President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called on religious leaders of all faiths and backgrounds to unite in support of the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President made the call while speaking with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar lll who called to felicitate with the President on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and the observance of the Eid.
The President called for continuous dialogue between the leaders of the two major faiths for peace and stability to reign in the country.
President Buhari commended the Sultan for his effective leadership of the Muslim Ummah and credited him with the unity of the community sustained under his watch.
The Sultan pledged his commitment to the continued existence of the country as one and assured the President of the support of the Sultanate in the ongoing efforts to tackle the challenges facing the nation.
Police in Zamfara State have arrested five notorious suspects involved in banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and illegal possession of firearms.
They were paraded by the Police Public Relations Officer in Zamfara, Shehu Mohammed, on Friday at the Police Headquarters in Gusau, the state capital.
He explained that the arrest of the suspects was a result of the collaboration between the police and the state leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
Mohammed stated that the command would continue to work with any group or persons willing to work for the peace of Zamfara and the north-west region.
He assured the people of Zamfara that the command was working hard to ensure the state was free from all criminal activities.
Those arrested were said to have been terrorising various communities in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina States in the North West, and Niger State in the north-central part of the country.
Items recovered from the suspects included four AK-49 rifles, nine magazines, 960 live ammunition, and assorted charms.
The suspects were arrested through the efforts of the Federal Intelligence Investigation Bureau and Special Tactical Squad deployed by the Inspector General of Police to rid Zamfara and the north-west region of crime.
They were alleged to have kidnapped the younger brother of one Dr Dauda Lawal and confessed that they collected N20 million ransom, as well as received N10 million ransom for the abduction of the daughter of one Engineer Yahaya Maradun.
Among them was a Nigerien citizen, Shehu Ali Kachalla, a notorious gunrunner who confessed that he had been in the business for more than three years.
The foreigner revealed that he had sold no fewer than 450 rifles to different criminal gangs across the north-west region.
Abubakar Ali, another notorious kidnap suspect from Niger State, said he was operating within Kagarko and Chikun Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
He also confessed that he had been in the criminal business for three years and has killed five of his victims who could not afford to pay ramson to regain freedom from captivity.
According to the suspect, their leader pays them between N600,000 and N700,000 in any abduction that attracts N20 million ransom and above.
The Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara, Abubakar Dauran, also witnessed the parade of the suspects at the Police Headquarters.
He promised that the state government would not relent in its continuous effort to bring a lasting end to criminality in Zamfara.
Dauran also appealed to the residents to join hands with government and security agencies in bringing down the activities of criminal elements making life unbearable to innocent citizens.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared three days of prayers against insecurity and other problems in the land.
CAN National General Secretary, Daramola Joseph, announced this in a circular dated May 11, 2021, and addressed to the leadership of the Christian body at various levels.
He explained that the leadership of the association considered the prayers important for God’s mercy and intervention in the continued killings, banditry, terrorism, and other problems facing the country.
Noting that the prayers were scheduled to hold between May 28 and 30, Joseph hinted that all local churches were directed to gather in the evening of each day.
He asked them to pray to God in the attitude of soberness for the bloodshed of many innocent Nigerians.
The CAN listed some of the suggested prayer points to include seeking forgiveness for sins committed by the church or Nigerians, especially their leaders.
Another important point was a prayer for the speedy recovery of Nigeria from all its losses to make it a nation everyone in the world would love to be.
Read the circular by the religious body below:
11th May 2021
State Chairmen & their Secretaries.
NATIONAL DAYS OF SOBERNESS/MOURNING AND FERVENT PRAYERS FOR GOD’s MERCY BY CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIA FROM FRIDAY, 28TH MAY – SUNDAY, 30TH MAY 2021.
This is to inform you that the CAN President, in view of the continuous killings, banditry, and host of other problems in Nigeria has considered it imperative and absolutely necessary that our country needed prayers for God’s mercy and intervention in our land.
Consequently, all local churches are expected to gather in the evening of each day set aside for the prayers to pray to God in the attitude of mourning or soberness for the bloodshed of many innocent Nigerians most especially Christians.
