Banditry: Police Bring Five Charges Against Ex-Katsina LG Caretaker Chairman

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria.

 

The police have brought at least five charges against the former Caretaker Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State, Haruna Musa Mota, who was arrested for allegedly aiding banditry in the state.

The charges which include among others, criminal breach of trust; inciting disturbance; aiding and abetment of armed robbery; kidnapping and terrorism, were presented at the Chief Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

Mota who is currently remanded at a Katsina Correctional Centre, had been arrested in connection with the recent abduction of 344 students of Government Science Secondary school, Kankara.

Read Also: Kankara Schoolboys Abduction: Those Who Doubt FG’s Resolve To Protect Nigerians Are Mischievous – Garba Shehu

In the First Information Report (FIR), the police alleged that “On the 30, January 2021 at about 08:00 hours as a member of Katsina state Fulani/farmers reconciliation committee entrusted with the mandate of negotiating between bandits/ kidnappers /armed robbers in Katsina State, you breached the trust by deliberately using your Samsung GSM Phone with MTN Number:08032981919 in calling one well known armed bandits commander residing in Zamfara forest, Zamfara State who masterminded the kidnapping of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, sometime in December 2020, instigating him with unverified information regarding the release of said students.

“As a result of this information to the commander of the armed bandits by you, he informed his gang who are now rising against the government and people of Katsina State, threatening to continue terrorizing them for the money to be released to them. All these are contrary to sections 298, 78 and 47 of the Penal Code Law of Katsina State, 2019.

Two police prosecutors on the case, namely ASP Isa Liti and ASP EM Garuba informed the court where Musa had been arraigned on Monday that investigation was still in progress on the case.

They requested a new date for the case to be mentioned and the presiding Chief Magistrate, Aminat Ibrahim, granted their request and adjourned the case till March 25, for mention.

She also directed that the Certified True Copy of the FIR be released to Mota’s counsel, Barrister Ahmed Dan Baba, as requested by him, directing that Mota be remanded at the correctional centre till March 25, when the case comes up before her for mention.

President Buhari Arrives In Daura For APC Membership Registration

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Katsina State to attend the ongoing All Progressives Congress Membership Registration in his hometown, Daura.

The Director-General on Media to the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Abdu Labaran confirmed this to Channels Television on Friday in a phone conversation.

The presidential jet conveying the president and his aide touched down at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Airport at about 4:55 pm with most reporters not allowed access by the security officers to the airport runway.

 

 

Read Also: Buhari Writes National Assembly, Seeks Confirmation Of Service Chiefs

On arrival, the president was received by the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, in company of his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Tasi’u Maigari and other senior government officials as well as heads of security agencies in the state.

Others at the airport to receive the number one citizen included members of the business and academic communities, religious and traditional leaders, among other dignitaries in the state.

This visit marks exactly 49 days since his last visit in December 2020 where over 300 schoolchildren of the Ƙankara Science Secondary School in the state were abducted.

Katsina Govt Inaugurates Welfare Committee To Cater For Families Affected By Bandits

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria.

 

The Katsina State Government has inaugurated an executive council committee for the improvement of the welfare of orphans and widows left behind by the victims of banditry across the 11 frontline LGAs of the state.

The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu and chairman of the committee, disclosed this on Tuesday, noting that the executive council had during its 6th regular meeting noted with concern the impact of the activities of bandits on the socio-economic well-being of the affected communities, particularly orphans and widows.

As a result, he said the council constituted the committee under his chairmanship to advise the government on how to improve the lives of those affected.

Other terms of reference of the committee include identifying orphans and widows in the affected LGAs and suggesting the kind of assistance to be provided to the victims by the government.

The rest include determining the source of financing for the project and co-opting any other individual that may assist in the conduct of the committee’s assignment.

The composition of the committee includes the Commissioners of Budget and Planning, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Special Duties and Women Affairs.

