Police in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have paraded 48 suspects for various crimes including kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary.
The Force Public Relations, CP Frank Mba, who paraded the suspects at the Intelligence Response Team office in Abuja on Tuesday, said a total of 28 assorted weapons including laptops and phones were recovered from the suspects.
The weapons include nine AK-49 rifles, three AK-47, 495 AK-47 live ammunition and 10 laptops.
The suspects paraded include a 36-year-old man, Abubakar Haliru, who was said to have kidnapped his cousin, one 48-year-old Binta Muhammed in Jigawa State.
According to CP Mba, Binta had given Haliru money to purchase four tricycles, but instead of buying the tricycles, he decided to connive with a gang of kidnappers to abduct her.
He said Binta was, however, rescued by men of the Intelligence Response Team.
Another gang of kidnappers said to be operating in the northwest and north-central states was also paraded.
According to the Force PRO, the gang is responsible for the kidnap of one Reverend Father Tony Bawa in Kushin Makaranta area of the state.
The Kaduna State government has informed residents of the state of plans to shut down telecommunication services in some parts of the state due to insecurity.
The state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who made the announcement during a media chat with some local radio stations in the state, said the planned shutdown of telecommunication services is because of the plan by security agencies to launch a massive attack on bandits taking refuge in some parts of the state.
El-Rufai explained that the shutdown would not cover the entire state. He, however, did not mentions the LGAs that would be affected, saying it would only affect local government areas bordering the troubled Zamfara and Katsina states.
He said, “We have been advised by the military and other security agencies to shut down telecommunication services in certain LGAs but we are waiting for the security agencies to tell us which specific areas and when.
“But I want the people of Kaduna State to know that if they give us the go-ahead tomorrow, we will shut down tomorrow.
“There is no doubt that bandits and other criminals rely on telecommunication to communicate with their informants as well as with relatives of kidnapped victims so as to demand ransom.”
The governor said he had already written to the Federal Government on the shutdown which he said had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I will not mention the LGAs to be affected but the local governments that are constantly being tormented by bandits know themselves,” he said.
Kaduna, like most states in the North-West zone, has been affected by banditry and kidnapping, especially in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kajuru, Kachia, and Zaria local government areas.
According to Governor El-Rufai, due to the shutdown of telecommunication services in Zamfara and Katsina states, some bandits crossed over to neighbouring local government areas in Kaduna to make phone calls and demand ransoms.
He also disclosed that Kaduna State Government has established a task force that will go round the hinterlands to monitor compliance with some of the security measures adopted by the state to tackle banditry and kidnappings. These measures include the closure of some fuel stations and markets to strangulate bandits in the forest.
While advising residents on the need to identify and report informants or accomplices of bandits, El-Rufai urged residents to report anyone who comes to buy between 20 to 100 loaves of bread to security agents.
No fewer than 12 people have been killed following an attack by gunmen on Peigyim village, near Kibori at Atyap Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the attack in a statement on Monday.
He explained that the gunmen invaded the community on Sunday night and opened fire on the residents, leading to the death of 12 locals.
While two other residents who were injured during the attack have been taken to a hospital for treatment, security operatives were reported to be combing the area with a view to arresting the perpetrators.
In his reaction, Governor Nasir El-Rufai condemned the attack and condoled with the grieving families of the victims.
He also prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed and wished those injured a quick recovery.
The attack comes barely 24 hours after a pastor of the ECWA Church was murdered in the same community.
Kaduna is one of the states in the North-West and North-Central that have been caught up in violence from heavily armed criminal gangs who loot villages, steal cattle, and carry out mass kidnappings.
The violence has its roots in years-long tensions and tit-for-tat raids between farmers and nomadic herders over grazing land and water resources.
The criminal gangs, also known as bandits, often attack in large numbers and arrive on motorbikes.
Typically motivated by financial gain, they have been targeting schools and colleges, kidnapping students and pupils for ransom.
On their part, security forces have carried out operations and airstrikes on the camps of the criminals which are hidden deep in the forests that span Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, and Niger States.
This is, however, not enough to stop the violence from escalating.
While the Federal Government warned that paying ransoms would provoke more kidnappings, authorities in some states have tried to negotiate amnesty deals to stop the attacks.
The Police in Katsina State have arrested several suspects in connection with banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping.
