The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, confirmed the involvement of men of the Nigerian Army in the rescue of the students abducted from their school in Kankara, Katsina State.

Shehu made the confirmation in an opinion article titled “Five takeaways from the safe return of 344 Kankara schoolboys.”

The defence headquarters had earlier said the troops’ Operation Hadarin Daji successfully rescued the abducted students.

That position was contrary to the statement of the Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, who said the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association played a major role in the release of the schoolboys.

But Shehu confirmed the involvement of the military in the rescue mission.

He said under enormous pressure from local and international sources, those charged with coordinating the boys’ safe return stayed focused and they eventually got the job done.

He said, “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 traumatised 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!”

Shehu added that terrorists have lost the lead narrative with the military and other security personnel’s performance in rescuing the boys without any incident.

He said with the momentum now with security forces, the nation should expect a new push against violent forces and their sponsors.

The presidential aide knocked those, whom he said, opted to profiteer from other people’s misfortune.

He added, “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.”