North East Governors Raise Alarm Over Worrisome Trend Of Kidnapping

A file photo of members of the North East Governors’ Forum in Bauchi State.

 

Members of the North East Governors’ Forum have raised alarm over the new trend of kidnapping in the region which they described as worrisome.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and Chairman of the forum stated this on Friday in his opening address at the meeting of the governors held at the Government House in Gombe.

“Since its establishment two years ago here in Gombe, the forum has become a formidable avenue for social cohesion and a rallying point for us in the North East to collectively discuss and identify our common challenges and proffer pragmatic and viable ways and means of addressing these challenges,” he said.

“As we have comprehensively articulated in our earlier meetings, the most prominent of these daunting challenges include insecurity – largely characterised by the Boko Haram insurgency, the issue of banditry and kidnapping which unfortunately is assuming a worrisome dimension, cattle rustling and other forms of criminality, as well as endemic socio-economic issues like youth restiveness, massive unemployment, and extreme poverty, among others.”

According to the Borno governor, the Boko Haram trend is gradually fizzling away due to some deliberate steps informed by credible intelligence that some of the fighters are contemplating repentance and surrender

He explained that the governors took advantage of the death of the terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shakau, to adopt a non-kinetic policy of ending the insurgency by encouraging and incentivising remorseful fighters.

The governor stated that while the non-kinetic approach was successful and led to the surrendering of thousands of terrorists, there was a need to take the fight to the unrepentant ones.

He regretted that the people of the region have just begun to heave a sigh of relief after the more than a decade-long insurgency, just for kidnapping to become the new choice of business for criminals.

“There is a compelling need for us to take a more critical look at the emergent issue of kidnapping, which has become a crime of choice for criminals, and is becoming rampant and widespread,” said Zulum.

“It is, therefore, a matter of strategic necessity to essentialise the issue of kidnapping and come up with implementable measures to deal with this element of criminality before it is too late. In this respect, we will obviously be guided by our respective attorneys-general, who should initiate the appropriate legal framework to deal with the problem.”

The North East region is made up of six states namely Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.

Read the full text of the governor’s address at the meeting below:

Protocols:

It has been a matter of profound delight and considerable pleasure for me to welcome Your Excellencies and other distinguished guests to yet another meeting of the North East Governors’ Forum.

Since its establishment two years ago here in Gombe, the forum has become a formidable avenue for social cohesion and a rallying point for us in the North East to collectively discuss and identify our common challenges and proffer pragmatic and viable ways and means of addressing these challenges.

As we have comprehensively articulated in our earlier meetings, the most prominent of these daunting challenges include insecurity – largely characterised by the Boko Haram insurgency, the issue of banditry and kidnapping which unfortunately is assuming a worrisome dimension, cattle rustling, and other forms of criminality, as well as endemic socio-economic issues like youth restiveness, massive unemployment, and extreme poverty, among others.

Equally, we have been able to classify and analyse the best possible ways of dealing with the challenges in both the short- and long-term measures. As we have noted time and again, the concomitant effects of insecurity in the North East region are widespread and pervasive.

In general, the scale of insecurity in the region has displaced hundreds of thousands of our people and adversely affected their socioeconomic live wire, thereby subjecting them to a life of extreme poverty and deprivation. However, since the inception of the forum, we have been able to considerably minimise the level of hardship and sufferance being felt by the people through the dynamic interplay of the various measures we have taken, individually and collectively, to address the issues.

The Boko Haram phenomenon, for instance, has been gradually fizzling away – both in scope and intensity, as a result of some deliberate steps we have taken to that effect. These steps were largely informed by credible intelligence we had received that some Boko Haram members were contemplating repentance and surrender, following the death of their leader, Abubakar Shakau.

We capitalised on this intelligence and immediately set in motion a non-kinetic policy of ending the insurgency by encouraging and incentivising those willing and ready to surrender. Our non-kinetic approach was so successful that from the initial few insurgents who surrendered, the number of those willing to surrender began to increase exponentially.

Today, we have hundreds of repentant Boko Haram members who are surrendering on a daily basis. So, as it is being widely reported, Boko Haram insurgents have been surprisingly coming out of their enclaves and war trenches in droves and willingly surrendering themselves to the authorities.

The situation is as overwhelming in its scope as it is extremely gratifying in its impact. This is the first time, since the deadly insurgency began, that Boko Haram insurgents are, freely and spontaneously, laying down their arms and giving up the fight, which from all indications, appears to be the beginning of the end of the insurgency.

