Ransom Not Paid To Secure Release Of Abducted Niger Students – Senator Musa

The lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Musa, speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on August 27, 2021.

 

No ransom was paid to secure the release of the abducted students of the Islamic seminary in Niger State.

This is according to the lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Musa.

Gunmen had on May 30 stormed their school in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State and whisked away 93 children.

Three months later, the schoolchildren were freed, although the gunmen were said to have demanded a ransom of ₦110 million and threatened to kill the victims.

However, the Senator who appeared during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said the Niger State Government has repeatedly said it would never pay ransom to the bandits.

“The Niger State Government has made it very categorically clear and one of the policies of the state government His Excellency initiated, there is no payment of ransom for whatever reasons,” Senator Musa said, dispelling reports that ₦110 million was paid to the bandits.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Free 93 Islamiyya Students Three Months After Abduction

“I so much agree with him (Governor Abubakar Bello) because the more you give the ransom, the more the trade will continue because they have turned it into a trade. When they approached the government asking for ransom, the government felt it cannot go against its policy.”

The lawmaker explained that although the government didn’t pay a dime to the abductors, the distraught parents however took up the initiative of selling their possessions to secure the release of their children.

While noting that the government wasn’t aware when they parted with some sums to the bandits, one of the parents that took the money was held back alongside the children.

According to the lawmaker, the state government got wind of the information when 13 of the kidnapped children escaped from their abductors.

He added, “After they escaped, these people opened a new request. They now asked for more of the ransom and the state government insisted that they are not going to pay a kobo.

“These people now complained that they are feeding these children, they have spent so much of their money but the policy of the government is that no ransom will be given.

“They pleaded, the parents pleaded. I don’t know the number of calls Mr Governor was receiving from these parents but I have received so many calls appealing that we should do something about it.”

UPDATED: Gunmen Free 93 Islamiyya Students Three Months After Abduction

It is not clear if any ransom was paid for their release.

 

Gunmen have freed 93 pupils kidnapped from an Islamic seminary in Niger State nearly three months ago, the school’s head teacher said on Thursday.

But one of the pupils died in the captors’ den.

The head teacher, Abubakar Alhassan did not say if any ransom was paid and how the pupils were released.

The gunmen had abducted the schoolchildren from their school in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on May 30th.

They demanded a ransom of ₦110 million and threatened to kill the victims but eleven of the students were released later, according to the Niger State Government.

The State Government had earlier ruled out the payment of ransom.

 

The governor of the North-Central state, Sani Bello had earlier ruled out paying ransom to the abductors.

“Even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for the government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits’ activities that are forcefully changing the lives of the people, especially in the rural areas,” he said during a meeting with the parents of the abductees.

RELATED: Insecurity: Matawalle Calls For State Of Emergency In Northern Nigeria

Army Confirms Insurgent Attack On Town In Yobe

Abducted Zamfara Students Beg Govt To Pay Ransom In 24 Hours

 

Kidnapping of schoolchildren has increased in most parts of northern Nigeria.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had in the wake of the attack urged security agencies to go after the kidnappers and ensure the schoolchildren were released.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the nation’s security and intelligence agencies to expedite efforts towards the recovery of the 200 children kidnapped from an Islamic school in Niger State,”  presidential media aide, Femi Adesina, said in a statement issued after Buhari received a briefing about the incident.

 

Some of the released students.

 

The North-West and central parts of the country have seen a surge in attacks, looting and mass abductions by bandits.

Bandits this year began targeting schoolchildren and students, demanding more ransom.

Gunmen who kidnapped more than 100 students from a Baptist high school in Kaduna State released 15 more of those hostages.

Around 1,000 students have been kidnapped since December after gunmen started to hit schools. Most have been released after negotiations, but scores are still being held in forest camps.

 

96-Year-Old Ex-Soldier, Suspected Trans-Border Drug Traffickers Arrested In Niger

A file photo of an official of the NDLEA backing the camera.

 

A 96-year-old retired soldier, Joseph Owherhi has been arrested in Suleja by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for dealing in illicit drugs. 

NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi confirmed the arrest in a statement on Tuesday. He said the nonagenarian was arrested with three kilograms of skunk in his house at Rafin Sanyi area of the Niger State capital on Sunday.

According to the agency, Owherhi in his statement confessed that he has been living on the illicit trade since he retired from the military in 1982.

The suspect also claimed he has eight wives and 50 children.

Meanwhile, four trans-border drug traffickers have been arrested in Adamawa State. They were attempting to cross the land border on a motorcycle in Kolere village, Mubi North LGA to Cameroon on Sunday with packs of Tramadol concealed inside noodle cartons.

The suspects include Ibrahim Aliyu; Umar Mohammed; Aliyu Adamu; and Usman Adamu. Narcotic officers had during a raid the previous day arrested a drug dealer, Chimezie Okorie at Layin ‘Yan Gwanjo, Mubi market where assorted drugs such as 23kg of Tramadol and 32kg of Diazepam injection were recovered from him.

RELATED: Nigeria, Saudi Arabia Seek Partnership On Drug War

Suspected Drug Dealer Arrested In Church
In Oyo state, a 35-year-old fashion designer, Abiodun Abubakar was on Monday arrested at Bodija Market, Ibadan North LGA with 24.2kg of Cannabis Sativa.

The NDLEA stated that in Lagos, coordinated sting operations across parts of the state especially Itedo community, Lekki, and Petti in Lagos Island led to the arrest of 13 suspects namely: Eze Beckee; Lateef Habib; Olayemi Temitope; Abdullaziz Sheriff; Yakwan Michael; Nora Omoruyi; Hamson Igbokwe; Ugwu Augustine; Akin Lawanson; Ibrahim Isa; Emeka Nwafor; Obi Price and Daniel Chukwuebuka. A total of 238 kilograms of cannabis and two grams of cocaine were recovered from them.

Meanwhile, in Kogi State, one Chizoba Francis was also arrested at the weekend in Lokoja with 54kg of cannabis hidden in sacks and covered with used footwear.

The consignment was bought at Emure, Ondo state with Kaduna as the destination. A similar case was recorded in the state where NDLEA operatives equally recovered 308 kilograms of compressed cannabis loaded into a Lexus car during a sting operation in the Eleyewo area of Akure North LGA over the weekend.

While commending the officers and men of Niger, Adamawa, Lagos, Ondo, Kogi, and Oyo commands of the agency for their relentless efforts, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa charged them and their counterparts across the country not to rest on their oars in the ongoing offensive action against drug cartels in Nigeria.

Suspend Activities Along Flood-Prone Areas, SEMA Warns Niger Residents

Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.
Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.

 

Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), has warned communities living along flood-prone areas in the state to suspend activities around those places.

Giving the warning, the state Director-General Ahmed Inga in a press statement on Thursday stated that Niger state was among the states predicted last week by NIMET to experience heavy rainfall between August and September 2021.

The statement further explained that in order to forestall any danger that may result in loss of lives, the agency has embarked on sensitizing the people, especially those by the river banks on the forecast in partnership with other relevant stakeholders in the state.

The DG argued that presently, it is better to direct resources towards pro-active strategies than a response to an emergency that does not only consume money but lives and properties.

“Niger State was among the states predicted last week by Nimet to experience intensive rains this month and next, the dam authorities have also notified the agency on the rising of water levels across the state.”

“The state has embarked on Community sensitization in collaboration with our major stakeholders which includes the traditional institutions, Ministries of Health, Environment, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Agriculture, NOA, and NISEPA,” he added.

The chairman further added that the agency has already mobilised all MDAs for emergency evacuations.

” Flood, as we all know, has been an occurring decimal in our state and as such, the need for inter-Agency and multi-discipline approach, strategies and collaboration cannot be overemphasized,” Inga maintained.

Niger Republic Declares National Mourning After 37 Killed

Flag of Niger Republic

 

Niger on Wednesday declared 48 hours of national mourning after 37 people were killed in a fresh massacre by suspected jihadists.

