The Senior Special Assistant to President on media and publicity on his twitter page apologise to the Nigerian people for the misleading statement he made on the number of school children abducted by the Bundits in kankara a village in Katsina State.

This is following the revelation by national and international news sources that more than 300 students were rounded up and abducted by the bandits. Garba Shehu told the BBC Hausa service that only 10 students were abducted by the group.

In a separate interview with the governor of Katsina State, who confirmed over 300 students were abducted after the attack.This gaffe by Shehu triggered outrage on the social media with many calling for the sacking of the senior special assistant.

This kind of indiscretion by the SSA is becoming one too many. Recall the recent comment by the SSA when 43 farmers were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents on their farms at Zabaramari in Borno state. The SSA also said “the farmers did not get permission before they went to their farms” what a callous and unguided statement to make under the circumstance.

The SSA in an infamous apology statement claimed, the fake news he circulated was as a result of lack of synergy in the multiple sources of his information. He went on to say, “I apologize for the incorrect communication citing that only 10 students were kidnapped at the science school, Kankara. This communication of numbers was provided by persons that should ideally know. These numbers were seen to conflict with what was available at that time.”
“Please understand that this communication was in no way done to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Please accept my sincere apologies on this matter as we continue to move our great Nation Nigeria forward. Thank you”

In another separate tweet Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, on her verified Twitter handle, on Thursday afternoon claimed that all the schoolboys had been rescued.The tweet was shared some minutes before the Bandits released a video showing the captured boys were in their custody.

The tweet reads “ Yaaaa. The 333 boys captured in Katsina have been rescued. Alhamdullilah!@MBuhari administration has brought back our boys**#Bring Back OurBoys. OurBoys are Back. The tweet was deleted as quickly as it was hurriedly posted. She Claimed her account was hacked a situation many saw as a face saving strategy.

My worry about all these, the misinformation came from professionals who by virtue of their standing in the media circle know how humiliating it could be on the journalism profession when they become purveyors of fake news.

When Garba appealed for forgiveness from Nigerian for his shortcoming many must have forgiven him a lot were considering doing the same after all ”to err is human to forgive is divine”

While Nigerian are still considering to forgive Shehu, he came up with another ridiculous write up that shows he was not actually remorseful and sincere in his appeal for forgiveness.

He continued with his rascality when the school children were actually rescued through the efforts of Miyeti Allah national chairman, the Zamfara state governor and the military. As we now know the truth how the children were rescued as revealed by Matuwale the Zamfara governor.

To appreciate the rascality of Garba Shehu we shall reproduce what he wrote in whole for you to judge. While we add our commentary to all the arguments put forward by Garba in defence of his benefactors.

By Garba Shehu
The safe return of all 344 boys kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State would be celebrated in any decent part of the world where empathy overrides cheap politics. And for a good cause.”
Who is playing politics here is it Garba or the Nigerian people? Your statements on the un folding events shows lack of empathy and is tainted with politics.

Of course Nigerians are relived the students were rescued in good time. Garba may wish find out the anguish the parents of Chibok girl whom their children are yet to be rescued then he would know how happy Nigerians are or not.
He went to add that “The outpouring of sighs, cries of relief and joy over the return of the boys reverberated beyond their immediate families. As the news spread far and wide, the global community is cheering the boys’ reunion with their families”

They are doing so because the memory of the pitiful situation of the Chibok girls are still vivid in their minds and they know how in competent our system is. So their relief is not out sympathy but fears.

Garba also called the whole event as a watershed. “This moment is a watershed for Nigeria. It holds out hope that Nigerian citizens can feel safe wherever they are”
Really, is Garba really serious about this are we really safe? Is he living in a different world? Might be we need to ask the SSA to give Nigerians a lecture on public safety. We shall then see if he is not booed or stoned.

He went to quote his boss by saying “It is precisely as President Muhammadu Buhari described it: “A big relief to their families, the entire country and international community.” Indeed what else can he say.

He also added by saying, “We are glad that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres just sent a thank you message, appreciating what Nigeria has achieved”.
Very gratifying to hear this, has the UN Secretary General also not reminded his boss about the Chibok girls that are yet to be reunited with their families. Lest I forget is Leah Sharibu the Dapchi school girl abducted from Yobe state rescued from the Boko Haram and united with her family. The achievement Shehu is referring to can only be complete when all the Chibok girls and Leah are return to their families.