In the light of these, the following are the suggested prayer points to be followed during the said prayer meetings:
o That we are sad and pained for the blood of many innocent Nigerians that evil people in our midst had shed or for those kidnapped and abused in various ways. That God should forgive our sins wherever we as a church or Nigerians, especially our leaders had sinned against God.
o That the plans of the evil people in our midst to paralyze human, social and economic activities in this nation and throw the nation into chaos would be foiled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
o That any religious madness, or war that would not allow us to worship God in the way we are convinced to worship Him would be nullified by the Lord.
o Pray that the church would prevail over all threats to her existence in Nigeria. That the gate of hell will never prevail against the church in the name of Jesus.
o That our leaders would do justice in leadership and show fairness to all ethnic and religious groups in all their actions so as to douse ethnic and religious tensions we have presently.
o That the law enforcement agents would rise to their responsibilities and provide the necessary security we need in Nigeria.
o That every step the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, gunmen and other wicked people in our midst take henceforth would be failed. That unseen hands and the army of the Lord would fight them and Nigeria would be at peace.
o Pray and plant righteousness, Godliness, prosperity, peace, and love in our nation.
o Pray for the speedy recovery of our nation from all our losses so that this nation might become very soon a nation that everyone in the world would love to be.
o Pray to break the yoke of the generational curse that might have been placed on Nigeria and her leadership during the slave trade by the victims.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday said the Federal Government has the capacity to crush Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the northeast and bandits in the north western parts of the country.
This comes as security forces grapple with the activities of terrorists and bandits who have killed thousands, displaces hundreds of thousands and abducted several people for ransom.
Mohammed who spoke during a press conference in Lagos said contrary to the beliefs that the Federal Government is overwhelmed and lacks capacity to tackle the security threats, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to restoring law and order, peace and security in the country.
“I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges. Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance,” he said.
While noting that the Federal Government “acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnaping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict, it is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security.
“One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people. For example, while the nation’s military have superior firepower over the rag tag band of Boko Haram and ISWA, the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns, hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage.
“The same applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children. Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to the security forces, but they still must exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue. Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges.”
The Minister also reacted to attacks on security attacks in the country, describing assault on security operatives as a declaration of war against the country.
While condemning the attacks, the government’s spokesperson warned that such attacks will be countered with overwhelming force.
He added, “There is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers as well as police, customs, and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.
“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.”
The Katsina State Government has called for synergy between the military and security agencies to curb banditry in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, stated this on Wednesday when he received the new Brigade Commander of the Katsina 17 Brigade, Brigadier General Emmanuel Emeka who paid a courtesy call to his office at the State Secretariat Complex, Katsina.
He stressed the need for proper synergy between the Nigerian Army and other sister security agencies in order to bring to an end the worsening insecurity challenges bedeviling the country.
“The state government considers informants as the major headache as most of the bandits’ activities cannot be carried out without the support of informants”.
Inuwa noted that attention must therefore be focused on the informants and be dealt with equally as criminals, noting that they contribute even more than other criminals in the circle.
He however urged the Nigerian Army to advise the political leadership across the entire states affected by banditry to make certain decisions that will assist in crippling the activities of the bandits.
He further restated state government commitment to give Army and other sister security agencies all the necessary cooperation and support at all times to restore peace not only in Katsina State but also the country at large.
“There should be a proper synergy between the army and other security agencies because it’s a joint operation where the security agencies get support from the DSS and other sister security agencies including our natives.
“Let us work as a team with a common goal to bring the issue of insecurity to an end. You have all it requires to deliver in order to bring the menace of Banditry to an end.
“Our people are virtually under siege especially those living in the Frontline LGAs. You find people hardly go to the farm and their businesses. Now they are even attacking education, people now afraid of sending their children to school.
“So if we don’t farm and don’t conduct our commercial activities and we don’t go to school, what do we expect this society to be in the near future.
“We are at all times ready to assist you in the discharge of your assigned responsibility”. Dr. Inuwa said.
Earlier in his remarks, the new Brigade Commander of the Katsina 17 Brigade, Brigadier General Emmanuel Emeka informed the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa that the visit was meant to cement the existing cordial relationship between the Brigade and the State Government as well as to interface with the state for more guidance.
