Terrorists, bandits, and criminals of other hues took their inglorious activities in the country to a new dimension in the last 48 hours, wreaking mayhem in six states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Their deadly operations across five of the six geo-political zones of the country left no fewer than six persons dead; 60 persons kidnapped, a corpse stolen and goods worth millions of naira also stolen. The only zone not affected by the attacks was the South-South.
However, neither Force Headquarters nor Defence Headquarters, DHQ, responded to calls on an inquiry about what they were doing to stem the tide of insecurity in the country at press time yesterday.
Kidnappers kill 3 of 10 victims in Abuja, raise ransom to N700m
But in Abuja, kidnappers, who abducted 10 persons from an estate, Sagwari Layout, Dutse, on January 7, yesterday, reportedly killed three of their victims to send a strong warning to their relatives negotiating ransom payment.
It was also gathered that the bandits had increased their ransom demand from the initial N60 million per person to N100 million, now totalling N700 million.
Residents said the victims were allegedly killed over the ‘delay’ in raising the ransom demanded by the kidnappers.
Vanguard gathered that a 13-year-old high school student, identified as Folorunsho Ariyo, was among those killed.
On Sunday, reports emerged that the kidnappers who also operated in some villages in Bwari, had killed one of the six abducted persons to force the family into quickly raising the demanded ransom.
Dutse is a town under the Bwari Area Council of the FCT.
Initially planned for yesterday, the protest was, however, shifted to today as a result of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.
Bandits kill 3, abduct 50 including 36 women in Zamfara community
In Zamfara State, no fewer than 36 women in Magizawa community of Kaura Namoda Local Government Area, were abducted by bandits on Sunday night
Local vigilantes alleged that they and some security personnel were overwhelmed by the bandits who invaded the community, killed three, including a vigilante leader and wounded two others.
The Police were yet to get details of the attack, according to the Zamfara Police spokesperson, ASP Yazid Abubakar in a chat with journalists.
However, a vigilante, who survived the attack, said they were taken unawares when the bandits took control of the community, went from house to house and forced the locals, majority of whom were women, to follow them into the bush.
“They abducted about 50 people and 36 were women. We tried to fight them but they took us unaware and got mixed up with members of the community. In the process, they killed one of our bravest members and two others, they also injured two others. They broke into houses that were locked and abducted locals,” he said.
Bandits raid military camp, unleash mayhem on Katsina community
In like manner, armed bandits stormed a joint military camp in Nahuta village, Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State on Sunday night, leaving a trail of destruction and looted goods.
Sources in the camp said the attack occurred around 11:30 pm. The heavily-armed bandits wielding AK-47 rifles among other weapons reportedly set ablaze vehicles and other valuables.
Despite being outnumbered, courageous soldiers managed to repel the assault as no life was lost.
“The bandits outweighed us and invaded the camp, causing considerable damage,” a source revealed, and lamented lack of reinforcement throughout the encounter.
Taking advantage of the chaos, the bandits unleashed further mayhem on Nahuta town. They ransacked shops, broke into houses, and looted properties and livestock worth millions of naira, leaving residents traumatized and dispossessed.
As the time of this report, security agencies were yet to officially comment on the attack.
Police confirm abduction of mother, son in Zaria
In neighbouring Kaduna State, the Police Command confirmed the abduction of Halimatu Sa’adiya Bello and her 17-year-old son, Yusuf Bello, at Dogarawa area, Sabon Gari LGA.
ASP Mansur Hassan, the command’s Public Relations Officer, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Zaria, yesterday, saying the police had swung into action in an effort to rescue the victims.
He advised the public to be more vigilant and report any suspicious movement to security agencies.
Malam Gafai Katsina, the Chairman, Security Committee of residents of the area, said that the bandits, who were 15 in number and armed with sophisticated weapons, stormed Dogarawa New Layout at about 2 a.m.
“They entered the house of Alhaji Bello and abducted the victims, attacked Adamu Bello with matchets on his hand; Adamu Bello is receiving treatment at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, Shika, Zaria. The bandits did not abduct the two tenants residing in the house, they tied them and locked them in their rooms,” he said.
Gunmen abduct varsity lecturer in Kebbi
Also, gunmen on Sunday kidnapped Dr Musa Sale Argungu, a deputy dean and lecturer in the Faculty of Physical Sciences, Kebbi State University of Science and Technology Aliero, Kebbi State.
The state branch chairman, Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, Dr Abubakar Birnin Yauri, who confirmed the abduction said that the lecturer was kidnapped in the night at gunpoint, forced into a waiting vehicle and whisked away to an unknown destination.