We have already taken various strategic measures to encourage all of them to do so. So far, we have been camping thousands of them in Maiduguri, Bama, and Gwoza, among other places. In all, we have close to a hundred thousand repentant Boko Haram members in the camps.

The Borno State Government is currently considering various alternative ways of effectively reintegrating these repentant insurgents in their respective communities or any other convenient place, without unnecessarily triggering old fears and stoking embers of vengeance from among the people, who obviously had, at one time or another, been the victims of the Boko Haram atrocities.

Furthermore, as the Federal Government is in the process of formulating a national policy on the reintegration of such category of people, the state government is also considering the option of organising an international conference, in collaboration with the Federal Government and the United Nations to deliberate on universally acceptable ways of addressing the issue.

Generally, however, we will continue to express our profound gratitude to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari for his wilful resolve and unquestionable determination to end the insurgency.

We also commend the military and other security agencies for their undeniable sacrifice and relentless efforts to deal with all forms of insecurity in the North East. We would continue to provide all the necessary assistance to them, in form of logistics and other essential requirements they may need.

Even as some of the insurgents are gradually repenting and giving up the fight, there are however thousands of belligerent remnants of the terrorists who are ferociously intent on carrying out their criminal activities with deadly determination.

So, it is strategically imperative for us to renew our resolve to end the insurgency in its totality, in order to rekindle the hopes and confidence of the public and at the same time achieve our collective desire to restore sustainable peace and security in the North East.

As we know, there are some sporadic attacks on soft targets and innocent civilians being perpetrated by some Boko Haram elements, especially in Borno State. It is, therefore, vitally important for us to review our tactical strategies and methods of dealing with the situation and devise more pragmatic and viable procedures of addressing the current security challenges and averting future potential threats.

So our security forces need to consider the kinetic approach and go on the offensive in order to completely root out the belligerent ones. As we are now set to deliberate on matters of common interests and shared responsibilities, there is a compelling need for us to take a more critical look at the emergent issue of kidnapping, which has become a crime of choice for criminals and is becoming rampant and widespread.

It is, therefore, a matter of strategic necessity to essentialise the issue of kidnapping and come up with implementable measures to deal with this element of criminality before it is too late. In this respect, we will obviously be guided by our respective Attorneys-General, who should initiate the appropriate legal framework to deal with the problem.

In addition to this and other issues of insecurity, we should also specifically focus on youth restiveness, massive unemployment, and extreme poverty, by looking at various options of engaging the youths, in a gainful and rewarding way as well as collectively harnessing our vast resources for socio-economic viability and sustainable growth and development of the region.

So far, the forum has been able to positively engage critical stakeholders like the North East Development Commission, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, the Arewa Research and Development Project, as well as various agencies of the United Nations, in our determined efforts to address the multifarious challenges of the North East.

We have also been able to draw the attention of these stakeholders to the strategic imperative of resuscitating the dilapidated conditions of our infrastructure like the network of roads, especially those linking our various states, in order to facilitate inter-state commercial activities and enhance agricultural production.

In this respect, the forum and the major stakeholders, such as the North East Development Commission, are now operating on the same page, as the projects and programmes being executed by the commission, within the framework of its statutory mandate, are in tandem with our aspirations.

The commission has already launched its strategic development plan for the North East, which is a comprehensive and well-articulated development framework that seeks to address infrastructure deficit and other developmental issues facing the region.

At this juncture, I need to, however, make a passionate appeal to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to incorporate into the 2023 Budget of the Federal Government the reconstruction and rehabilitation of many federal roads in the North East region, which have been in deplorable condition for years.

Although the level of insecurity in the region then was a tenable reason for delaying the reconstruction of the roads, the security situation now has improved tremendously. As it is now, the North East has the least Federal budget allocation for roads construction and it is fair and reasonable for the Federal Government to inject the needed funds for the construction and reconstruction of federal roads within the region.

So, on behalf of my colleagues, I am calling on the National Assembly, particularly the Senators and Representatives from the North East zone to, as a matter of urgent priority, include the repairs and construction of a network of Federal roads within the zone in next year’s budget, in order to achieve some semblance of parity with other zones of the country.

The Forum has so far been concentrating on efforts to prioritise and develop our vast natural resources and other economic potentials to strengthen our financial independence and ensure less dependence on statutory allocations from the Federation Accounts.