Other members are the Special Advisers on Community Development, Higher Education, Economic Empowerment and Social Intervention, as well as that of Political Matters among others.

The committee immediately swung into action after its inauguration.

Kankara Boys: Buhari’s Govt Will Continue To Work Hard At Protecting Nigerians – Osinbajo

Some of the freed boys at the State House in Katsina.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians following the release of hundreds of schoolboys kidnapped by bandits. 

“We are grateful to everyone who worked on securing their release,” the former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State tweeted on Friday.

“And as President Buhari mentioned, this administration will continue to work hard at protecting the lives and property of all Nigerians at all times.”

READ ALSO: I’m Impressed With Masari, Military But We Still Have A lot Of Work To Do – Buhari

Osinbajo was also thankful that the students had returned safely to be with their families, one week after they were abducted.

The schoolboys – numbering over three hundred- were kidnapped last Friday at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State, triggering wide condemnation.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap 19 People, Kill Clergyman In Niger State

President Buhari had in the wake of the development given a marching order to Nigeria’s security forces to go after the abductees, reiterating his commitment to the protection of lives and properties.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara,” the President said, as quoted in a statement released by spokesman Garba Shehu.

“Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured.”

READ ALSO: Why Bandits Kidnapped Over 300 Schoolboys In Katsina – Ƙankara Resident

However, barely one week after their kidnap, the students were released and met with Governor Aminu Masari at the State House in Katsina.

During the meeting, Masari equally assured them that they will be properly taken care of before being handed to their parents, one week after they were abducted by bandits in the north-western state.

‘We Ate Only Once In Two Days, Defecated In The Same Place We Slept’ – Kankara Schoolboys

 

The abducted Kankara schoolboys who have now regained their freedom, have narrated their ordeal in the hands of their abductors.

Speaking to Channels Television on Friday morning after the Governor, Aminu Masari, received them at the state House in Katsina,

‘We ate only once in two Days”, one of the boys told Channels Television. He also said he was not feeling well, adding that they really suffered while in the bush.

Another boy said they were made to defecate in the same place that they slept.

Read Also: Masari Receives Abducted Schoolboys, Assures Them Of Proper Care

The students were released on Thursday, nearly a week after they were kidnapped by gunmen.

“It’s been 7 days since this happened, but by God’s grace we’ve been able to retrieve the children from the bandits. All 344 of them,” Governor Masari said.

“Immediately we leave here, we will take them to them to where they will have a bath and change thier clothes. And then reunite then with their parents.

“The hospital staff are waiting for you to check every boy to make sure nothing is wrong and if there’s anything there strong they will tell the hospital personnel”.

Shortly after their release was reported, President Muhammadu Buhari described the safe return of the schoolboys as a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community.

He commended what he called the spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and military which led to the release of the students.

“I am very impressed with him, he has been up and doing since it happened,” the President stated in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Friday.

The President noted that law enforcement agencies, the military especially the Army, and the governor worked extremely hard.

When asked when other Nigerians who are in captivity will be released, he said his administration is trying his best to secure their release.

Masari Receives Abducted Schoolboys, Assures Them Of Proper Care

 

The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, has received the Kankara abducted schoolboys.

He received them at the State House on Friday morning, where he assured them that they will be properly taken care of before being handed to their parents.

The governor also assured them that they will each go through proper medical checks while adding that their education will also be taken care of.

Read Also: Hundreds Of Schoolboys Abducted In Katsina Released

“It’s been 7 days since this happened, but by God’s grace we’ve been able to retrieve the children from the bandits. All 344 of them,” Governor Masari said.

“Immediately we leave here, we will take them to them to where they will have a bath and change thier clothes. And then reunite then with their parents.

“The hospital staff are waiting for you to check every boy to make sure nothing is wrong and if there’s anything there strong they will tell the hospital personnel”.

The abduction occurred on the same day that President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.

