The Nasarawa State Police Command has arrested a 28-year-old suspected kidnapper along Akwanga Road in Akwanga Local Government Area of the state.
The suspect, Abubakar Mohammed, was arrested with other criminals on Sunday following intelligence-gathering by the police.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ramhan Nansel said the suspect, upon interrogation, confessed to being a member of a five-man gang of kidnappers who were terrorizing Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State but relocated to Wamba Road, Akwanga LGA, Nasarawa State after two of his gang members were neutralized by security operatives during a fierce gun duel in Plateau State.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State says the reason some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is that the opposition party has become very weak and the situation is getting worse.
According to Governor Sule, the depleting of PDP by poaching its governors and lawmakers is a part of politicking.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Sule said the APC is in the process of getting stronger.
“We have been a very strong party and we are doing the best we can to continue to be stronger and the only way we can be stronger is to get more and more people and the right people to get are the leaders of the opposition. That’s what we are trying to do and God so kind we are doing that,” the governor stated.
Sule’s comments come on the heels of the latest defection move by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, an exercise that the governor says is a signal suggesting that the opposition leaders are seeing what President Muhammadu Buhari is doing.
When asked if the desire of the APC is to plunder the opposition such that come 2023 only the ruling party will be standing, Governor Sule said “PDP has always been weak since President Muhammadu Buhari came in,” adding that all that is being seen at the moment is that the party is becoming “weaker and weaker”.
He boasted that the APC is doing a very good job by ensuring that it opens its doors and give Nigerians what they are looking for when it comes to governance.
Defections: PDP Is Stable, APC’s Tactics Will Yield Nothing – Kola Ologbondiyan
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the People Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, has assured Nigerians that the opposition party is stable and unwavering, even in the face of recent defections by some of its governors and lawmakers.
While appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Mr. Ologbondiyan said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) does not have the experience of the PDP who was in power for about 16 years.
Speaking further about the recent wave of cross-carpeting which is rocking the PDP, Ologbondiyan said “we have all our structures established in the 36 states and the 774 local governments, as well as over 2000 wards that we have in Nigeria, our party is very stable”.
The PDP spokesman argued that while some governors are decamping over to the APC, the people who elected them are not making the same move. He stressed that while the governors may have been lost, the people remain firmly behind the opposition party.
Mr. Ologbondiyan alleged that the leadership of the ruling party is “going around intimidating governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party,” sending in security agents to conduct investigations that leave the governors uneasy and desperate to secure their political future.
According to the PDP spokesman, this is a well-understood mind-game that poses no threat to the opposition party. He said the PDP is confident that the masses will not be swayed having experienced a great deal of hardship under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are confident in the people of Nigeria who have been made to suffer untold hardships going to six years and who are very determined that for once they want to choose a leader of their own,” Ologbondiyan noted.
The image-maker of the PDP further stated that his party’s confidence is also unwavering because they know that the “APC as a party is not structured”… and “is a mere vehicle that was used to hijack power”.
Ologbondiyan was of the opinion that Nigerians are done with the APC and the masses who have been pushed to the realm of despondency by the current administration and its party, will oust the government when 2023 comes.
In February, youths in Mada station community in Nasarawa state began to loosen and cut railway tracks that connect the area to the rest of the country.
Although the Mada station tracks, about 130km away from Abuja, had not been in use for about five years, the infrastructure was still good enough for the vandals.
By June, most of the route’s six tracks laid bare, except for its ballast.
The portions left untouched were only those protected by the wheels of an abandoned coach.
Even the culvert under the tracks were dug and the water pipes vandalised.
“We were not happy about it,” a resident of the community Mikailu Abdullahi, told Channels Television. “We did our best to stop them, but we couldn’t.”
Some community members reported the vandalisation to the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), but they were told there weren’t enough arms to enforce arrests, according to a staff of the Nigeria Railway Corporation in Mada station who pleaded anonymity.
“The youths came in numbers at night to vandalise the tracks,” the staff said. “In one of the incidents, six armed men came here to arrest a trailer loaded with railway materials. But they couldn’t make the arrest because the youths refused.”
Another railway staff suggested that the youths were motivated by a sense of entitlement.