Considerable progress has been made in this regard. The Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project, for instance, is set to commence as soon as some legal and administrative encumbrances are cleared.

Our decision to float a commercial airline, known as the North East Regional Air Shuttle Limited, for the region is also coming to fruition as soon as a number of financial and technical requirements are met.

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, as I have indicated in our previous meetings, the challenges we are facing are daunting but not insurmountable. What is required is our collective resolve and unwavering determination to achieve our pre-set goals and objectives.

It is on this note that I once again welcome Your Excellencies to this session of the North East Governors’ Forum.

Thank you and God bless.

Police Operatives Rescue Three Kidnap Victims In Kaduna, Recover Firearms, Ammunitions

 

Police operatives in Kaduna State have rescued three people who were kidnapped by bandits in Ikara Local Government Area of the state.

The operatives also recovered firearms and Ammunitions as well as vehicles and motorcycles used by the bandits for their operations.

In a statement by the spokesman for the Kaduna state police command, DSP Mohammed Jalige, one of the rescued victims , Yusuf Abdullahi Abubakar of Dorayi village in Kano State was kidnapped on September 4th, at Barde village in Ikara local government area of Kaduna State, after which the abductors demanded for the sum of fifty million naira ransom.


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The victim was later rescued by a police patrol team on September 9th, along Ikara- Tashan Yari road after the police operatives intercepted bandits in a motorcycle conveying the three persons .

During the process, the security personnel promptly caught up with the motorcyclists after which two of the riders on sensing police pursuit jumped off the motorcycle and fled into the bush, while the remaining passenger was later discovered to be the Yusuf Abdullahi Abubakar, the kidnapped victim.

The police upon searching the motorcycle recovered a concealed AK47 rifle loaded with ten (10) rounds of live 7.62 X 39mm ammunitions.

In a related operation on the same 9th September, 2022 , officers of Hunkuyi Division while on aggressive patrol along Zaria – Kano expressway, rescued two women who were kidnapped by bandits who were also kidnapped from Kano state and taken to Kaduna.

The police had intercepted a suspicious Ford Mini Bus with Reg No. ZAR 532 XR belonging to the bandits, and the occupants rather than heed the police order to halt for search, engaged the Operatives in a gun duel.

Authorities of the force say the operatives responded gallantly and in the ensuing melee, the hoodlums fled with varying bullet wounds leaving behind two female occupants of the vehicle who were rescued.

Upon search of the vehicle an AK47 Magazine loaded with thirty (30) rounds of live 7.62 × 39mm ammunition were recovered.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the two female occupants, identified as Hafiza Haruna and Amina Haruna are the wives of one Alhaji Haruna of Kwanan Dangora, Kano State who were earlier kidnapped by the hoodlums.

Kidnapping, The Industry Bringing Nigeria To Its Knees

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

It was past midnight when a dozen men armed with AK47s stormed into Mohammed’s home just outside Nigeria’s capital Abuja to kidnap the truck driver and his wife.

After being held hostage in a tiny cave deep in a forest for three days, the couple were released when a relative paid the gunmen 600,000 naira (about $1,400).

For the criminals called “bandits” by Nigerians, it was quick and easy money, but for Mohammed, who asked not be identified by his real name, the trauma lives on.

Kidnappings are not new in Africa’s most populous country, where Boko Haram jihadists made worldwide headlines in 2014 when they abducted 276 schoolgirls in the north-eastern town of Chibok.


READ ALSO: Zamfara Security: 43 Victims Freed After Days In Kidnappers Den


But hostage-taking has since snowballed into an industry now largely led by criminals, with authorities seemingly powerless to stop them.

The phenomenon, along with general insecurity, will be major issues in Nigeria’s elections in February 2023 to replace President Muhammadu Buhari.

At least five times more people were kidnapped in Nigeria last year than in both Mexico and Colombia combined — countries notorious for abductions — according to estimates from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

Families and entire communities who pool their savings to pay ransoms are being destroyed, with many hostages afraid or ashamed of reporting their ordeals.

Businesses too are affected, with many spending fortunes to protect their assets.

500 a month kidnapped

Data on kidnapping is notoriously unreliable because of under reporting, but ACLED estimates almost 3,000 people were taken last year.

A senior Western diplomatic source who tracks kidnappings in Nigeria told AFP the real figure could be more than double that, with an average of 500 people a month taken.