Garba then identified the following as the take away from the disturbing national embarrassment;

  1. “The Buhari Administration has the will and has demonstrated unquestionable capacity to protect Nigerians. Those who doubt this Government’s resolve are mischievous. It is an administration empowered to draw enormous resilience from innate reservoirs of human resources, a network of reliable intelligence sources, and demonstrated expertise in scenario building and mediation”.
    Is it? Wasn’t Garba in his appeal for forgiveness blaming his sources of information and intelligence for feeding him with conflicting information as a result of which he gaffe in the number of the abducted children. Since when has the situation changed that he is now praise-singing the quality of intelligence and the resilience of the security aparatus. Which one does he want us to believe?

The SSA also claimed, ‘’Under enormous pressures from local and international sources, those charged with coordinating the boys’ safe return held tight, stayed focused, refusing to succumb to doubts, taunts, and conspiracy theories. They eventually got the job done most transparently and brought back the boys”.

Who are those conspiring? if any Shehu is part of the conspiracy theories? Your singular action of spreading fake news in order to protect your benefactors makes you part of the conspirators.

He also complained, “Our Security Forces often do not get the accolades they deserve. Once more, the Nigerian Military has delivered on the big stage. 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 traumatized President Buhari and the parents. 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. There are not enough words to thank our gallant men and women in uniform, the military that continues to, make sacrifices for many of us to enjoy and express our freedoms in its various forms and shapes. Millions of appreciative citizens applaud the success of the Army in bringing back the Kankara Schoolboys. Well done, boys!”

Here he goes again, the fact that nobody was killed was not the effort of the Military. You need to hear the interview given by the Zamfara state governor how the whole saga played out. Might be he will do some re-appraisal of his characterization of the events that led to the rescue of boys.

  1. Terrorists have lost the lead narrative with the military and our security personnel’s excellent performance in rescuing the boys without any incident. They can run, but they can no longer hide. The momentum now lies with our forces, and one should expect a new push against violent forces and their sponsors”.

May I ask Garba how many of the bandits have been captured? How many of their identified hideouts been taken over or decimated by the security agents. Are the bandits not waiting for another opportunity to strike giving the fact no one anticipated such abduction would ever happen again in the light of what happen at Chibok and Yobe.

Can Garba tell us how the Americans came and rescued their citizen? Did they use our local security or the Miyetti Allah? Is Garba aware that the Abuja- Kaduna road is still not safe to travel day or night?

  1. ” One must never take for granted the Nigerian spirit of brotherhood or their love for their President. Nigerians are far more united than it would seem, reviewing news reports and social media pages. Nigerians also love this President and have absolute trust in his ability to protect them. The outpouring of solidarity and support for the administration cuts across all divides, from far and wide, from expected and unexpected quarters. Nigerians have shown that in moments of national grief, they are truly their brother’s keepers and the events of the last few days have clearly demonstrated this residue.

Garba, must know Nigerians elected Mr President because of the love they have for him. But ask them now how many can still vote for him? Where are outpouring and solidarity coming from?
Is Shehu reading the same news newspapers, following the social media Nigerian has access to or is he just being delusional.

Shehu also blamed Nigerians for seeking gratification from where they did not saw;

  1. “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”

Those people shehu is calling profiteers are patriotic Nigeria who have the courage to say it like it is. Unlike him instead of speaking the truth he tried to downplay gravity of the abduction to only 10 students.

Democracy flourishes when people have the right to hold counter views, speak out whenever they observe some dislocations in the way they are governed. This is the major difference between dictatorship and liberal democracy.
If there is anyone who is profiteering in the debacle is the likes of Garba and his cohorts who are benefiting from their official positions by spreading fake news and demeaning the status of the government and the office they hold.

In a civilised society, Shehu ought to have resigned or shown the way out for his arrogance and indiscretions. But this is a government that condones every irritations, tantrums and indiscretions by public officers no matter how weighty it is.

Nobody seems to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Everything goes un punished. Public officers now arrogantly embarrass the country and abuse our sensibilities as a people and get away with it because nobody cares. This how pathetic the situation is.
May I call on the Nigerian Union of Journalist or Guild of Editors the two associations whom Garba Shehu and his cohorts belong to caution or sanction such indiscretions from members of our noble profession.

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