Gov Sani Bello raises red alert: Boko Haram 2 hours from Abuja, hoists flag in Niger
Occupies 50 Shiroro, Munya villages, towns
Gunmen abduct 5 Makurdi agric varsity students
Kill 2 more Kaduna students, 9 in Anambra attack
2 women, children kidnapped in Zaria, 9 in Oyo
Troops repel attack on Mainok, kill scores, lose officer, 6 others
Boko Haram terrorists have established territory in parts of Niger state and hoisted their flag in Kaure village from where they have made spontaneous incursion into more than 50 villages in the past three weeks, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has said.
Speaking to journalists during a visit to an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp (IDPs)’ camp in IBB primary school Minna, the governor lamented that over 50 villages had been overrun by the terrorists/ bandits and deserted by original inhabitants.
He said: “I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements around Kaure in Shiroro local government of Niger state. They have taken over the territory. They have installed their flag. I am confirming to you now that they have taken over the wives of people by force.”
Describing the situation in the state as critical and pathetic, Governor Sani Bello said over 3,000 villagers escaped to Minna Sunday night while several others were in other camps in Gwada and other places.
“Majority of the displaced persons will have to remain in this camp in Minna because their villages have been taken over by Boko Haram terrorists/ bandits. Their wives have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram elements,” he said.
The governor said the Boko Haram terrorist were trying to make Kaure their home and headquarters like they did in Sambisa forest, warning that while Sambisa forest is several kilometers away from Abuja, Kaure is only two hours drive to Abuja.
On efforts by his administration to curb the trend, the governor said: “I have been engaging the federal government, and unfortunately, it has gotten to this stage, and if care is not taken even Abuja is not safe. We have been saying this for long and all efforts have been in vain.”
Our woes – Spokesman
Briefing the governor at the camp, a youth leader, Mr Bulus Esu said his people in Kuchi-one of the most populated towns in Munya local government area of the state- have been locked down by the terrorists for the past three weeks.
He said: “For three weeks now, there is no person living in Kuchi town and there is no food for the fleeing villagers. The bandits have entered very deep into the area and have overrun several villages. They have occupied Kuchi where they now sleep as their homes.”
Esu said two weeks ago, the bandits demanded five million naira ransom from the people of Kampana to save themselves from being kidnapped, adding “the people did this to avoid kidnap. However, when they came back the next time, they asked the women to cook food for them after which they still raped the women.”
Makurdi varsity students abducted
Also, not less than five students of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue state have been reportedly kidnapped.
However, the Police confirmed only three students were abducted.
Sources from the university who simply gave his name as Joshua, said five students were kidnapped at a lecture theatre around Faculty of Engineering around 10: 17 pm on Saturday.
Blueprint gathered that the students were reading in the class when the heavily armed gunmen invaded the school and abducted the victims.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Richard Kimbir in a telephone interview confirmed the incident, but could not give the exact number of students abducted.
He said: “We are currently in a management meeting and until the meeting is over we cannot tell the exact number abducted. We are also making efforts to contact family members of the affected students.”
Earlier, Director of Information and Public Relations Unit of the University, Mrs Rosemary Waku in statement said, “an unconfirmed number of students of FUAM were abducted at gun point by unknown persons from the Campus on Saturday 24th April, 2021.
“The University has reported the incident to the police and all relevant security agencies. The University has not heard anything from the students or their captors since the unfortunate incidence took place.”
But spokesperson of the state Police Command, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene, said “the command received information from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi that on 24/4/2021 at about 10.20pm, three (3) students were kidnapped within the school premises by unknown gunmen.”
She said the state commissioner of police has ordered a full scale investigation into the case.
And from Abuja, the nation’s capital city, there are reports that unknown gunmen again struck Sunday night and kidnapped one person in Pegi community, Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This is coming less than a month when one person was kidnapped and a ransom of N2 million was paid before his release.
Confirming the incident to newsmen in Abuja, Chairman Pegi Community Development Association (PECDA) Isaac Aderibigbe said the attack on the community was becoming worrisome as residents now lived in perpetual fear.
He said most frightening was when one of the lucky persons that narrowly escaped, heard the gunmen speaking in Hausa threatening to strike during the day time since most people now return home before evening.
Aderibigbe said the unknown gunmen, who were in army fatigue shot in the air and forcefully stopped cars on their way home.
Unfortunately, another resident, Mr Laide Muhammad was not lucky enough as he was whisked away and a ransom of N15 million placed on him demanded for his release.
One of the victims who narrowly escaped from the kidnappers on his way home from work and spoke under anonymity.
“At about 9.00am on Sunday, I was coming back home, as I got to where the tarred road was terminated and there are heaps of sand, on my way to 1000 units gate, Pegi.
“I noticed that people were sitting on bare ground and some people were standing, this to me was a red flag, I told my passenger that, this is not right. So, I put my car on reverse, a man came out from the bush with machete and hit the back of my car asking me to stop, I just continued to reverse.
“As I was reversing I heard one of the kidnappers giving order in Hausa language that they should not shoot because if they shoot, they will alert other motorists and residents.
” Unfortunately, my car entered a ditch, so I came down and continued running toward Kuje town where I started turning other motorists back and one of the cars now picked me. We called the Divisional Police Officer for Pegi, who came and helped remove the car. I am still shaky and scared after that experience” he recounted.