Nigeria’s security services, known as the DSS, denied there was a “kidnapping epidemic”.

It “has spread because insurgency has spread”, DSS spokesman Peter Afunanya told AFP, blaming insecurity on the proliferation of foreign weapons and the spread of jihadists outside of their enclaves in the northeast.

Analysts in Nigeria have documented instances of cooperation between bandits and jihadists, but so far have described the links as minor.

One reason for the dramatic rise is a series of mass kidnappings with hundreds of people taken at a time. In one in late 2020, more than 300 boys were taken by bandits from a school in Katsina state.

They were released after a week, but the shocking case was a turning point for many, with some deciding to stop sending their children to school.

Police and other security agencies have deployed anti-kidnap units, but the forested areas where gangs hide are difficult to access let alone control.

The northwest, the most affected region, consists of seven states and is almost the size of the UK.

The authorities say they have tried alternative methods to curb kidnapping, such as registering mobile phone SIM cards to better track their owners.

Lawmakers have also passed a bill criminalising payments to kidnappers, but observers say enforcement will be impossible.

Of the handful of kidnappers who are arrested, most end up in a clogged judicial system where investigations are rarely completed.

And so, every day, gangs “rustle human beings, and nobody cares,” said Murtala Rufa’i, a professor at northern Nigeria’s Usmanu Danfodiyo University, who has studied banditry and lives in the northwest.

‘No rehabilitation’

Former bandit Musa, who asked not to be identified by his real name, said he joined a gang after losing all his cows to rustlers.

“Nobody forced me but when you have nothing… you find yourself hopeless, you end up joining them,” said the 43-year-old from Zamfara state.

For four years, he helped launch reprisal attacks against the cattle rustlers but the violence escalated and he eventually decided to leave the gang.

“For us nothing justifies crime, but for them, it’s just tit for tat,” Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, a prominent Muslim cleric told AFP in an interview in late 2021.

Gumi has long argued that some of the bandits — like Musa — are driven at first by a sense of injustice, after losing relatives and belongings in old inter-communal conflicts.

For him, a “Marshall plan” for bandits rather than more security could help solve the crisis.

“Bandits have been surrendering and giving up their weapons but… there’s no rehabilitation, no school, no nothing, so they go back, because a man cannot be idle,” he said. “The real bandits are the political class.”

Those who can afford it have stopped using roads and trains and travel only by air, creating a vicious cycle where parts of the country are abandoned to bandits who prey on poorer rural communities.

Many end up selling their homes, belongings or land to pay for ransoms, which for an average Nigerian farmer can be anywhere “between 200,000 naira and up to two million ($4,700),” said security analyst Kabir Adamu of Beacon Consulting.

And it’s not just cash they need to find — sometimes kidnappers also demand food, smartphones, motorbikes or even sunglasses.

When kidnappers target higher status victims such as priests or politicians and their relatives, the ransoms tend to be a lot higher.

In a daring case earlier this year, gunmen kidnapped 72 passengers from a train from the capital Abuja, many of them well-off.

“As of the end of July, 37 hostages had been released for various sums starting from 100 million ($230,000) per abductee,” according to a report by consultancy firm SBM Intelligence.

Abandoned farms

The problem is also worsening food insecurity in the country where already more than 80 million live below the poverty line.

“People don’t go to their farms because of the fear of abduction… The rural economy has been grounded completely,” said professor Rufa’i.

Many rural communities are ruined by repeated ransom payments, or because they decide instead to pay “taxes” to bandits for a promise of protection.

In one case among many, a resident of Yankara village in Katsina state said they had paid bandits 700,000 naira ($1,700) to leave their farms alone, but then another gang attacked them.

In some instances, farms and villages are being abandoned entirely.

“There are areas where 70 percent of the people have been displaced or are unable to farm. This disrupts supply chains, even in (the capital) Abuja,” said Adamu.

Companies in Africa’s largest economy are also affected.

The kidnap threat “is a nightmare”, an executive with two decades of experience in the country told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The impact on business is huge… because of the cost of securing our assets,” he said. “I have some projects guarded by 30 soldiers at night.”

The Nigerian security services said they were “in a hurry to see” kidnapping tackled, in part because insecurity drives away investors.

“The DSS is concerned about the menace of kidnapping and is very committed in stamping it out,” Afunya told AFP.

People should stop seeing “kidnapping as a way of life or as a means of survival,” he added.