They were arrested by officers on patrol while plying the Kankara-Sheme road in Dutsinma Local Government Area of the State.
While parading the suspects before the command headquarters on Wednesday in the state capital, the spokesman of the Command, SP Gambo Isah, said three suspected bandit informants were equally arrested between the Katsina and Zamfara border while conveying 80 assorted domestic animals on a canter vehicle to Abuja.
He explained that the three suspected informants are residents of Wanzamai village located at Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
SP Isah further stated that four suspected thieves were arrested for vandalising transformers in Kaita Local Government Area and in Mahuta village of Dandume Local Government Area of the state.
In the meantime, an additional two suspected bandit informants and suppliers of fuel to bandits were arrested by the police while on patrol.
The suspects simply identified as Isiya Abdullahi and Usman Mamman – all from Danmusa Local Government Council of Katsina State – were intercepted while conveying two drums fully loaded with fuel on a Golf (III) vehicle.
Another suspected notorious bandit identified as Auwal Aliyu was also arrested for impersonating vigilante group members of Batsari Local Government Area of the state.
According to the police spokesman, the 32-year-old suspect and fugitive of Niger State has been on the wanted list of the State Police Command for his engagement in banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling as well as feeding the bandits with information.
The arrests are part of the recent achievements recorded by the command in the fight against banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other associated crimes in the state.
Police in Katsina State have arrested 18 suspects in connection with banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and other related crimes.
One of the suspects simply identified as Abdullahi Mai-Rafi is a notorious bandit who according to the police conspired with two others and disguised as government officials to commit armed robbery and indulged in the rustling of cattle numbering up to 20.
Prior to his latest arrest, Mai-Rafi had allegedly repented from his old ways and was working with the state government under the office of S.A on Security matters, Ahmad Ibrahim Katsina.
While parading the suspects before the command headquarters on Wednesday in Katsina, the Police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah explained that the trio had on August 11th 2021 at about 11:00hrs, gone to Danmarke forest in Ingawa LGA of the state with a motor vehicle Toyota, Camry, ash in colour, with registration number DE 631 LED, attacked a herder, one Alhaji Gide Suleiman of Malumafashi LGA while grazing his animals.
They attacked him with machetes and sticks, threatened him and his boys that they were from the office of Special Adviser on security to His Excellency, with a false allegation that their brother, one Sa’idu had robbed one Lawal of his herds and that they should either produce the said Sa’idu or bring hundred (100) cows.
“After some scuffles, the suspects succeeded in robbing the said Alhaji Gide Suleiman of his twenty (20) cows valued seven million, five hundred and fifty thousand naira (N7,550,000:00K) with the intention of taking them to the Sa’id Lawal as compensation for his stolen cows as falsely alleged by them.
“They also searched and robbed them of the sum of forty thousand (N40,000:00) naira and four (4) GSM handsets.
“Subsequently, on the 24th of August, the same syndicate of Abdullahi Mai-Rafi and three (3) others, attacked the complainant on the same false allegation and attempted to rob him of another set of twenty cows and some sheep, but nemesis caught up with them when they were rounded up and arrested by the Command.
“In the course of the investigation, suspects confessed to the commission of the offences.
“The Gang leader, Abdullahi Mai-Rafi confessed to have conspired with the others and sold all the cows at Dankama market, Kaita LGA of the state.
“Two cows and the sum of four hundred and forty-four thousand naira were recovered as exhibits from their possessions,” Isah explained.
Furthermore, on the 31st of August 2021, the command also succeeded in arresting one Aminu Adulrazak of Tudun Yan lihidda Quarters, Katsina, based on credible intelligence. This happened while he was conveying 66 jerry cans filled with fuel in an unregistered Peugeot 504 at Kofar Guga Garage believed to be a supply to bandits hibernating in the forest. Interestingly, the suspect divulged that he has engaged in these crooked activities for about fifteen years and confessed to have bought the fuel from one Saminu Rabiu-a transport manager at AK Mai Kwai filling station.
Prior to the above arrests, on August 23rd, 2021 the command succeeded in arresting one Abubakar Abdullahi of Allah Madogara village in Malumfashi LGA of the state who was a notorious suspected kidnapper and informant to bandits. The suspect, Abubakar Abdullahi, was trailed and arrested and confessed during interrogation that he indeed committed all crimes attributed to him and his cohorts (now at large).
