President Muhammadu Buhari‘s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Friday apologised for claiming ten students were abducted from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Kastina State, last Friday.
The presidential aide during an interview with Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), had claimed that only ten students of the school were abducted.
Nigerians had attacked the President’s spokesperson for being insensitive to the situation.
Shehu, however, in a discussion with The Nation on Friday blamed his statement on inaccurate briefing from supposedly informed sources, appealing for forgiveness.
He said “In doing this job, we are faced with as many risks as a journalist faces in reporting issues.”
“When you are not physically present at an event, what you do is to rely on accounts rendered by others who happen to be there.”
“We can be misled as you reporters are, as it happened with the conflicting numbers we gave of the abducted students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara who have happily all been returned to their families.”
“What you do all the time before you appear for an interview, you do your research on the given subject. You make calls so that you are yourself, informed. What then happens when they gave you the incorrect facts?”
“There was absolutely nothing to suggest that the number of ten as the students taken by the kidnappers was given to us after a high level briefing by people who should ideally know.”
“But I went beyond that to crosscheck with other authorities and the confirmation was given as ten. As it turned out, more than 300 were taken as can been seen from the returnees.”
“I feel sorry that I was misled into hurting grieving parents. I absolutely have no reason to underplay the seriousness of the situation we were dealing with. As a father, I would have felt the same way about this misrepresentation as did the aggrieved parents. Sorry about that.”