Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, has taunted #BringBackOurBoys campaigners to return the money they allegedly collected for the campaign.
The campaign followed the abduction of over 300 boys from a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State.
Besides some northern groups, Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also led a protest asking President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue the schoolboys.
The schoolboys have been rescued and reunited with their families.
In an article titled, ‘Five Takeaways from the Safe Return of 344 Kankara Schoolboys’ on Sunday, Shehu said while patriotic citizens prayed for the safe return of the students, “these merchants” were renting crowds and trending “suspicious hashtags”.
“There will always be profiteers from other people’s misfortune. The lack of patriotism shown by few unnecessary elements in a moment of national distress was crass, shameful and despicable,” the presidential aide said.
“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.”
Shehu said Buhari and the parents of the boys would have been traumatised if a student had died.
“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 traumatized President Buhari and the parents,” he said.
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.”
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, had also taunted the #BringBackOurBoys campaigners, asking them to go home.