He added that till now the university management was yet to know the whereabouts of the abducted lecturer, adding that the university community is in deep shock over the incident and prayed for his safe return.
Kebbi Police image maker, SP Nafiu Abubakar, didn’t answer calls made to his phone line and was yet to reply to text messages sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Kidnappers engage soldiers, overrun Enugu LG, abduct 4
There was palpable fear at Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State following reported abduction of a former councillor of Ojor, Mr. Romanus Chikwelu, on Saturday.
Three others abducted with Chikwelu were the former transition committee vice- chairman of the LGA, Vitalis Okonkwo, his son, and a man, Nnalue Igwebuike.
It was gathered that the incident happened before the Community Secondary School in Adani.
Community sources disclosed that officers of the Nigerian Army engaged the suspected kidnappers in a gun battle but succumbed to their superior firepower.
It was equally learned that a stray bullet hit a road user in the shoulder during the cross-fire between the soldiers and kidnappers.
A community stakeholder in Adani, who confirmed this incident to Vanguard, said that the suspects are demanding a ransom of N25 million for their captives.
He further said that the traditional ruler of Adani Community, HRH, Igwe Patrick Okafor, was allegedly murdered in cold blood on the eve of Christmas and his blood was smeared on the wall of his residence by the attackers.
Community sources disclosed that no fewer than seven wedding guests were abducted in the local government area a few days ago, and that the former councillor’s abduction came a few weeks after he declared his intention to vie for the chairmanship position in Uzo-Uwani in the forthcoming local government election in Enugu State.
Hoodlums invade EKSUTH, steal corpse as doctors declare immediate strike
In Ekiti State, suspected hoodlums in the early hours of yesterday, invaded the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, EKSUTH, attacked doctors on duty and made away with a corpse.
Sources in the hospital revealed that the hoodlums attacked doctors and other health officers on duty at the accident and emergency ward, destroyed facilities and made away with a corpse suspected to be the father of one of the hoodlums.
In a swift reaction to the matter, the Association of Resident Doctors in the Hospital held an emergency meeting and directed its members to embark on an indefinite strike with immediate effect.
This was contained in a letter addressed to the Chief Medical Director, Professor Kayode Olabanji and signed by the President of the Association, Dr. Famous Adeyemi.
The letter read: “The above-named association writes to notify you of the decision of the Emergency Congress held today to embark on an indefinite strike with immediate effect.
“This is following the actions of hoodlums who stormed the Accident and Emergency unit of the Hospital in the early hours of today and assaulted some members of the Association, destroyed several hospital equipment and properties and stole a corpse during the attack
“This attack is happening at a time when our members are showing understanding with the state government on the non-implementation of our demands on improved welfare vis-a-vis being faced with work overload and exhaustion as a result of poor remuneration, pay disparity and the attendant effect of local brain drain
“We wish to use this medium to call on the management of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, EKSUTH, and the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Biodun Abayomi to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice for their actions
“We also implore the state government to, as a matter of urgency, attend to our pending demands which border on improved welfare of our members. We implore the management and the government to provide a lasting solution to these incessant attacks. The strike will not be called off until our demands are met”.
Police deploy assets in search, rescue of abducted Abuja girls, others
Meanwhile, following an outcry by Nigerians over last week’s abduction of six sisters and their father by bandits, the demand for N60 million ransom and the killing of the eldest daughter, Naheebat, the FCT Police Command, has deployed operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Counter-Terrorism squads on a search and rescue mission.
Vanguard gathered that the operation which also involves elements of the Nigerian Army is targeting forest areas and remote enclaves of Bwari Area Council, Abuja, some of which also fall into Niger and Kaduna states.
The joint Police and military deployments are looking to rescue the remaining sisters of Naheebat, which is said to be a priority of the Police Command.
It was, however, gathered that apart from the sisters and their father who were kidnapped on that day, several other persons were abducted by the bandits
Aside the Anti-Kidnapping and Counter-terrorism units working in conjunction with the military, it was further gathered that the FCT Task Force on Security, and the Divisional Police Stations in Kubwa, Zuba are also combing abandoned buildings and identified black spots for any of the kidnapped victims.
It will be recalled that the FCT Commissioner of Police, Haruna Garba, had visited the troubled areas of Bwari, Kubwa and Kuje where incidents of kidnapping took place last week and promised that deployment of tactical additional personnel and teams to help in the rescue efforts and checkmate further attacks.