Also, 24 hours after killing 9 security operatives, gunmen Monday killed another set of 5 soldiers in Rivers state.
The nine security operatives were killed by yet-to-be identified gunmen at different security checkpoints along Owerri-Port Harcourt road.
The victims were personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Police and Nigerian Customs Service.
Similarly, on Monday morning, unknown gunmen stormed a camp at Abua and killed five soldiers.
The incident was confirmed by two top security personnel in the state.
In view of these, all heads of security agencies in the state are currently at a meeting at the headquarters of the Rivers State Police Command, ostensibly to re-strategise ahead of the new scale of insecurity in the state.
In a related development, nine persons were confirmed dead with several others injured as hoodlums suspected to be herdsmen attacked Awkuzu community, Oyi local government area of Anambra state.
Sources alleged the attackers trooped in with machetes and clubs, adding that some of those either killed or wounded were students of a state-owned higher institution residing in the community.
Some unconfirmed viral videos, pictures and texts circulating on social media suggested that the attackers were on reprisal after some of their members residing in the community were allegedly killed by unknown persons.
However, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, who confirmed the attack, described the attackers as “unknown armed men,” adding that the police commissioner, Monday Bala Kuryas, has deployed personnel to search, identify and apprehend them.
“The Commissioner of Police Anambra State Police Command, CP Monday Bala Kuryas, has ordered the immediate deployment of the Command’s Operational and Intelligence assets to identify and apprehend the unknown armed men, who violently attacked Ukpomachi Village, Awkuzu in Oyi LGA of the State, in the early hours of 26th, April 2021.
“Meanwhile, a crack team of Police Operatives of the Command, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, have visited the scene and conducted on-spot-the assessment of the incidence and have successfully restored normalcy in the area and adequate security emplaced to forestall further occurrence.
“The assailants, said to be armed with machetes and other dangerous weapons, invaded the village in their numbers and attacked the residents, resulting in the death of nine (9) persons (whose identities are yet unknown), injuries on some others as well as destruction of buildings and livestock.
“The commissioner, while reassuring Ndi Anambra, particularly people of the Community, of the Command’s resolve to get to the root of the incidence, has called on them to remain calm and volunteer useful information that will enable the Police and other Security Agencies collaboratively handle and bring the situation to a logical conclusion,” he said.
Hotelier, 8 others abducted in Ibadan
And from Oyo state, Blueprint gathered that gunmen suspected to be kidnappers at the weekend reportedly invaded Ajaawa community in Ogo Oluwa local government area of the state and kidnapped 9 persons, including a hotelier in the town.
It was learnt that at about 10pm Saturday, the gunmen invaded a hotel in the town- Agbo Hotel-and kidnapped its owner, Honourable Olukunle Oyedokun, (said to have arrived the town in preparation for his father’s burial this Friday) and 6 others.
However, two others said to be within when the gunmen stormed the hotel, escaped being abducted by whiskers
According to sources, the 8 other persons kidnapped alongside the hotelier were identified as his wife, Busayo Oyedokun, and the baby she’s nursing; Oyedokun’s first child, Omoriyeba, and her six-year-old daughter, Adesewa; his brother’s wife, Julianah Oyedokun, and her 10-year-old son, John; and another child belonging to Oyedokun, Oluwajuwonlo; in addition to the guest.
The kidnappers were said to have arrived the hotel said to be located behind CAC Primary School, Lagbedu Road , Ajaawa at about 10p.m. shooting sporadically and abducted all their captives to an unknown destination through the nearby bush.
It was gathered that the kidnappers Sunday made phone calls through to the family of the kidnapped hotelier demanding N15 million ransom, which at the time of this report, had been to N2.5 million the victims’ relations were still running around to raise to secure their release.
It was reliably gathered that police operatives, Amotekun Corps, local hunters and vigilante group members had commenced combing the bush in search for the kidnapped hotelier and other victims.
The story was the same at Kofar Kuyambana Lows Cost in Zaria local government area of Kaduna state where housewives and their children were reportedly kidnapped by gunmen.
A resident of the area, Malam Garba Jumare told one of our correspondents that the kidnappers invaded the area and attacked the residence of a customs officer between the hours of 9 and 10 pm Sunday.
He said the kidnappers whisked away the officer’s wife identified as Maryam Bala Ibrahim alongside her three children, but abandoned the children midway and fled with the mother.
The witness confirmed that the bandits also attacked another house in the neighbourhood where they kidnapped another woman, Hulera Haruna.
Jumare further told Blueprint that during a gun battle between the kidnappers and the police personnel, about 5 Almajirai were hit by stray bullet and were at the time of this report, receiving medical attention at a nearby private medical facility.
It was gathered that two of the bandits were arrested in the night while three were nabbed in the early hour of Monday
“These people- bandits were alleged to have been in the area since after carrying out surveillance. Though we don’t know them, but many residents confirmed that there were unknown faces in the area since afternoon.
“In fact, the police and men of KADVIS have really tried. They showed that they are professionals, we must thank them,” he said.
Monarch calls for prayer
Following the development and related others, the Emir of Zazzau and Chairman, Kaduna state Council of Emirs and Chiefs, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, has tasked his subjects to pray intensively against the activities of bandits in his domain, the state and county at large.
He urged Nigerians to be security conscious and that all hands must be on deck to stamp out the activities of bandits in the area, the state and country at large
While describing security as a collective responsibility, the monarch said it should not be left in the hands of government alone.