“Flags will be flown at half-mast across the country” with immediate effect, a government statement said.

It reaffirmed the government’s determination to “pursue the fight against terrorism until the final victory”, urging greater vigilance among the population.

Gunmen on motorbikes launched an attack on villagers Monday in Darey-Daye as they were tending their fields. Four women and 13 children were among the 37 people killed.

The massacre bore the hallmarks of jihadist attacks that have battered western Niger since 2015 when an armed Islamist campaign spread from Mali.

Darey-Daye, which was hit in an attack in March that claimed 66 lives, lies in the Tillaberi region, which has borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

The village is located in the department of Banibangou, in the so-called “tri-border” area where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali converge.

The area is notorious for attacks by highly mobile jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

According to a toll issued last week by Human Rights Watch, more than 420 civilians have been killed in jihadist attacks in Tillaberi and the neighbouring region of Tahoua this year, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes.

Bandits Kidnap Commissioner For Information In Niger

Commissioner for Information in Niger State, Mohammed Idris

 

 

Bandits have kidnapped the Commissioner for Information in Niger State, Mohammed Idris.

This was confirmed by the state government on Monday in a statement through its Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje.

The Commissioner was said to have been kidnaped by bandits at about one o’clock in the early hours of today from his home at Baban Tunga village in Tafa local government of the State.

Security agencies are however already on the trail of the bandits, the government’s statement added.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap APC Zonal Chairman In Niger State

Kidnappings have been on the increase in the northwest and central states of Nigeria where heavily armed criminal gangs operate with foreign workers being occasional targets for ransom abduction.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Aminu Bobi was on Saturday kidnapped in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.

Aminu Bobi who is the Zone C chairman of the ruling party in the state was kidnapped on his farm.

A resident in the area confirmed the incident through a telephone conversation in Minna, explaining that the chairman went to the farm on that day but could not return as he was abducted by the kidnappers.

When contacted for confirmation, the state command Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached as of the time of filing the report.

Niger PDP To Hold Congress On August 7

A file photo of the PDP logo.

 

 

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will be holding its congress for the election of state officials in Niger State on August 7, 2021.

In attendance will be the former Information Minister Professor Jerry Gana, the Governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 and 2019 Governorship elections, Umar Nasko, Tanko Beji who is seeking re-election for a second term as state chairman of the party, and Ndako Kpaki a former Secretary to the state government.

The National Working Committee of the party according to Mr. Shan has already approved the date for the Congress and the meeting consequently set up a nine-man local organizing committee headed by Khadi Kuta a former Head of Service in the state.

The stakeholders meeting also asked the two warring groups to provide three members each to serve on the committee while the Caretaker committee itself will provide the remaining three members.

The North Central Zone Vice Chairman of the Party Mr. Dakas Shan Speaking to newsmen at the end of the closed-door meeting that the meeting was successful” adding that: “We formed a quorum as provided for by our party constitution

“The meeting was all about Congress, we agreed that the Congress should go on as approved by the National Working Committee,” Shan said promising to “reach out” to those that did not attend the meeting.

” Some members of the caucus didn’t come we wonder why because notices were extended to everybody, every member of the caucus, we didn’t receive any apology from members of the caucus, well 3 apologies were received, we expected that more apologies would have been received

“The most important thing is that we had a full house, we formed a quorum of the caucus which allows us to go ahead with the meeting”

On the implication of the absence of some of the members, Shan declared: ” If they invite you to a meeting will they put a rope around your neck and drag you to the meeting venue, everybody knows the meeting venue, you have been invited, they are aware of the date, they are aware of the timing I will tell you that some of them we didn’t just send invitation we went to visit them and inform them before we arrived here yesterday”

He said that “As we leave this place we are going to get in touch with them to understand why we have not seen them in the caucus” saying that “We don’t expect them to boycott the Congress”

Shan conceded that ” There is a crack in the party which is normal in politics because people have different interests” stressing that: ” There are issues there are two groups sharply divided so there is division by no one is saying that he is leaving the party

“They are just fighting because the party is a very beautiful bride and everybody wants to see that it takes control of the bride,” Shan said.

