The Kaduna State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized a total of 1,721 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa from illegal drug dealers in various parts of Kaduna State.
The items were seized between January to May 2021.
The command also arrested 89 suspects for illicit drug-related offences across the state.
The state NDLEA commander, Uche Samuel while addressing journalists in Kaduna on Tuesday said some of the seizures and arrests were made in the Kudenda industrial layout in Kaduna South Local Government and Kasunwan Magani in Kajuru Local Government respectively.
Displaying the seized illicit substances to reporters, the NDLEA commander, warned drug peddlers to desist from illegal activities or be ready to face the law, stating that the command is committed to rid Kaduna state off drug peddlers.
He explained that since the beginning of this month, four suspects were arrested in possession of 328.1kg of Cannabis Sativa in Kudenda and Kasunwan Magani while the command successfully convicted eight persons to various jail terms for drug-related offences.
The abductors of students of Greenfield University in Kaduna State have threatened to kill the remaining 17 students in their custody if their parents and the state government fail to pay the sum of N100 million as ransom by Tuesday, May 4th.
This was disclosed by some of the parents of the abducted students on Monday.
The parents of the victims who did not want their names mentioned due to fear told Channels Television that the fresh demand of N100 million by the bandits is in addition to the over N50 million ransom paid to them over the weekend, with the assurance to release their children.
In addition to the N100 million, the parents said the bandits also demanded ten new motorcycles before the end of tomorrow Tuesday, May 4th, failure which they will have no choice but to kill the remaining 17 students in their custody.
The bandits had on April 20, invaded the Greenfield University located along Abuja- Kaduna Highway, and took away 23 students after killing a staff of the school.
A week later, the bandits killed five of the abducted students in two batches.
The leader of the criminal gang known as Sani Jalingo was quoted to have said during an interview in the Hausa Service of the Voice of America that there are 17 students in his custody presently, including a grandson of the late Emir of Zazzau Shehu Idris, identified as Hamza.
The gang leader also said the N55million ransom paid by the families of the students has been used in feeding the victims.
Bandits have attacked Haske Baptist Church in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing eight people while several worshippers were abducted.
An unspecified number of worshippers also sustained varying degrees of injuries with a medical doctor, Zakariah Dogo Yaro of the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, among those killed during the incident.
The church, located in Manini Tasha village, Kuriga Ward of the local government area, was attacked around 9 am on Sunday by the heavily-armed bandits.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
A member of the church told Channels Television’s correspondent that the bandits upon their arrival surrounded the church and started shooting sporadically at the worshipers who scampered for safety in different directions.
In a similar development, armed bandits invaded Bagoma community in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the northwestern state and killed six indigenes.
Bandits also attacked Amfu village in Kachia council area where they shot a woman to death.
While reacting to the incident, Governor Nasir El-Rufai condemned the attack by bandits on a place of worship in Chikun and other parts of the state.
He described them as shocking acts of depraved persons far removed from humanity.
The governor who roundly denounced the attack on the church added that attacking innocent worshipers who were exercising their natural and lawful rights to assembly, represented the worst kind of evil.
He, however, sent his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and the Haske Baptist church, while also praying for the repose of the souls of the slain and speedy recovery for the injured.
‘Not … A Penny’
Kaduna State has witnessed a surge in banditry and kidnapping in recent years; schools and students have been the major targets.
Earlier this month, scores of students were abducted by gunmen at Greenfield University, with three of them later confirmed dead.
This was after over thirty students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in the Afaka area of the state were kidnapped.
Despite the rise in kidnapping with the perpetrators demanding ransom, the Kaduna government has insisted that it will not succumb to blackmail, vowing not to pay a dime to the criminals.
“We have a feeling that the renewed attacks in Kaduna are not unconnected to the position that we have taken as a government that we will not negotiate with criminals,” said the governor who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“We will not give them any money and they will not make any profit from Kaduna; anyone that comes to Kaduna will not get a penny from the state government, except he will get a bullet instead.”
The Kaduna State Government says contrary to certain reports certain sections of the media, the bond between Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, and the parents of the abducted students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, and other citizens in captivity is deep empathy amidst spirited efforts to secure them.
In a statement on Friday, Samuel Aruwan the commissioner, ministry of internal security and home affairs said the governor will continue to work hard until banditry is contained, without succumbing to emotional blackmail and gradual politicization of the unfortunate situation.
Citing an instance, Arunwa noted that some sections of the media have been reporting the parents’ responses to the purported threats by the governor to prosecute them, “which is simply false and deeply mischievous”.