“The youths are claiming that the tracks are their father’s and they have to chop (eat),” he said. “They are also claiming they are indigenes of the area, so nobody can stop them to do whatever they want to do.
“We did our best (to stop them). When we reported to the nearest police station and civil defence, they said there are no arms and mobility. So this is how the vandalism continued.”
In May, the police stepped in and have now arrested 35 of the vandals, including two Chinese nationals, local politicians, police and NSCDC officials, and a railway official.
The youths, according to the police, were in cahoots with several top politicians, corrupt police officers and NSCDC staff, and Chinese nationals.
After welders perform the loosening and cutting, the tracks and sleepers are piled and arranged in lorries, before they are ferried to a steel company run by a Chinese suspect, Marra Thai.
Mr Thai is said to be the main collector of the vandalised tracks.
According to the Nasarawa Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, the tracks are compressed and dissolved “and then later on they will mass produce new ones and use it for us.”
“We don’t know whether it is legal or not,” Mr Thai, whose steel company is based in Abuja, said when asked why he received vandalised tracks. “And we asked somebody to confirm it, and they said there was no problem. That’s why we collected it.”
But the police said Mr Thai’s lawyer offered a N600,000 bribe when the police caught up with his client.
Anietie Eyoh, the officer who heads the anti-vandalism template created by the police, rejected the bribe. One lorry driver implicated in the vandalism operation also offered Officer Eyoh N150,000.
The monies were displayed when the suspects were paraded this month.
“We have resolved, with unbending determination, that whosoever comes into our radar, no matter who, will be seen, and the person will be arrested and treated in accordance with the provision of the law,” Mr Longe, the police chief, said.
‘An act of terrorism’
The vandalisation of rail tracks is a recurring headache in Nigeria. While the Federal Government has prioritised the revitalisation of the country’s railway network, vandals appear to have upped their activities.
This month, the police announced that it had cracked down on a criminal syndicate engaged in vandalising rail tracks across the North-West and North-Central.
The operation was uncovered after the police raided a warehouse in Gboko, Benue state.
Inside the warehouse, the police discovered different vandalised rail equipment, stolen rail installation racks, weld-shear, rail puller, other rail accessories and consumables.
But many of the syndicate members are still at large.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has described such vandalisation as acts of terrorism.
“Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences,” he said at a town hall meeting recently.
While promising to prosecute anyone suspected of vandalising public property, the Minister has also pleaded with Nigerians to take ownership of the assets, as they “must be protected for the benefit of all.”
“You would recall that after the 21-day and seven-day ultimatums we issued elapsed on Wednesday, June 9 2021 and we are supposed to commence three days warning strike, but stayed action due to the intervention of the traditional rulers.
“In view of that, the Organised Labour held an emergency meeting today Monday, 14th June 2021 and resolved that, since all the necessary protocols were followed in order to pursue our legitimate demands from the government to see the need to pay the last tranche of August 2016, implement our promotions of over a decade and conclude the national minimum wage negotiation, but which turns futile,” Iya said while addressing journalists on Tuesday.
The Organize Labour therefore enjoined all workers to proceed on indefinite strike action as from Tuesday 15th June, 2021 immediately until an amicable resolution is reached with the Government on our demands”
The state governor Abdullahi Sule in reaction said he is willing to pay all legitimate remunerations once the state financial capacity improves.
The governor made the remarks when he received his coordinators recently at the government house.
He said,” As long as we have the money, without being asked, we will address it and pay”
“All my life, I have been promoted. I went through promotion from a simple Engineer, to Engineer I, Engineer II, to Senior Engineer, Principal Engineer, to Assist Engineer, Engineer and then I became Managing Director.
“How could I then deny any worker the right to be promoted?”
According to him, many of the Boko Haram insurgents are regrouping in Nasarawa State and they belong to the Darussalam group that had been dislodged from Niger State.
He said further that upon a joint security operation, a lot of them were killed while 900 were arrested. Governor Sule maintained that those arrested confirmed their membership of the Boko Haram insurgency group and have been handed over to the authorities.
“I have come to see the leader of our party and the leader of the nation and our father, Mr President, to brief him about the activities happening in the state, especially in the area of security.
“We have continued to have challenges with a team of Boko Haram who were settled at the border with the FCT. We thank the security forces that were able to dislodge them. Now, they have gone back and gathered at our border with Benue and they are causing a lot of havoc,” the governor said.