He further noted that all efforts to speak to the leader of one of the groups and Chairmanship aspirant Muktar Ahmed were not successful because he was unable to pick his phone.

Police Parade Woman, Husband For Staging Kidnap In Niger

The suspects – Sadiya Ibrahim Umar Mohammed and her husband, Mohammed Mohammed being paraded in Niger State over alleged self-kidnap on July 23, 2021.

 

The police in Niger State have paraded Sadiya Ibrahim Umar Mohammed, a school teacher abducted last week Thursday along with her husband, Mohammed Mohammed over alleged self-kidnap in Minna.

Channels Television had reported that the abductee was kidnapped eight days ago at Maitunbi on her way home from work and the following day, the purported Kidnappers called her family demanding a ransom of N5 million

It was gathered, however, that the sum of N1m was eventually paid to secure her freedom on Wednesday.

Parading the suspects before journalists, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Wasiu Abiodun said the police operatives attached to SCID Minna arrested two suspects; a husband and wife – Mohammed Mohammed and Sadiya Ibrahim Umar Mohammed – both of Limawa area of Minna.

“It would be recalled that on 15/07/2021 at about 1200hrs, the said Sadiya was reported to have been kidnapped by unknown person(s) having boarded a tricycle at Challenge junction Maitumbi going to Old Airport road Minna after closing from work at Umar Bn Khattab International School Maitumbi,” he said.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences 10 Pirates To 12 Years Jail Term For Hijacking Chinese Ship

Abiodun explained that a day after her abduction, the father was contacted by an unknown caller demanding for N5million ransom which was later reduced to N1million.

According to him, the ransom was dropped at a location in Rafin-Yashi, Minna for the anonymous caller, who picked the money.

The police spokesman revealed that the same day (Wednesday), Mrs. Sadiya returned home, she was invited by the command for investigations and there, she claimed that she faked her kidnap at the instance of her husband.

The husband confessed to have collected the wife’s phone and handed it over to one Abdullahi, his friend who negotiated and collected the ransom on his behalf.

The police spokesman added, “The case is under investigation while effort is ongoing to arrest the said Abdullahi. Suspects will be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is concluded.”

He advised members of the public to be calm and not panic at every reported case of crime especially kidnapping, noting that some of the crimes especially kidnapping are faked and done with the connivance of family members or close associates for monetary gains.

49 Killed In Niger Republic Armed Attack

Niger Republic map.

 

Five civilians, four soldiers and 40 armed attackers were killed Sunday in a clash in Niger’s restive southwest region near the border with Mali, the government said.

Around 100 heavily armed “terrorists” riding motorcycles attacked the Tchoma Bangou village, striking around 3 pm Sunday, Niger’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement read on public television that did not identify who it suspected was behind the latest deadly incident.

The “prompt and vigorous reaction” by the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), “made it possible to repel the attack and inflict heavy losses on the enemy”, the ministry said, adding that its soldiers had seized motorcycles and a cache of weapons, including AK47s and machine guns, from the assailants.

Tchoma Bangou is located in the Tillaberi region, bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, an area known as “the three borders” that has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups.

Tillaberi has been under a state of emergency since 2017. The authorities have banned motorbike traffic night and day for a year and ordered the closure of certain markets suspected of supplying “terrorists”.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Niger has for years battled jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali, as well as Boko Haram on its southeastern border with Nigeria. The repeated attacks have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

In January, 70 civilians were killed by gunmen in Tchoma Bangou and 30 in the neighbouring village of Zaroumadareye.

Last month, 19 people were killed in villages in the same commune, according to officials.

According to United Nations estimates, there are more than 300,000 internally displaced people in Niger, many of whom fled terrorist violence that has escalated since 2015.

AFP

Niger Flags Off Fertilizer Sales At N8,000 Per NPK Bag

Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.
Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.

