Aminu Masari, the governor of Katsina State, says negotiations led to the release of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara Katsina State.
Mr Masari while confirming the release of the students to DWTV Hausa on Thursday night, said no ransom was paid to secure their freedom from the abductors who he described as bandits and not Boko Haram despite contrary video evidence from the sect.
“One hour ago, Nigerian soldiers and government officials that were involved in the negotiation for the release of the kidnapped schoolboys have told us that the whole school children have been released, 344 of them,” Mr Masari said at about 10pm.
“At the moment, we have arranged for vehicles to transport them from where they are to the state capital, Katsina. From then, we will pass them through to doctors to diagnose them.
“Those involved in the negotiation include my adviser, some top military and police operatives, members of Miyetti Allah; (they) where all involved in the negotiation.
“We did not pay ransom to the kidnappers, it was purely negotiation.
“They (abductors) are bandits who kidnapped the schoolboys, not Boko Haram.
“What we will do next is to transport them to us in Katsina, ask our doctors to look at them and then give them new cloth to wear and reunite them with their parents,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has described the development as a huge relief to the nation and the international community and pleaded for patient from citizens in tackling rising insecurity.
“I welcome the release of the kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara,” the Nigerian leader said in a statement published across his social media accounts.
“This is a huge relief to the entire country & international community. The entire country is grateful to Governor Masari, the Intelligence Agencies, the Military and the Police Force.
“Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. I ask Nigerians to be patient and fair to us as we deal with the challenges of security, the economy, and corruption. We will not relent,” he added.