But when more than seven out of 10 Nigerians are under 30 and official youth unemployment stands at 42 percent, some become desperate to make money.

And as “the level of poverty and unemployment is on the increase,” Rufa’i said “the possibility of more people joining the kidnappers is very clear.”

AFP/Louise Dewast

Ogun Police Nab Three Suspected Kidnappers, Rescue Victims 

A police officer hold bunch of handcuffs at SARS headqurters in Abuja on October 3rd, 2020 PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The Ogun State Police Command said its operatives have arrested three suspected kidnappers at a forest along the Imeko-Iwoye Ketu Road and rescued three victims unhurt during the operations.

The incident occurred on August 29, 2022, according to a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi.

“The suspects, Aliu Abubakar 29 yrs, Umaru Tukur 24 years and Yau Isah 25 years, were arrested following a distress call received by policemen at Imeko divisional headquarters that, kidnappers numbering about 8, armed with dangerous weapons blocked Termac/Iwoye road and shooting sporadically,” he said.

According to him, further information revealed that the hoodlums had injured two persons while three others were kidnapped by the suspects

“Upon the receipt of the distress call, the Divisional Police Officer, Imeko division, mobilized his men in conjunction with men of Amotekun corps, So safe corps, Hunters, Vigilantes as well as Fulani/Yoruba youths and stormed the forest in search of the victims and their abductors,” the statement added.

The police spokesman also said that due to the intense pressure, the kidnappers abandoned their victims and took to flight leaving an unregistered Bajaj motorcycle behind at their hideout in the forest.

The victims were rescued unhurt, while the security operatives continued combing the bush which led to the discovery of the three amongst the suspects where they were hiding in the forest.

Items recovered from them include a motorcycle key and three cutlasses.

The Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, has ordered the immediate transfer of the suspects to anti kidnapping section of the state Criminal investigation Departments for discreet investigation.

Police IRT Operatives Arrest Informants To Notorious Bandit Leader In Katsina

 

Operatives of the police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have arrested three suspected informants to a notorious bandits’ leader, Sani Tukur, also known as Abacha in Katsina State.

The three are said to be part of a deadly kidnap for ransom syndicate who kidnapped the wife and two children of a serving lawmaker Hon. Dr Ibrahim Aminu in Katsina.

The suspects Muttaka Ibrahim, Suleiman Rabiu and Surajo were apprehended following intelligence reports on the activities of the deadly criminal gangs by IRT operatives attached to the Operation Restore Hope of the Force in Yankwani village and Kurani town.


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According to a statement from the office of the IRT Commander, dcp olatunji Disu, the team swung into action swiftly and arrested the suspects in their various hideouts within Bakori Local Government Area.

During investigation, the trio confessed to have served as informants to Sanni Tukur who is terrorising innocent citizens in villages and towns around Katsina and Zamfara states.

They also confessed to have facilitated the kidnap of six other persons in addition to the family members of the lawmaker.

Other victims of the syndicates criminal gang include Buhari Usman, also know as Fedeco, Nazaradeen Ibrahim, Amandallah Ahmad, Ibrahim Suleiman, Sumayya Nura and Yahaya Bura who are currently in the captivity of the gang.

Confessing further, the suspects disclosed that after kidnapping the family of the lawmaker, they demanded for and received a total sum of twenty-one million naira.

Muttaka Ibrahim, the chief informant admitted that he got a payment of one hundred and thirty thousand naira (N130,000) from the gang leader adding that one Yusuf Bala of Zaria is his accomplice.

He also admitted that the bandit leader collected a total of six million five hundred thousand naira from the other victims they kidnaped at Yankwani town.

Narrating his ordeal, the lawmaker told police investigators that he paid a total sum of thirty seven million and five hundred thousand naira to the gang leader to secure his family member’s release from captivity.

Authorities of the force say all the suspect are still undergoing investigation by the police and would be charged to court soon.

Police spokesman, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi in a statement on Monday assured residents of the terrorized communities and all Nigerians, that all the suspects are going to be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the nation.

Ondo Govt Places N50,000 Bounty On Kidnappers

FAAC
Naira notes used to illustrate the story.

 

As part of measures aimed at improving security, the Ondo State Government has placed fifty thousand naira (N50, 000) as a reward for anyone who exposes or reports incidents leading to the arrest of kidnappers or other criminals in the state.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, stated this on Wednesday after the weekly state executive council meeting in Akure.