The Niger state government on Tuesday commenced the official sales and distribution of fertilizer for 2021 wet season at the cost of N8,000 per bag of NPK.

The Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso at the flag off ceremony in Minna, disclosed that the state has procured 27 and half of trucks making 15,000 metric tons of fertilizers for distribution to the 25 local councils of Niger state

He explained that government is doing everything possible to mitigating the security challenges facing the state and assured small scale farmers of subsidized production inputs.

He emphasized that the middlemen activities will be curtailed through the measures put in place for effective and efficient monitoring of the sales of the products.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Haliru Jikantoro said the the current administration was determined to ensure food sufficiency and cash crops production to generate employment and wealth for the citizens to reduced youth restiveness.

He reassured farmers of access to high quality inputs for farming activities and will implored all options possible to leverage on the vast opportunities abound in the state while the ministry will continued to implement government agricultural policy.

On his part, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria AFAN, Niger state chapter, Shehu Galadima, decried the state of insecurity experienced by the farmers due to attacks by the bandits, alarming scarcity of food in 2021/22 if solutions are not quickly found.

He charged on the federal government to reconsidered its stand by subsidizing agricultural inputs if food security most be attain in Nigeria.

Bala Tuta and Shitu Abdullahi are some of the beneficiaries; they expressed their delight on the early commencement of the sales of the fertilizer as this was what the farmers all wants.

The beneficiaries said that as long as they can get the product the price was good for them.

Niger Govt Bans Commercial Motorcycles In Minna After Students’ Abduction

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

The Niger State Government has banned commercial motorcycles from operating in Minna, adding that the ban was proactive steps to protect the city and government seat from bandits.

Ahmed Ketso, the Deputy Governor disclosed on Wednesday while briefing Journalists, a week after gunmen abducted 136 pupils from an Islamic school in Tegina.

“The ban on commercial motorcyclists is a step to avoid an attack. However private motorcyclists are free to operate from 6 am to 9 pm every day,” he said.

“There is the need to protect Minna as the seat of government because as we all can see, the bandits are leaving around us.”

He also reiterated the state government’s commitment to rescuing the schoolchildren, noting that negotiations with the abductors were ongoing.

According to Ketso, the negotiation was not about the payment of ransom but on how to secure the release of the pupils unhurt.

“I want to assure you that we have intensified efforts towards the safe release of the abducted children. We are being careful to ensure that there is no collateral damage on the part of the pupil we are rescuing,” he added.

He said the government is also aware that the bandits are demanding ransom from parents of the pupils, adding that government is however not involved in such negotiation.

Kelso said that the state government has provided lots of logistics to security agencies in the state towards enhancing their performance in the fight against the bandits.

Abductors Of Niger Islamic Students Demand ₦110m Ransom, Threaten To Kill Victims

 

Abductors of the over 136 students and staff of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in the Rafi local government area of Niger State are demanding the sum of ₦110 million as a ransom for the safe release of the victims.

They threatened to kill the victims should the school or their parents fail to meet their demands by midnight of Tuesday this week.

The Head Teacher of the school, Abubakar Alhassan disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday, adding that the bandits’ call came in about 4:00 pm on Monday.

Alhassan said contrary to their expectation, the bandits claimed they have a total of 156 people with them made up of pupils and staff.

He said the management of the school has contacted the state government on the latest development but that the government is insisting on not paying ransom to the bandits.

READ ALSO: At Least 200 Islamiyya Students Kidnapped In Niger

This comes two days after bandits invaded Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, a conventional Islamic school, and abducted many students including staff, killing one person and injuring one other person.

Although the number of those abducted were yet to be ascertained, but the proprietor of the school, Idris Umar told journalists on Monday that information gathered from parents indicated 136 students were kidnapped.

This is apart from the 11 pupils reported to have been freed immediately after the abduction because of their inability to keep pace with the abductors.

According to reports, parents and relations of the abductees have begun to raise money to take to the bandits.

But, on Monday, the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ketso had in a briefing at the government house in Minna explained the position of the state government that random would not be paid to kidnappers.