Bello Matawalle, Governor of Katsina State, ha revealed that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) helped negotiated and secured the release of the 344 students abducted from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State, last week Friday.
Speaking in an interview after the students’ release was confirmed, Governor Matawalle said no ransom was paid to secure their release from their abductors’ custody.
He explained that the state government employed the help of repentant bandits and leadership of Miyetti Allah to establish contact with the abductors of the students before negotiations started for their release.
“When we established contact with them, I persuaded them to release them unharmed. And so they did tonight. This is not the first time we facilitated the release of our people without payment of ransom,” Governor Matawalle told Daily Nigerian.
“Ask anybody, we don’t pay bandits a dime. What we do is to extend olive branch to them because they also want to live in peace.
“As I speak to you, they are on their way to Tsafe, from where they will come to Gusau and sleep. They will begin their journey to Katsina tomorrow morning.”
The release of the students came after the terrorist group, Boko Haram, released a video of young boys it claimed were the students.
Although Boko Haram put the number of the abducted students at 524, the Katsina State government on Thursday said only 344 students were held by the abductors.
But Governor Matawalle said the bandits, and not Boko Haram, executed the abduction.
“Nothing like Boko Haram in this. The bandits did it,” said the governor.