According to her, the development was to further encourage citizens to give useful and timely information about criminal activities in any part of the state.

READ ALSO: Two Kidnappers Killed, Others Escape With Bullet Wounds In Kogi

“From now on, anyone who reports a crime and we follow the trail, and it leads to a successful prosecution of the criminal, that person will be offered a reward of fifty thousand naira,” she said in Akure.

“We want people in Ondo state to say something when they see something. We want our people to be proactive in the area of security to rid Ondo State of criminals, bandits, and terrorists”

“The toll-free line is 0800-555-5555. Anybody can call to give security tips and report any criminal activities in his or her area,” the commissioner added.

She appealed to the public to give timely reportage of criminal activities, assuring that the government would protect anybody who does so.

Bandits Kidnap Nine From Niger Village, Police Rescue Four

Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.
Map of Niger State, North-Central Nigeria

 

Bandits attacked a village in Munya Local Government of Niger State on Saturday, abducting up to nine people in the process.

The bandits attacked the village in the early hours of the morning, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, Niger Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun.

He said the police were, however, on the trail of the attackers and swung into action after being alerted about the attack.

“At about 05:20 hours, armed bandits attacked Kuti Village, via Sarkin Pawa in Munya Local Government Area where about nine persons were abducted,” he said at a press briefing in Minna, the Niger State capital on Saturday.

“Meanwhile, the police tactical team supported by vigilante members were drafted to this area and as a result of the sustained pressure, four victims were rescued unhurt while the teams are still on the trail of the hoodlums to rescue the remaining victims.”

The police urged the people to keep providing information and tips to aid operatives in effectively carrying out their duties.

“The Commissioner of Police, Niger State Command, CP Bala Kuryas, commended Nigerlites for giving such useful intelligence for proactiveness in ensuring the protection of life and property while urging them to sustain these efforts as security is a collective responsibility,” Abiodun said.

During the briefing, the police paraded some suspects including a 40-year-old man believed to be a kidnap kingpin.

The man, identified as Bashiru Abdullahi, was arrested in Kontagora Local Government Area of the state.

Abiodun said he was arrested around 4:30 pm on July 14 by the police tactical team attached to the Minna Area command while trying “to recruit armed men needed to perpetrate his usual kidnapping escapades”.

During interrogation, the suspect confessed to his involvement in the kidnapping and that he was planning to kidnap a former local government chairman for N10m.

The police PRO said Abdullahi “claimed that the former chairman owed him about N5.8 million and that if the former chairman was kidnapped, he intended to collect N10 million as ransom from him.

“He further confessed that part of his plan was to equally kidnap the father of the former Commissioner whom he owes about one million, three hundred thousand naira (N1,300,000) from a business transaction between them while he was expecting to get fifteen million naira ransom from the plan.”

Police Arrest Suspected Kidnap Kingpin, Others In Niger


 

A suspected kidnap kingpin and killer has been arrested by the police in Niger State.

Public Relations Officer of the Police Command In Niger, Wasiu Abiodun, said the man, identified as Bashiru Abdullahi, was arrested in Kontagora Local Government Area of the state.

He was arrested around 4:30 pm on July 14 by the police tactical team attached to the Minna Area command while trying “to recruit armed men needed to perpetrate his usual kidnapping escapades”, the police said.

In a statement on Saturday, Abiodun said the 40-year-old suspect is a native of Bangi town, which is the headquarters of Mariga LGA.

During interrogation, the suspect confessed to his involvement in the kidnapping and that he was planning to kidnap a former local government chairman for N10m, according to the statement.

The statement said he “claimed that the former chairman owed him about N5.8 million and that if the former chairman was kidnapped, he intended to collect N10 million as ransom from him.

“He further confessed that part of his plan was to equally kidnap the father of the former Commissioner whom he owes about one million, three hundred thousand naira (N1,300,000) from a business transaction between them while he was expecting to get fifteen million naira ransom from the plan.”

According to the police, further investigation revealed that sometime in March 2022, Bashiru is suspected to have murdered his younger brother, identified as Alhaji Mamuda Abdullahi aged 35 of Bangi.

“When he was interrogated, he confessed to the act (saying) that he contributed money with his brother to the tune of seventy-nine million naira (N79 million) for a business purpose, but he suspected that his brother swindled him and he hit him with a stick on the head which resulted in his death,” the police said.

“However, he told the family members that his brother was attacked and killed by bandits at Beri.”