Brigadier Emeka further assured sustainability and improvement on all ongoing operations particularly the fight against Banditry, Kidnapping, and other related crimes in the state to the best of their ability.
Security operatives have foiled an attack by bandits by killing an unspecified number of them and recovering 300 cattle in Zamfara State.
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle disclosed this on Sunday via Twitter, adding that the operation was led by the state Commissioner for Security and Internal Affairs.
Matawalle also shared photos showing the cattle recovered which were rustled by the bandits at Kuraje near Rijiyar Tsakar Dawa in Guasau Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
“A moment ago, I was informed about an operational success recorded by the Hon. Commissioner for Security & Internal affairs. He led a team of security forces on a joint patrol and neutralised a gang of bandits who rustled a herd of over 300 cattle at Kuraje near Rijiyar Tsakar Dawa in Gusau LG,” his tweet read.
“After accomplishing the mission, the rustled cattle have been recovered for an immediate return to their rightful owners.
“We are pleased with the commitment of our appointees and equally grateful for the dedication & gallantry of our Security Forces towards restoring peace in Zamfara State and Nigeria at large.”
1/3. Foiled Banditry : A moment ago, I was informed about an operational success recorded by the Hon. Commissioner for Security & Internal affairs. He led a team of security forces on a joint patrol and neutralised a gang of bandits pic.twitter.com/TRadFDyBmK
Notorious bandit leader Auwalun Daudawa, who led the abduction of over 300 students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina state, has been killed, government sources confirmed to Channels Television on Friday.
Daudawa had laid down his arms and accepted Governor Bello Matawalle’s peace initiative on February 8.
But a few days ago, it was reported that Daudawa had returned to the forest to continue his banditry.
Confirming his killing to Channels Television via a telephone conversation, the Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara State, Abubakar Dauran said Daudawa left Gusau two days ago.
He had reportedly told some people that he was going to attend one of his relatives’ wedding.
However, he rustled over 100 cows and killed the herdsman in charge, the Commissioner said.
In retaliation, some people around the area organised and killed him too.
Daudawa had surrendered 20 AK-47 rifles, 20 Magazines, one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), one Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and several ammunitions to the Zamfara State government on the day he repented with five of his comrades.
Four students of Capro Secondary Mission School located at Gana Ropp in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State were abducted in the early hours of Thursday.
However, three of the students have escaped, while one is still in captivity.
The school is an arm of Calvary ministries.
Capro is few kilometres away from the Yakubu Gowon airport and about 60 kilometres from Jos, the state capital.
A global mission leader and President of Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam confirmed that the attackers broke the rear fence of the school where a hole was drilled to gain access into the school compound and abducted the students.
He further stated that the intervention of security agencies prevented what could have been another mass abduction as the assailants took to their heels after realising the reinforcement of security in the area.
Three of the students escaped as the abductors fled.
The Plateau State Police Command is yet to make any statement on the incident as community efforts are ongoing to secure the release of the abducted student still in captivity.
Spate of Abductions
The Plateau abduction comes as the country continues to battle several security challenges, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, secessionist agitations in the South-East and Fulani-Herdsmen crises across the Middle-Belt and several South-West states.
Bandits have, in recent times, targeted schools for mass abductions.
Several students of Greenfield University in Kaduna are still in captivity after they were abducted on April 20.
Bandits who abducted 39 students from Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, in Igabi local government area of Kaduna state recently released a video of the students, including a pregnant female student, calling for help.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sought the assistance of the United States in fighting insecurity across the country.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday inaugurated a 40-man committee to find a solution to the country’s security challenges. The Committee is set to hold a four-day security summit in May.
“It was surprising to note that, all the 35 suspects were arrested in Gusau, the state capital and some of them civil servants,” the statement said.
“The State Government therefore expressed delight over the arrest of the 35 bandits terrorising people within the Gusau metropolis.”
The criminals “have since been interrogated and have confessed to their various crimes and have already been transferred to Abuja for further action before prosecution.”
“Government therefore seriously warn bandits to renounce the criminality and embrace the state government dialogue and peace initiative to become good citizens, stressing the government intention to take punitive measures against criminals, as a matter of urgency,” the statement said.