The President had condemned the incident in a statement shortly after it happened and sent a delegation of the Federal Government comprising the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, and the service chiefs to Katsina to work with the state government in securing the release of the schoolboys.

In spite of his action, he came under fire for not visiting the community to see things for himself and to sympathise with the parents of the missing students.

He has, however, commended the governor for the efforts in securing their release.

According to him, law enforcement agencies, the military especially the Army, and the governor worked extremely hard.

When asked when other Nigerians who are in captivity will be released, said his administration is trying his best to equally secure their release.

Freed Kankara Schoolboys Arrive At Government House Katsina

A bus conveying the freed students.

 

Over three hundred students kidnapped by bandits and later released on Thursday have arrived at the Government House in Katsina on Friday. 

The students who were kept at Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State were kidnapped Friday last week.

Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State received the students and assured them that they would be taken care of.

The government did not give a specific figure of students released by their captors.

Shortly after their release was reported, President Muhammadu Buhari described the safe return of the schoolboys as a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community.

READ ALSO: Masari Receives Abducted Schoolboys, Assures Them Of Proper Care

He commended what he called the spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and military which led to the release of the students.

“The Governor (Masari) and the army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information, I congratulated them.

“The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

Katsina State is located in the north-west region of the country, but the Boko Haram terrorist group which has been operating in the North East for more than a decade claimed responsibility for the abduction.

The abduction of the students sparked an outrage with calls from various individuals and groups on the government to step up efforts towards securing the lives of the people.

It occurred at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.

 

Kankara School Abduction: CNG To Hold #BringBackOurBoys Protest In Daura

The main entrance of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

 

The Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) has planned to stage a protest using the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys to demand the return of abducted pupils of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State.

In a statement signed on Wednesday by CNG spokesperson, Abdulazeez Suleiman the group vowed that the protest will be indefinite until the students are rescued.

He said that the protest will kick off in Katsina, the state capital on Thursday and will then proceed to Daura to register their concerns with President Muhammadu Buhari who is in the town on a weeklong visit.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Unity Based On Ruthless Exploitation Of The Working People – Falana

He lamented that this group cannot keep silent anymore concerning the increasing insecurity in the North.

“It will be unreasonable to expect any northerner and well-meaning Nigerians to fold their arms and watch the North, a significant component of the country abandoned to the mercy of bandits and murderers and kidnappers,” Suleiman said.

He added that CNG Board of Trustees Chairman Nastura Ashir Shariff is already in touch with parents of the abducted pupils and assured them of support through this trying moment.

Other CNG members from Jigawa, Kano and Katsina are expected to join the protest.

Katsina Attack: Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Students’ Kidnap

A screenshot taken on December 14, 2020, shows a section of the Government Science Secondary School, Ƙankara, Katsina State, where Boko Haram insurgents abducted over 300 students.

 

Boko Haram on Tuesday claimed it was behind the abduction of hundreds of students in northwestern Nigeria, in what appears to be a major expansion of the jihadist group’s activities into new areas.

At least 333 students are still missing since the attack late Friday on the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in Katsina State — hundreds of kilometres (miles) from Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.

“I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina,” the leader of Boko Haram said in a voice message.

More than 100 gunmen on motorcycles stormed the rural school north of Kankara town, forcing students to flee and hide in the surrounding bush.

A number of boys were able to escape, but many were captured, split into groups and taken away, residents told AFP.

#BringBackOurBoys has been trending on social media since the weekend in reference to a similar hashtag used after Boko Haram abducted 276 girls in 2014 in Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria.

Read Also: Abductors Of Students Have Contacted Us, Masari Tells Buhari

The weekend attack was initially blamed on armed groups locally known as “bandits”, who are active in the unstable region where kidnappings for ransom are common.

The army has said it has located the hideout of the “bandits”, and that a military operation was under way.

The kidnappings occurred in the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the attack and ordered security stepped up in schools. In Katsina, all schools were closed shortly after the incident.

