The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed on Friday that Nigeria got foreign support for the release of the 344 abducted schoolboys of Kankara, Katsina State.

The schoolboys were released Thursday night after six days in captivity.

The minister, when asked at a press conference in Abuja whether there was any foreign collaboration that led to the release of the students, said: “As to whether there was foreign collaboration, don’t forget I said that we thank all patriotic Nigerians and all friends of Nigeria.”

The minister, however, declined giving details of those foreign individuals or countries who supported Nigeria during the process of rescuing the schoolboys and the type of help given.

Mohammad also insisted that no ransom was paid for the release of the students, saying: “Our security and intelligence agencies were completely on top of the situation.”

According to him, “there is no where in the world that they don’t negotiate with terrorists”, especially when there is a need to save lives.

‘Bandits, not Boko Haram did it’

Mohammed insisted that the boys were kidnapped by bandits, dismissing the videos of the abducted schoolboys reportedly released by Boko Haram.

“They were kidnapped by bandits, not by Boko Haram.

“The attempt by Boko Haram to claim responsibility shows how decimated and irrelevant they have become.

“There is no doubt as to who kidnapped the schoolboys.

“Boko Haam was seeking relevance by trying to appropriate to themselves the work of bandits.

“A lot of fake videos were being sent out by Boko Haram to create the impression that they did it.

“Boko Haram is weakened and seeking relevance and trying to give the impression that they are still a potential force.”

‘Buhari coordinated rescue mission’

Mohammed dismissed the claims that President Mohammadu Buhari was not showing concerns over the abduction of the schoolboys.

Some Nigerians were not happy that the President did not visit the school despite being in Katsina on a one-week vacation.

But the minister said Buhari coordinated the rescue efforts by doing the most important thing of “ensuring the safe release of the boys within the fastest period.”