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Buhari Orders Security Chiefs to Deal Ruthlessly with Bandits

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President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja ordered the service chiefs and the acting Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr.

Mohammed Adamu, to deal ruthlessly with armed bandits and kidnappers terrorising different parts of the country.

The president gave this marching order during a two-hour Security Council meeting that he presided over at the Presidential Villa.

Present at the meeting aside the acting IG, were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar.

Others were the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ahmed Rufai; Director-General, Department of State Security Service (DSS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi; the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd); and the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd).

Bandits have in recent times, laid siege to various parts of the country particularly Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna States in North-western Nigeria, wreaking havoc and sending many to their early graves.

In the same vein, kidnappers have made living harrowing for many Nigerians especially those plying Kaduna-Abuja highway, Okene-Lokoja road, Benin-Ore expressway, among others, waylaying travellers, kidnapping them and subjecting their families to utter discomfort by demanding huge ransom.

However, Buhari who returned to Nigeria on Tuesday night from trips to Jordan and United Arab Emirates (UAE), convoked a security council meeting in the Presidential Villa over worsening security crises bedeviling various parts of the country and gave the heads of security agencies marching orders to ruthlessly deal with criminals tormenting the lives of innocent citizens.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Olonisakin said the meeting reviewed existing security strategy and simultaneously examined a new approach to be adopted in combating security challenges confronting the country.

According to him, such a review and examination bordered on strategy for tackling banditry, kidnap and other security challenges facing Nigeria, adding that the president ordered them to ruthlessly tackle the challenges with a sense of immediacy.

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He said: “The security meeting we just had with Mr. President today (yesterday) is to review the strategy that we are adopting in confronting security issues in Zamfara State especially and other places nationwide. And this review strategy is to address all the issues, including kidnapping, banditry and other associated issues confronting the nation and we are coming out with a revised strategy to handle those challenges.

“Yeah, the marching order is for us to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues that are bordering on our security are properly addressed.”
Also briefing, the acting IGP said the menace of kidnapping on Abuja – Kaduna expressway had been effectively tackled, disclosing that several kidnappers had been arrested and the road is now safe for motorists.

According to him, the security patrol team that is on duty every 24 hours on the road has had bloody encounters with the kidnappers during which he said some of them had been injured and others arrested.

He said: “I want to assure Nigerians that Kaduna-Abuja roads are now safe. We have cleared the roads; we have arrested a lot of kidnappers and in confrontation with some of them, and some were fatally injured.

“So the road is cleared. Our patrol teams, the combined security services that are patrolling the road are constantly there 24 hours.”

IG’s submission that Abuja – Kaduna highway is now safe for motorists and commuters was the fallout of the launch of “Operation PUFF- ADDER” last week in the North-west region as a security strategy conceived to dislodge both bandits and kidnappers in the region.

The IG while briefing journalists on Sunday on federal government’s decision to suspend all mining activities in Zamfara State and its environs on April 7, described “Operation PUFF- ADDER” as a combined security strategy aimed at reclaiming territories under the control of criminals.

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According to him, the strategy involved raiding of the hide-outs of criminals, arresting perpetrators, bringing them to justice and as well recovering illegal weapons in circulation with the overall intention to guarantee the security of lives and property.

He said: “As part of sustained efforts to flush out, and permanently put an end to armed banditry and criminality in Zamfara State in particular and the North-west in general, the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the Nigerian Military and other Security Services has commenced “Operation PUFF- ADDER” which is a full scale security offensive against the bandits.

“The operation is aimed at reclaiming every public space under the control of the bandits, arrest and bring to book all perpetrators of violence in the area and their collaborators, achieve a total destruction of all criminal camps and hideouts, mop up all illicit weapons fueling the violence and attain a full restoration of law and order in the affected communities.

“Our commitment at protecting the sanctity of life and property is irrevocable, and we will not scale-down the pressure on the armed bandits until they are totally flushed-out.”

House Summons President over Insecurity

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Thursday asked the president to appear before it and address Nigerians on the spate of insecurity across the country.

The lawmakers threatened that failure by the president to explain the issues they raised would confirm the opinion of Nigerians that the administration had failed in its responsibility to protect lives and property.

This demand was part of the resolutions passed at the plenary when the lawmakers unanimously adopted a motion moved by the member representing Gwer-East/Gwer-West Federal Constituency in Benue State, Mr. Mark Gbillah.

The motion was titled, ‘Resurgence of the Incessant and Annual Massacre of Innocent Nigerians across the Country by Alleged Bandits and Killer Herdsmen, the Gradual Occupation of Affected Communities by these Attackers and the Lack of Adequate Rehabilitation and Relief Materials.’