Tuesday’s claim of responsibility marks a major turning point in the advance of jihadist groups in northwest Nigeria.

Boko Haram, and a splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), are waging an insurgency in the northeast and are thought to have only a minor presence in the northwest.

But concerns have grown of jihadist inroads into the region, especially after fighters claiming to be in the northwest released a propaganda video pledging allegiance to Abubakar Shekau earlier this year.

‘Hit Me Repeatedly’

 

Buhari has made the fight against Boko Haram a priority of his adminstration, but the security situation in the country and especially in the north, has deteriorated since his 2015 election.

Angry residents heckled the Katsina State governor during a visit to the area on Saturday, while protesters greeted a government delegation led by Defence Minister Bashir Salihi-Magashi on Sunday.

Osama Aminu Maale was one of the students who escaped the abductors and returned to his parents.

“There were a total of 520 of us that were taken by the gunmen from the school,” the 18-year-old student told AFP by telephone at the weekend.

“After they took us away we stopped inside the bus where they made the older students take a headcount. We counted 520,” he said.

The hostages were split into groups before Maale and four others escaped.

“One of the gunmen hit me repeatedly when I failed to keep up with the rest of the group due to my failing health before he let me trail behind, giving me the chance to escape,” he said.

The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 in the northeast before spreading to neighbours including Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Since then, more than 36,000 people have been killed in Nigeria and two million forced to flee their homes, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the region.

A regional military coalition has been formed to fight the insurgents.

17 Katsina Schoolboys Escape From Captivity – Masari

 

Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari has disclosed that 17 of the missing schoolboys kidnapped from a Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Kankara Local Government Area of the state have escaped from captivity.

Governor Masari who disclosed this in an interview on Monday evening said the schoolboys were found and have been reunited with their families.

He added that efforts have been intensified to rescue the remaining schoolboys still in captivity, safely.

READ ALSO: Katsina Attack: Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Students’ Kidnap

“As at today (Monday), information available to me shows that 17 of the missing children have been found. 15 of them were found around Dinya in Danmusa, I was informed by the DPO. One other was found through them and the last, the father called that his son has returned home.

“All these missing children who have been found have been reunited with their families since we have shut down the schools,” Masari said.

He said that the victims escaped unconditionally and one of the abducted children’s father, who is also a teacher at the school was contacted by the captors who warned that security forces should stop using helicopters around their hideouts.

“I was told that they spoke with a teacher whose son was also kidnapped that the bandits said the helicopter should stop roving and that they will collect ransom but they didn’t specify. And so they ended the call.

“Majority of the missing children are in the forest in Zamfara. But God willing, the children will be returned safely,” the governor added.

He said that the bandits however ordered that adequate money should be earmarked and budgeted by those concerned pending the completion of the ongoing rescue mission.

The governor, therefore, solicited prayers and urged the parents to remain calm and patient as “we are doing everything possible to rescue the children.”

 

—-‘Still Counting’—-

On Friday evening, gunmen attacked Government Science Secondary School in the Kankara council area of the north-west state, kidnapping scores of students.

Police authorities said they received a report of the attack around 11:30 pm and were told the bandits were armed with AK-47 rifles.

Initially, there were conflicting figures as to the number of students abducted during the attack but two days after the incident – Sunday – Governor Masari confirmed that 333 schoolchildren were missing from the school.

“We are still counting because more are coming out from the forest and we are calling through the numbers those parents that have phone numbers to find out whether or not their children have gone back home,” he said when he received a federal government delegation led by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.

READ ALSO: Why Bandits Kidnapped Over 300 Schoolboys In Katsina – Ƙankara Resident

The attack prompted the Katsina State Government to order the closure of all boarding schools in the state, a move aimed at forestalling similar occurrence.

Masari also on Monday told President Muhammadu Buhari that the abductors have contacted the state government.