According to the commissioner, the statement of the government warning impostors who have been presenting themselves as government-appointed emissaries to negotiate with bandits across the State has nothing to do with the parents or relatives of the abducted students or any other person in captivity.
“It was rather directed primarily to some identified individuals exploiting the security situation in the State, and neighboring States,” Arunwa emphasized
He said the state government will not join issues with the parents whose pain is understandable and with whom the Kaduna government shares the common goal of the return of all the abducted students.
Mr. Arunwa assured the Kaduna people that the state government continues to work towards crushing banditry, kidnapping, and other acts of criminality menacing the people and communities.
The commissioner said the government believes that most people of goodwill share the desire of having the state totally safe and at peace, and as such advised everyone to be wary of those who see in the misery of others only an opportunity for needless controversy.
Kidnappers who abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State are demanding N500 million ransom and are threatening to kill the abductees if this demand is not met.
This was disclosed by parents of the kidnapped students who say they are losing hope and are uncertain about the government’s promises and intervention.
Thirty-nine students were initially abducted, however, 10 have been released, leaving 29 others in the kidnapper’s den.
Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna on Friday, the spokesperson for the parents, Friday Sani said the government has been adamant to meet the demands of the kidnappers, adding that the kidnappers are now calling parents directly and threatening to have their children killed.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has explained that the reason why his administration is sacking public servants in the state is due to dwindling financial resources and higher wage bills which the government cannot be able to sustain.
The Kaduna state government had on April 6, disengaged 4,000 local government workers.
The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) kicked against the decision, calling on the state government to reverse the decision and seek alternative means of running its affairs without inflicting additional pains on the public.
But in a statement signed by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, Governor El-Rufai insisted that the government was not elected just to pay salaries of public servants alone, but to also develop the state by building schools, hospitals, upgrading infrastructure and making the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.
El-Rufai pointed out that what it has been receiving from the federal allocation committee since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads, adding that in the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97% and 96.63% of FAAC transfers received by the Kaduna State Government
The statement reads: ’In November 2020, KDSG had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages. In March 2021, Kaduna State had only N321m left after settling personnel costs.”
The statement pointed out that ‘’that month, the state got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money received.
‘’This does not include standing orders for overheads, funding security operations, running costs of schools and hospitals, and other overhead costs that the state has to bear for the machinery of government to run, for which the state government taps into IGR earnings.”
While the Kaduna State Government believes that the overall wages of the public sector are still relatively low, it noted that their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government.
The government further argued that the public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees (and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than nine million that are not political appointees or civil servants, adding that it is gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State.
In addition, it pointed out that the measures which the government took to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs.
The statement recalled that ‘’in September 2019, Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments. The state government followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.
‘’This step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.”
According to the state government, “what each public servant earns might be puny in comparison to private-sector wages, but the total wage bill consumes much of the revenues of the state.
‘’Therefore, the state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.”
While justifying the job cut, the statement however described it ‘’as a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.’’
The Governor further said that the rationalisation exercise will also affect political appointees, stating that its purpose is to save funds and ensure that a strong and efficient public service exists to use those resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people, and thereby develop the state.
‘’The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size,” the statement said. “Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act or act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem.”
The abductors of the eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Kaduna state have established contact with the leadership of the church in the state, demanding a ₦50 million ransom before they will release them.
This was disclosed by the public relations officer of the Church in Kaduna province, Alao Joseph.
Mr. Joseph told Channels Television that the church members were kidnapped by the bandits at about 7 pm on Friday night along Kachia road.
He said that the bandits took away the church members to an unknown destination while the bus which they were travelling with was abandoned by the roadside.
He added that the church has contacted the security agencies over the incident with the hope that they will help in securing the immediate rescue of the eight church members.
Meanwhile, the police authorities in Kaduna state have confirmed the abduction of the eight Redeemed Church members on Friday night.
Police spokesman Mohammed Jalige, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, said the command is working closely with the leadership of the church in the state to ascertain the actual number of those that were abducted.
He added that police operatives have launched a manhunt with a view to arresting the criminals and rescuing the victims alive.
According to a statement by Mr. Aruwan, the official vehicle of the Emir was shot by bandits at about 4:30 PM on Monday around the Zonkoro axis of the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, within Chikun local government area.
Aruwan says only the Emir’s driver and his orderly, a Police Inspector were in the vehicle, they were on their way to Kaduna when the incident occurred.
The commissioner further disclosed that no life was lost.
We are leading with the banditry situation in Kaduna, renewed hopes for Nigerians seeking a US visa, and stunning revelations from Meghan Markle about the UK royal family.
Bandits in Kaduna
Bandits terrorising some parts of Kaduna State and the Northern region are still going strong but the military has said it is not giving up on taking them out.