Additionally, on the 17th of August 2021, the command- based on a tip-off, succeed in arresting notorious bandits and cattle rustlers, Bala Abdu alias Medele and Halliru Tukur, from Dunkula village, Safana LGA, who terrorize Safana LGA and its environs. In the course of the interrogation, suspect Bala Abdu Medele confessed to have participated in numerous bandit and cattle rustling activities in Safana LGA and its environs.
Also, the command arrested the duo of one Mani Yahaya and Isuhu Usman on the 8th of August 2021, based on a tip-off, which would provide leads for an ongoing investigation. All detained suspects are from Tsaskiye village via Safana LGA Katsina. The duo is strongly suspected to be providing information to the camp of two notorious bandits: Ya`u and Mallam Aibo who are known to be hibernating in Rugu forest and carry out attacks on Tsaskiya and Ummadau village, Safana LGA respectively.
Regardless of the grim reality about crime in the state, and the perpetrators still at large, the police assure the citizens of Katsina state that the criminals arrested based on the aforementioned ongoing investigations would provide leads that can be employed for bringing to book those criminals at large.
Two suspected kidnappers have been killed during a gun battle with the police in Itori, Kwekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi in a statement said that the suspected kidnappers were killed on Sunday when policemen in Ewekoro divisional headquarters received information at about 7:30 am, that some armed hoodlums with face masks were sighted hibernating in a bush at the back of ICT Polytechnic, Itori.
“Many suspected kidnappers have been traced to the same forest before, the anti-robbery team of Ewekoro division was quickly dispatched to fish out the hoodlums,” the statement said.
He said that on sighting the policemen, the gang opened fire on them and the policemen engaged them in a gun battle which lasted for about 40 minutes.
At the end of the encounter, two members of the syndicate were gunned down while others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot injuries.
Recovered items include; one locally fabricated shotgun, two live cartridges, two battle axes, empty shells of AK 47 riffle ammunition, three android phones, two small phones, 8 pairs of slippers, and two school bags.
The State Commissioner of Police CP Edward Ajogun while commending the gallantry display of his men warned criminals to stop testing the willpower of the command under his watch because doing so will continue to spell doom for them
He also directed a massive manhunt for the fleeing members of the gang and, reiterated the stand of the command to wage war against crime in order to make Ogun state free from criminality.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has assented to some laws in accordance with Section 100(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The Laws include: The Kidnapping and Cattle Rustling (Special Provisions) Law, 2021, the Niger State Vigilante Corps (Amendment) Law, 2021; the Niger State House of Assembly Service Commission Law, 2020, the Office of the Auditor-General of the State Law, 2021 and the Office of the Auditor General of the Local Government Law, 2021
Governor Bello said the Kidnapping and Cattle Rustling Special Provisions Law of 2016 is amended to provide for the punishment of informants and all those involved in the aiding and abetting of kidnapping and Cattle Rustling in the state.
The Governor stated that informants who aid and abet Kidnappers would now have to face a death sentence by hanging in public as now enshrined in the state law.
According to him, the law now provides that “whoever instigates any person to kidnap a person or rustle cattle, or intentionally aides, abets or facilitate by any acts of omission or commission of the offence of kidnapping and or Cattle Rustling is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to death by hanging in public”
Bello said the punitive measure is a good stride and has become necessary given the security challenges that have continued to threaten the peaceful coexistence of the state in particular and the country in general.
He regretted the unpatriotic activities of informants who, according to him, have contributed to thwarting efforts of the security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of Kidnappers and Cattle Rustlers.
He also noted that the Vigilante Amendment Law is meant to invigorate and strengthen the state vigilante corp for better operational efficiency in the discharge of their statutory function of complementing the efforts of our conventional federal security forces.
Meanwhile, Bello has expressed hope that the signing of the State Assembly Service Commission Law will further enhance the activities of Legislators and solidify the already existing synergy between the Executive and the Legislature.
He said that a combined team comprising members of the Police Mobile Force, Operatives of Operation Puff Adder and Anti-kidnapping squad of the Kaduna State Police Command have launched a manhunt for the kidnappers, with a view to rescuing the victims and arresting the criminals.
The abduction is the latest in the LGA, which is 30 kilometres away from the state capital, and has become notorious for kidnappings.
The six students and two staff members of Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic in Zaria Kaduna State, who were kidnapped by bandits have been released.