He explained that security agencies had located the position of the children and expressed optimism that based on efforts made so far, “the outlook is positive.”

 

Katsina Attack: Defense Spokesman Says One Student Has Escaped From Abductors

A screenshot taken on December 14, 2020, shows a classroom block at the Government Science Secondary School, Ƙankara, Katsina State.

 

One of the schoolchildren kidnapped by bandits in Kankara, Katsina State has escaped from the abductors. 

“Out of that 333, before I came into the studio, one escaped out of wherever they kept them,” the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday.

He also confirmed that three hundred and thirty-three students were missing following the attack on Government Science Secondary School on Friday night.

VIDEO: Customs Seize 73 Locally Made Guns, 891 Cartridges In Kebbi

“The principal reported that he had 839 in the boarding house; and as at the time they were abducted, shortly after that, some came back and it was about five hundred plus that did not return,” he noted, corroborating the figure earlier released by the Katsina State Government.

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari welcomes FG delegation on December 13, 2020.

 

Enenche who said the kidnappers ferried the student away from the school via motorcycles, explained that security agencies are working to ensure the students are rescued alive.

A resident of Kankara claims the incident is a reprisal attack.

“There is something people are yet to know; before the recent abduction of Ƙankara Secondary School students, the bandits had on Wednesday attacked ‘Yar-Kuka village and killed 12 people and abducted an unspecified number of people in the village.

“On Thursday, vigilante group mobilised and went after the bandits in their hideouts and engaged in burning down the Fulani houses, injuring and killing some of them,” the resident said.

On Friday evening, gunmen attacked Government Science Secondary School in the Kankara council area of the north-west state, kidnapping scores of students.

VIDEO: The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, says all the schoolboys will return home in the next few hours.

 

The incident has continued to draw condemnation from several quarters with the UN calling for the unconditional release of the students.

“The Secretary-General calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted children and for their safe return to their families. He reiterates that attacks on schools and other educational facilities constitute a grave violation of human rights. He urges the Nigerian authorities to bring those responsible for this act to justice,” the organisation said in a statement on Monday.

 

How Bandits Moved Kidnapped Katsina Schoolchildren -DHQ

File photo: The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, John Enenche.

 

The Nigerian Army on Monday gave more insight on the abduction of schoolchildren in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.  

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche explained that the bandits moved the abducted students from their hostels via motorcycles.

“They were moved on the motorcycles they (gunmen) brought and after a short distance, some of them continued with the motorcycles, others dismounted,” Major General Enenche explained on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

According to him, “That is their usual characteristics – those abductors. It is the same system; the same approach they used. There was no evidence, no information about them using other modes of transport.”

Enenche also corroborated the figure earlier given by Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State on the number of students missing following the attack which took place on Friday night.

“As at 2 pm yesterday (Sunday), the students that could not be accounted for reduced to 333,” he added.  “Out of that 333, before I came into the studio, one escaped out of wherever they kept them.”

—Contact Established—

As efforts to rescue the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in the north-western state intensify, Governor Masari on Monday said the abductors had contacted them.

“The Governor, who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor of the state, Manir Yakubu, said the kidnappers had made contact and discussions were already on pertaining to safety and return to their homes,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu said in a statement after Masari’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura.

Masari, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, expressed optimism that with the efforts put so far, “the outlook is positive.”

The 70-year-old stated that it was only appropriate to visit the president and give him more details of rescue efforts.

—Counting Ongoing—

On Friday evening, gunmen attacked Government Science Secondary School in the Kankara council area of the state, kidnapping scores of students.

Initially, there were conflicting figures as to the number of students abducted during the attack but two days after the incident – Sunday – Governor Masari confirmed that three hundred and three schoolchildren were missing from the school.

“We are still counting because more are coming out from the forest and we are calling through the numbers those parents that have phone numbers to find out whether or not their children have gone back home,” he said when he received a federal government delegation led by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.