“The state government also strongly warn traditional rulers to keep vigil eyes to landlords who give out their houses to people with suspicious character within their domains, as government will soon start to arrest any landlord found giving out his or her property on rent to bandits, kidnappers, informants and dealers of weapons for the bandits.
“Government will not hesitate to demolish any house given out on rent to criminals.”
Meanwhile, the state government said it had lifted the ban on commercial activities on four markets in the state.
“The action follows several calls by concern citizens both within and outside the state, to lift the ban to allow the common man have access to his basic needs during the holly month of Ramadan. The affected markets are Magami, Wanke, Dansadau and Dauran,” the statement said.
“The four markets were ban from any activities last week following attacks and killing of innocent people within the affected communities.”
The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has vowed to demolish any house that is harbouring weapons suppliers or informants.
The Governor disclosed this on Tuesday when he received the Sokoto state governor, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal along with his Council members who came to commiserate with the government and people over the recent bandit’s attack in some parts of the state.
Matawalle said he has instructed for serious punitive measures including the demolition of any house where informants, weapons suppliers, and people who are aiding banditry activities are arrested in the state with immediate effect.
He said the action became necessary in order to fully address the resurgence of armed banditry activities in some parts of the state which is being aided by the people who are living mostly in the cities and providing information to the bandits in the bushes.
Matawalle further said the activities of the informants are creating a lot of problems in the ongoing fight against banditry in the state and called for the support of citizens in the state in order to win the fight.
He also urged traditional rulers in the state to keep vigil and monitor the activities of landlords in giving out houses for rent, directing them to report any suspicious movement to security agencies for immediate action.
The governor explained that if actions like monitoring movements of suspicious characters are taken, the killing of innocent souls will reduce significantly in the state.
The Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal in his response said he was in Zamfara State to commiserate with the government and people over the recent unfortunate killing of innocent souls in some of the state which he described as “devastating and tragic.”
Tambuwal who noted the killing of innocent souls as a serious calamity prayed for the repose of the souls of those lost during the attacks.
The Governor said that they were happy with the commendable efforts taken by Matawalle in handling bandits activities which decimated killings and other crimes since the coming of Matawalle’s administration and will not accept the sudden sad resurgence of the banditry.
He later led members of his Executive Council in prayers for an end to the killings bedeviling the country.
The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Zamfara State Government, Bala Bello Maru, Head of Service, Kabiru Balarabe, Chief of Staff Government House, Col Bala Mande rtd, Deputy Chief of Staff Government House, Dr. Bashir Mohammed Maru, state PDP Chairman, Tukur Umar Danfulani, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries and Directors-General among others.
The Zamfara State Government on Saturday said it was criminalising the sale of petroleum products in jerrycans or any other containers in some parts of the state.
The move, the government believes, will help to curb the activities of black marketers linked to bandits in the state.
“In furtherance of the efforts and steps being taken by the government of Zamfara state in tackling the recent upsurge in the activities of recalcitrant bandits in the state, the government found it necessary to ban the activities of petroleum products black marketters in the general area of Wanke, Magami, Dansadau, Dangulbi, Dankurmi, Bindin, Munhaye, Kizarah, kunchin Kalgo and their surroundings with immediate effect, until further notice,” a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, said.
“As at the last count, we arrested almost 40 to 50 people, who also made useful statements and confessed to the crime,” he said.
“I continue to tell you that this issue of banditry is something that we must all rise up as people to condemn and then support security agencies to be able to provide an enabling environment for people to go about their businesses, without fear of any molestation.”
He also blamed the criminal activities happening across the country on opposition elements, insisting that they were funding criminals to discredit President Buhari’s administration.
While condemning the recent attacks by armed bandits on communities, especially in the northern part of the country, Governor Uzodinma challenged the security agencies to urgently reveal the names of their sponsors.
The Imo governor also condemned the call for secession, stressing that criminals particularly in Imo were a combination of individuals within and outside the state.
He added, “What people are doing is to sponsor crisis to the extent that those funding banditry are politicians and I challenge and call on the security agencies to make their names available to the press because what they want to do is to distract a government that is focused.”