They were released on Thursday night at an undisclosed location in Kaduna.
The Public Relations Officer of the Polytechnic, Abdullahi Shehu, who confirmed the development to Channels TV, said the kidnapped students and staff members regained their freedom after their parents and relatives negotiated with the bandits.
He, however, did not say specifically if any ransom was paid or not.
The school authorities will receive the students later in the day at a location where they were kept after their release, he added.
Bandits had attacked the polytechnic on June 11, 2021, kidnapping the victims from their hostels and staff quarters.
They also killed one student during the operation.
Two persons are said to have lost their lives after bandits invaded Bethel Baptist School, a private college in Kaduna State, kidnapping an unspecified number of students.
The kidnappers in the early hours of Monday attacked the private school located at Maraban Rido within the Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
Sources say the marauders came in gun blazing, shooting sporadically into the air before whisking the students away.
Four of the students are said to have escaped while the rest were taken away by the gunmen to an unknown destination.
This latest kidnap incident comes barely one day after gunmen suspected to be kidnappers attacked the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre in Zaria, Kaduna state, abducting no fewer than seven people including nursing mothers.
The incident was said to have happened in the early hours of Sunday when the bandits invaded the centre and started shooting sporadically.
Among those kidnapped were seven staff of the centre (two male and five female) and two others who are non-staff.
The gunmen also attacked the Saye Divisional Police Headquarters also in Zaria and damaged a patrol vehicle with bullets.
Although the police authorities are yet to confirm the incident, sources from the area told Channels Television that the gunmen in large numbers had invaded Saye village, blocked the bridge leading to the Leprosy centre, while some others attacked the Saye Divisional police Headquarters, in an attempt to prevent the operatives from foiling the operation.
A plethora of kidnappings
Criminal groups, known as “bandits” by the authorities, have for quite some time been terrorizing parts of the northwest and centre of the nation, attacking villages, stealing cattle, and kidnapping people for ransom.
Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, and Kaduna have been the most attacked by the bandits, with the situation in the latter state deteriorating at an exponential rate.
Most disheartening about the attack in Kaduna is the fact that most of the kidnappings are focused on citadels of learning, leading to the mass abductions of students for ransom.
A prior warning
Four days ago, Governor Nasir El-Rufai told newsmen that he has withdrawn his children from a public school in Kaduna after getting wind of a plot to kidnap his son.
The governor had in September 2019, enrolled his six-year-old son, Abubakar-Sadiq into Kaduna Capital School, a public school located in the Kaduna State capital, in order to show leadership to revamp public education in the state and make it more competitive.
But in an interview with the BBC, El-Rufai noted that available security reports revealed that three bandit groups were planning to abduct his son from the school, a situation which he also notes will expose other children to grave danger.
The Governor also disclosed that he had enrolled Sadiq’s younger sister, Nasrine in the same school after turning six years, before the security development, thereby forcing the family to withdraw the two children from the public school temporarily.
“My son is registered in the school because his sister also became six years of age and we registered her in the school but we’ve had to temporarily withdraw them for the security of the school because we got intercept from at least two groups that are planning to attack the school to kidnap my son,” he said.
“I don’t think they will succeed because there will be enough security there to prevent it but other children may be placed in danger. We have no idea what weapons they will come with.”
He however said that his two children are currently homeschooling, and are only going to Capital School to write exams, with the hope of returning to Kaduna Capital School when security improves.
The governor further explained that his family took the decision to withdraw his son and daughter based on the advice of security agents, and in order not to put the school at risk of being attacked by bandits.
Ransom For Bandits?
As Kaduna State and other parts of the north-western region continue to experience the scourge of banditry, El-Rufai has been one of those few governors that have repeatedly kicked against the payment of ransom to kidnappers.
He also reiterated his administration’s stance, explaining that three groups intercepted had vowed to abduct his children to see if he would make a U-turn on the payment of ransom.
The Kaduna Governor has insisted that the state government has no money to pay bandits amid the renewed attacks by armed groups in the state.
He stated that the recent bandits’ attacks on communities in the state were a result of the government’s decision that it would not negotiate with them.
“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.
He added, “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.”
According to Governor El-Rufai, the security challenges being witnessed in the northwest region of the country have been existing for some years and gradually evolving and getting worse with time.
He was confident that while the state government does not have any reason to change his position, the military would wipe out the bandits from the region.