As against the 317 quoted by the police, Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, said the number of schoolgirls abducted was 279 and all have been freed.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the female students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State, were freed early Tuesday.
Yusuf Idris, media aide to Governor Matawalle, confirmed the release of the girls to this newspaper.
The official said 279 schoolgirls were released around 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday. He said the girls were currently at the Zamfara Government House waiting to be reunited with their parents.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the students were abducted early Friday amidst the worsening security situation across Nigeria.
The abduction in Zamfara occurred about two weeks after dozens of students and some staff members were abducted by armed bandits from a school in Kagara, Niger State. The students in Niger were released on Saturday morning.
“The actual numbers of confirmed abduction from the school’s register was 279, not 317 as earlier said by the police,” Governor Matawalle said in another statement.
The Zamfara State Police Command also made the correction in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Muhammed Shehu.
“The Zamfara State Police command is glad to inform members of the public especially parents and guardians of the affected students that today being 2nd March, 2021, 279 students not 317 as earlier reported of Government girls science secondary school, Jangebe in Talata Mafara LGA abducted on Friday 26th February, 2021 have been successfully released,” he stated.
When asked about the cause of the erroneous figure, Mr Shehu did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiries.
A similar scenario played out in Niger after the release of the Kagara students.
The government had initially declared 42 persons — 27 students, 3 staff and 12 members of their family, missing after the attack.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sani Bello, Mary Noel Berje, after their release, it was stated that only 24 students, 6 staff and 8 staff relatives, totalling 38, were rescued.
Although Mrs Noel-Berje did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiries on the disparity in figures, an official in the state house maintained that the figures were muddled up because of the tension.
“In fact, we asked the students and everyone and they said only 38 people were abducted. We also confirmed it ourselves,” the source said last week.
Commenting on the pattern, Jide Ojo, a public affairs analyst, said the disparity is capable of affecting public trust.
“This is because we don’t have reliable statistics in Nigeria. And it will affect public trust.”
“When the abduction in Kankara happened, they said 330 but upon their release, the government announced that 344 were rescued, meaning that extra 14 students part of those rescued. I could remember in the case of the Chibok girls. They brandished different figures before it was later pegged at 276.”
Mr Ojo also cited cases of students who escaped abduction or took cover during the attack, which may affect figures being reeled out.
“If we have any parent who is yet to see his/her own child, I’ll advise such parent to cry out,” he added.
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