In its latest onslaught against the bandits, the military said it conducted aerial missions over locations in Chikun and Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, killing several of the bandits.
Meanwhile, at least 12 people were kidnapped by bandits during an attack on the Junior Staff Quarters of the Kaduna International Airport on Saturday. One of the victims, who is a member of staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), was kidnapped along with his wife, five children, and three other persons who had visited them.
Bala Bantex: The former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State said some people are benefitting from insecurity in Nigeria and would not want it to end. He also opposed the idea of offering amnesty to bandits.
Related: Police authorities say they have arrested a 75-year-old visually-impaired man, Iskilu Wakili, who is accused of being the mastermind of series of attacks against farmers in the Ibarapa Area of Oyo State, where cases of violent attacks against farmers had been reported.
The discovery was made after Zulum showed up at the camp in the early hours of Sunday, ordered the sealing of the entrance, and immediately supervised a headcount.
Out of 1,000 households on record in the camp, at least 650 were non-existent, the Governor said.
A household normally consists of at least six persons who are either related through families or chosen to stay together for the purpose of receiving aid.
Officials who were part of the midnight headcount said Governor Zulum was open to providing support to residents in need of food but will not tolerate dubious practices.
Context: Borno State is at the epicentre of an insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east that has lasted for over a decade. It has one of the highest concentrations of IDP camps in the country.
Buhari ‘Normal’ After Covid Vaccine Shot
Hours after President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received the Covid vaccine jab, spokesman Garba Shehu said the President “felt normal and went about doing his job.”
“If there are side effects that follow, we will be open about that but so far there is nothing of a side effect, serious or mild on the President.,” Mr. Shehu said. “He is carrying on as normal.
“We hope this will help to send a strong message among the people, especially those grappling with hesitancy about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.”
Meanwhile, State Governors are expected to follow suit this week in receiving the vaccine.
Vaccine Finance: The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has insisted that the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) will bear the cost of transporting the vaccines to states from the nation’s capital.
CACOVID is a private sector-led organisation established to assist the Federal Government in combating the novel coronavirus.
There had been reports suggesting that the Ministry of Health, through the NPHCDA, had budgeted over N10 billion for vaccine transportation.
Obituary: A Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta has died. The senior judge, who was preparing for his retirement, would have turned 70 on March 30.
Kayode Fayemi: The Ekiti State Governor has condemned the killing of two farmers after a clash with herders in Isaba, Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
Aso Rock: The presidency has dismissed some media reports suggesting that a fire outbreak was recorded inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja. What happened, instead, was a bush fire close to the villa, spokesman Garba Shehu said.
Yemi Osinbajo: The Vice President turns 64 today. In a Sunday tribute, President Buhari described him as “a reliable and dedicated deputy.”
Immigration: The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has said plans are underway to address the huge backlog of visa applications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An extended interview with the ambassador, conducted by our Foreign Affairs correspondent, Amarachi Ubani, will air later today at 7:30pm (WAT).
Blackout: Ghana suffered a nationwide power cut on Sunday, the West African country’s electricity provider GRIDCo said, as it attempted to restore power.
Royal Rumble: Meghan Markle said she contemplated suicide after marrying into the UK royal family and raised allegations of racism in the monarchy during an explosive television interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Bishop of the Kaduna Catholic Diocese, Most Reverend Mathew Ndagoso, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the country’s security sector and protect the citizens from constant attacks by bandits and other criminal elements.
Bishop Ndagoso said this on Sunday during the one-year remembrance service of a student of the Good Shepherds Catholic Major Seminary in the state, Mike Nnadi who was killed by bandits.
He also criticised the president, saying he has failed woefully in protecting the lives and property of the citizens, contrary to his campaign promises to improve the security of the country.
According to the cleric, the daily abductions and killings of innocent people by bandits, and the inability of the Federal Government led by President Buhari to put an end to the attacks, clearly shows that the president cares less about the welfare of those he is leading.
He also added that the country is at the worse of insecurity under the present administration.
The catholic seminarian and some of his colleagues were abducted by bandits on January 10, 2020.
The gunmen had invaded the school at midnight, shot sporadically to scare students, and thereafter abducted four students from their hostels.
While three of the students were later released by the bandits some days after, the decomposed body of Mike Nnadi was found inside a bush at Kakau village along the Kaduna Kaduna-Abuja highway on February 2, 2020.
Although those behind Nnadi’s death were eventually arrested in April 2020, the Bishop of the Kaduna Diocese, Mathew Mathew Ndagoso, used the occasion to draw the attention of the authorities to the deteriorating security situation in the country.