kankara, Katsina State, the Federal Government has said.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja on Friday.
He confirmed that the school boys, who had been released unharmed, were kidnapped by bandits.
“The children were kidnapped by bandits not Boko Haram; the attempt by the insurgent group to take responsibility shows how decimated they are.
“Boko Haram is seeking relevance by trying to appropriate to themselves the handwork of bandits and sending out fake videos.
“Boko haram is weakened and seeking for relevance and giving the impression that they are still a potent force,’’ he said.
The minister said the incidents in Kankara, Chibok and Dapchi were totally unacceptable.
He said children should not have to go to school in trepidation, adding that government would continue to do everything possible to secure all schools.
The minister said the government would also not relent until all Nigerians can go to bed at night with their two eyes closed.
He noted that the release of the school boys was a testament to the importance that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration attaches to the security and safety of all law abiding citizens as well as visitors.
The minister, however, noted that no nation is immuned to security challenges.
“There is no government in the world that will not face the challenges of security at one time or another.
“No government in the world is immune to terrorist attacks.
“What stands any government out is the way and manner it responds to such challenges.
“For example, school shooting has been a recurring challenge in the United States.
“Between 2010 and 2020, almost 200 school children were killed and many more injured in various school shooting incidents.
“Needless to say that the world’s most powerful country suffered tragic terrorist attack in September 2001 that claimed almost 3,000 lives,” he said.
Mohammed said between 2010 and 2020, no fewer than 286 people were killed in various terrorist incidents in France.
He said in New Zealand, 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in Christ Church in March, 2019.
“I have given these instances to support the fact that no nation, no matter how powerful, is immune to security challenges.
“Back here in Nigeria, the abduction of the Kankara school boys marked the second of its kind under this administration, coming after the unfortunate abduction of 110 schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe State, in February 2018.
“Just like the good news from Kankara, all but one of the kidnapped school girls in Dapchi was rescued unharmed.
“276 school girls were abducted by terrorists in Chibok, Borno State in 2014, out of which 112 remain in captivity after this administration rescued over 100 of the school girls,’’ he said.
The minister expressed gratitude to the security and intelligence agencies for the great feat in the release of the school boys
He also thanked the governments of Katsina and Zamfara states, and all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria for their prayers and support.