The police believe the suspect is involved in other criminal acts and an investigation is ongoing to determine that and arrest other suspected members of his gang.

In a separate operation, the police in Niger arrested two suspects for criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, and robbery.

The police PRO identified the suspects as Mohamed Ndako and Mohammed Aliyu, both from Emitachigi Village in Katcha Local Government. Both men are based in the Gurara area of the Niger State capital, Minna.

According to him, the police operatives trailed the suspects to Paiko and arrested them when they were in the process of disposing of a stolen motorcycle.

He said, “During interrogation, Mohammed Aliyu confessed that on 13/07/2022 at about 2030hrs, he was at Gurara junction where he boarded a motorcycle to convey him to Gurara area and on reaching a point within the area, the suspect hit the motorcyclist who is by name Garba Aliyu ‘m’ of Barikichi area, Minna with a hammer on the head and fell unconscious.

“The suspect went away with the victim’s motorcycle and later joined Mohammed Ndako in his residence within the area, while both of them took the motorcycle to Paiko for sale, where they were apprehended.

“The two suspects confessed further to have conspired and stole a motorcycle at Bida within last year (2021) and the motorcycle was sold at the rate of forty thousand naira (N40,000) to a yet-to-be-identified person at Paiko.

“Two motorcycles were recovered from the suspects, one belonging to the deceased while the suspect Mohammed Aliyu claimed that the other motorcycle belonged to his brother.”

The suspects will be prosecuted after the completion of the investigation.

Police Neutralise Four Bandits, Arrest Female Accomplice In Kaduna

 

Police operatives in Kaduna State have neutralised four Bandits who have been terrorising residents of Saminaka in Lere Local Government Area of the state.

The operatives also recovered an AK47 and Ak49 Rifles loaded with live ammunition and an operational vehicle used by the bandits to carry out their nefarious activities.

According to the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Mohammed Jalige, the operatives of the Special Tactical Squad Force Headquarters, Abuja (STS) in conjunction with Operation Yaki Kaduna had while on the trail of suspected armed bandits intercepted their target along Saminaka – Jos expressway.

They were intercepted in a Sharon vehicle blue in color driven by one 31 year James Dawi of Vom town , Jos South LGA Plateau State.


READ ALSO: Troops Kill 47 Boko Haram Terrorists, Rescue Chibok Girl – DHQ


The police spokesman further disclosed that the suspected bandits on sensing an unavoidable danger posed on their way to deliver some dangerous weapons to their cohorts, immediately engaged the operatives in a gun battle.

However, the operatives with tactical precision were able to terminally injure four of the bandits, who were later pronounced dead by a medical Doctor at a hospital where they were taken to.

The encounter lasted for about 30 minutes as the fire power of the police forced the gunmen to retreat into the forest with bullet wounds.

An Ak49 rifle and AK47 Rifles loaded with live ammunitions, one empty magazine, one hundred and thirty four rounds of different calibers of live ammunition and an operational motor vehicle were recovered from the bandits, while a female accomplice was also arrested by the operatives during the encounter.

The police spokesman said that the female accomplice had during the course of investigation confessed to supplying arms and ammunition to bandits within Kaduna State.

He, however, said that discreet investigation into the case has been instituted with a view to unravelling the identities of other criminal gangs as well as finding the source of the dangerous weapons in order to avert future occurrences.

DSP Jalige assured citizens that the criminals will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, Kaduna , Yekini Ayoku has commended the successful operation by his men, even as he called
on the public to continue to support the Force with useful information about all and sundry criminal activities, even as police under his watch continue to promptly treat such information with dispatch and absolute confidentiality.

Troops Kill ‘Kidnap Kingpin’ In Akwa Ibom, Recover Weapons

This photo, released by the Nigerian Army on May 19, 2022, shows the hideout of an alleged kidnap kingpin, Mr Otobong Moses alias Oto Abasi.
This photo, released by the Nigerian Army on May 19, 2022, shows the hideout of an alleged kidnap kingpin, Mr Otobong Moses alias Oto Abasi.

 

Troops have eliminated “a notorious kidnapper and gang leader” in Akwa Ibom state, Mr Otobong Moses alias Oto Abasi.

He was killed in a raid carried out by troops of 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army in conjunction with the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as other security agencies.

