Mr. Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has apologised for spreading fake news on the number of students that were kidnapped at the Government Science School in Kankara, Katsina State, last week Friday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how gunmen on December 11 invaded the public school and abducted over 300 students.
The kidnap incident triggered outrage on social media with many Nigerians calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the military chiefs immediately.
While the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, confirmed that over 300 students were missing after the attack, Mr Shehu told BBC Hausa on December 14 that only 10 students were taken away by the gunmen.
Meanwhile, six days after their abduction, the 344 kidnapped students were freed and it became clear that Mr Shehu misinformed the public.
The students on Friday met with President Buhari in Katsina and some of them also shared their experiences while with the gunmen.
Following a backlash on social media, Mr Shehu took to Twitter on Friday evening to apologise for sharing unverified information despite being a top aide to Mr Buhari whose administration has repeatedly vowed to discipline purveyors of fake news.
“I apologize for the incorrect communication citing that only 10 students were kidnapped at the science school, Kankara. This communication of numbers was provided by persons that should ideally know. These numbers were seen to conflict with what was available at that time.”
“Please understand that this communication was in no way done to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Please accept my sincere apologies on this matter as we continue to move our great Nation Nigeria forward. Thank you”, he wrote on Twitter.