The Nasarawa State Government had earlier in November announced plans to restructure its security apparatus due to killings and insecurity.
The Governor made the announcement during an emergency security meeting in Lafia, the state capital following the murder of the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa, Phillips Shekwo.
A Fulani traditional ruler and an unidentified young man were also killed during the same period.
The security meeting was attended by the heads of various security outfits in the state, as well as the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Traditional Council, Justice Sidi Bage, among other stakeholders.
The principal suspect in the case of a 6-year-old girl whose genitals were mutilated for ritual purposes has been arrested.
19-year-old Abdulkadir Wada was arrested on Friday by the police in Mararaba, Nasarawa State where he fled to, after allegedly committing the crime two weeks ago in Jama’are Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
Admitting to the crime, he told journalists how himself and an accomplice committed the crime in an uncompleted building.
“I strangled her and took her into an uncompleted building. Later my friend joined me after making sure that no one was watching,” he said while being paraded.
“He told me to slit her throat, but I told him I couldn’t. He brought out his knife and after confirming that she was motionless, he cut off her genitals”.
The child is, however, now receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, the ritualist who demanded for the genital is still at large.
Several other persons were also being paraded for similar crimes, as the trend of kidnapping appears to be on the rise.
“We rushed to the scene and found a Commercial VW Sharon Bus and a Private Toyota Sienna Bus both engulfed in flames with the occupants inside the burning vehicles. We called for Fire Brigade, the fire was contained by 11:00 pm and we completed the rescue by 2:00 am.”
Ebere added that preliminary investigations showed that the Sharon Bus was coming from Abuja and the driver had tried to overtake another vehicle while on a hill when he ran into the Sienna and both vehicles went up in flames.
He said the occupants of the Sharon Bus have been deposited at the Akwanga General Hospital while those of the Sienna have been taken to the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, ( DASH) in Lafia.
Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha on Wednesday reacted to the recent killing of farmers in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents describing it as a great insult to Nigeria.
Okorocha who is also a Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district called on the executive arm of government to rise up and prevent the re-occurrence of the terrible incident.
“The killing in Borno State is an eyesore and very provocating. The killing in Borno is just an insult to this nation, a great insult to this country. Action should be taken to stop to show that, this is too much.
Residents of Maraba, a town in Nasarawa State, bordering the Federal Capital Territory, staged a protest against poor electricity supply and overbilling by officials of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
The residents on Thursday morning assembled outside the Maraba branch of the AEDC office and displayed various placards lamenting over poor electricity supply and describing it as injustice.
They lamented that the poor power supply has remained for four years despite promises of improvement from the electricity company.
The residents also accused the AEDC officials of power racketeering.
Meanwhile, the branch manager of the AEDC office in Maraba, Kingsly Ehikame, who addressed the protesters denied the allegations of power racketeering.
He insisted that the complaint of residents have long been forwarded to the head office of the AEDC company.
The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule has asked leaders of Udege chiefdom to fish out the killers of Mr Amos Ewa Obere, the traditional ruler of Odu community in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ibrahim Addra, Governor Sule told the leaders that the security of lives of the citizens is a priority of his administration and that criminals must not be allowed to truncate the peace and destabilise economic activities of the state.
“We believe there are criminal elements amongst the people of this area and we must fish them out,” he said when he paid a fact finding visit to the palace of the Osu Ajiri, Halilu Bala Usman the traditional ruler of Udege Chiefdom of the state on Sunday.
Worried about the resurgence of insecurity in the area that was peaceful only months ago, the governor admonished youths in the area to shun crime.
The Osu Ajiri on his part, commended the governor for beefing up security in the area as well as the ongoing construction of the Mararaba Udege – Udege Mbeki road.
He, however, wants the speedy appointment of more district heads in the area for ease of administration and improved security.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has terminated the appointment of the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Tijjani over allegations of fraud.
Mr Tijjani’s sacking was contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the State Government House.
The former SSG was indicted by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly for alleged misappropriation of over N200 million out of the one billion naira approved for the renovation and fencing of public secondary schools in the state.
He was alleged to have committed the offence while he was the Commissioner for Education in the state during the previous administration.