According to a statement signed by army spokesperson Akari Idereghi, the raid was carried out at Obong Ebot community in Etim Ekpo LGA of Akwa Ibom State “at the early hours of Wednesday 18 May 2022.”

“The raid operation was as a result of a sustained surveillance on the activities of the notorious kingpin and his syndicate,” the statement added.

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“The first phase of the operations was conducted on 12 May 2022. During the operations, troops raided the criminals hideout but on sighting the troops the criminals abandoned their hideout and fled. The gallant troops rescued the kidnapped victims and arrested two collaborators of the criminal kingpin while the shrine, hideout and assorted charms were set ablaze by the troops.

“Further investigation revealed that the criminal gang is known for terrorising the locals, kidnapping, killing and burying their victims who do not do their biddings in shallow graves in the general area.

“Items recovered from the raid include; one Sub Machine Gun and magazine, 67 rounds of 9MM ammunition, two motorcycles, 16 mobile phones, one AK 47 rifle magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62MM Special ammunition, nine machetes, two military monkey jackets and one helmet strapped with military camouflage uniform. Others include; 2 pairs of military camouflage uniform, one military police beret, one police camouflage face cap, one military pull over, ATM card, two TV sets, a standing fan, decoder and four generator sets.

“The good people of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun LGAs and indeed the entire Akwa Ibom State are enjoined to go about their lawful business. However, those who are bent on disturbing the peace enjoyed in the state are advised to desist or prepare to face the wrath of the law.”

Alleged Kidnapping: Court Dismisses Move By Evans’s Co-Defendant To Stop Trial

A file photo of a court gavel.
A court gavel.

 

A Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area has dismissed a no-case submission by one Victor Aduba, arraigned alongside kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, for Kidnapping.

In her ruling delivered on Friday, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo held that the state government had established a prima facie case linking the defendant to the crime, which makes it necessary for him to open his defense.

Aduba, a dismissed soldier of the Nigerian Army and Evans, were arraigned by the Lagos State Government on allegations of kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu and collecting a $420,000 ransom from his family.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In his no-case submission application, counsel to Aduba, Emmanuel Ochai, had argued that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant. He asked the court to dismiss the charge against his client.

The prosecutor, Yusuf Sule, on his part asked the court to determine whether the evidence adduced by him had sufficiently linked the defendant to the alleged offences.

In her ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Taiwo held, “I have carefully considered the submissions of the prosecution and the defence.

“The court, at this stage, is not to review evidence of the prosecution but to see whether the prosecution has enough evidence before the court to warrant the defendant to defend himself.

“Evidence of the prosecution shows that it has sufficiently proven a prima facie case against the defendant and the defendant has a case to answer.

“I hereby dismiss the application of the defence, and order that the defendant should open his defence,” the judge held.

Background

In Dec 2021, Sylvanus and his wife, Chimebere Ahamonu, had testified virtually about how Evans and his gang kidnapped him on June 23, 2014, on Kara Road off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.

The couple narrated how they sold properties, borrowed money, and raised funds from family and well wishers to attempt to raise the initial $2 million ransom that was demanded by Evans.

Sylvanus, who said his hands and legs were chained throughout his two months in captivity, said he was only released when the family paid Evans the $420,000 ransom. He said by this time, he was at the point of death.

On Feb 4, 2022, Evans, who is the first defendant in the case, opened his defence and denied kidnapping Ahamonu and collecting $420,000 as ransom from the businessman’s family.

On Feb 25, 2022, Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Evans and two others to life imprisonment for the kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu.

The court held that there was insufficient evidence to link the only woman in the group, Ogechi Uchechukwu, with the office and she and two other former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, were acquitted and discharged on the offence.

Evans is, however, still facing four other kidnapping charges before other judges of the Lagos High Court

Niger Government Reiterates Commitment To End Banditry

Niger State is in northcentral Nigeria.

 

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State has reiterated the determination of his administration to end insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal vices in the state.

He made the declaration during a press briefing on Thursday at the government house in Minna, saying that the situation has remained a nightmare for the state government despite doing a lot.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mary Noel-Berje, who spoke to journalists on behalf of the governor explained that the state in collaboration with the military and other security agencies are doing all it can in order to reverse the trend.

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Mary further noted that the governor has supported the entire security apparatus with logistics and other welfare packages to achieve effective operation.

The governor who expressed worry over the high rate of humanitarian needs of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), appealed to the Federal Government, corporate organisations, and donor agencies to join forces to ameliorate the plight of those affected.