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Adopting the motion, which was not debated, the lawmakers resolved to “request that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces address the House and the entire nation within 48 hours.”

According to the resolution, Buhari is expected to make a series of explanations to Nigerians.
They are, “His inability and the inability of his administration since inception to declare the killer herdsmen as terrorists to enable commensurate action against them by the Armed Forces.

“The inability of the Armed Forces under his watch to stop the recurring death of scores of innocent Nigerians annually from systemic attacks by killer herdsmen and alleged bandits, and the gradual occupation of the affected communities by these herdsmen despite countless assurances and statements by him, promising to stop these attacks.”
Others are, “The inability of NEMA under his watch to immediately provide relief materials and rehabilitation of affected communities in line with their statutory mandate, in spite of the N10billion he announced had been provided in this regard and what immediate intervention his administration intends to provide to affected communities and how soon.”

The lawmakers resolved that they would “conclude along with other Nigerians, if the president fails to respond to the aforementioned queries within 48 hours, that he and his administration are incapable of permanently curtailing the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians by killer herdsmen and the occupation of their land, and have failed in their primary, constitutional responsibility of ensuring the security and welfare of the citizens of Nigeria.”
The lawmakers further resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to interface with the Presidency regarding the queries.

They also resolved to engage with the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Chief of Defence Staff and other Service Chiefs; Chairman and Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, and other stakeholders.

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JUST IN: Gunmen attack police station in Anambra, kill two Inspectors, free detainees

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Gunmen on Wednesday night attacked Obosi police station in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, killings two police Inspectors and freeing all detainees in the cell

The attack happened barely 24 hours after the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Christopher Adetokumbo Owolabi, assumed office.

A source at the affected police station told journalists that the gunmen attacked the station late on Wednesday night, killing two Inspectors while all the detainees in the cell were freed before razing down the police station.

When contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the incident, adding that the police commissioner has sent a team to the scene of the incident to unravel the circumstances behind the attack.

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EXCLUSIVE: Abuja Schools Shut Down As Truckload Of Bandits Arrives In Border Town

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Despite assurances by the police authorities that the Abuja is safe, private schools in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday, hurriedly shut down their activities over fear of possible attack by kidnappers.

LEADERSHIP learnt that some schools hurriedly sent their students home when news got to them over 200 unidentified men suspected to be bandits were dropped by a truck in Sabon Wuse area of Niger State, a border town with Bwari, Abuja.

A source disclosed  that some private schools closed their schools with instructions to student to remain at home till further notice.
Some parents who do not want their identities revealed told our correspondent that the schools gave the instructions on various group WhatsApp platforms of the schools.

In the last two weeks, over ten persons have been kidnapped in Bwari area council with ransom of about N10million paid to secure their release.

Last week, about seven persons were kidnapped in Sabon Fulani area of the council and about N5 million ransom was said to have been paid.
According to residents, the fear was heightened following the report that over 200 unknown persons were dropped from a truck in Sabon Wuse area.
A parent who spoke to LEADERSHIP said, “We were asked to come for our children in their school before the time they were supposed to close for the day.
”I don’t know if they will be going to school tomorrow because we are still waiting for further directives from their school group WhatsApp platform”, the parent, who does not want her identity revealed said.

Another parent told LEADERSHIP that there was specific instruction for students to remain at home until further notice from the school authorities.
”My children came back home before the usual closing hour. When I enquired, the school said there were reports that kidnappers had surrounded Bwari area council and they (school authorities) do not want to be responsible for any kidnapped student, hence the closure of the school.
”As we speak, the school has been shut down indefinitely,” he said.

Some of the schools in Bwari area council that sent their students home yesterday for fear of possible attacks by kidnappers include De-Goopherwood Montessori School (close to Nigerian Law School), Glorious Bright School, Tundun Fulani and Asusi International School.

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A parent, who has children at Glorious Bright School said she got a call from the school management to come and pick their children before the normal closing hour for fear of attacks by kidnappers. Another parent who has children at De-Goopherwood Montessori School also confirmed that his children closed before the normal closing hour.

According to her, the students were asked to go home after information got to them that there is a likelihood of a breach of security in Bwari.
LEADERSHIP learnt that Veritas University, in Bwari, has been closed down and students sent home.

According to a senior lecturer of the school, who said she was not authorised to speak with journalist, ”The school was shut this morning by the vice chancellor. ‘We received a circular that everyone should vacate the school by 11am today (yesterday). ”

She said the students had been on holiday since last week but the academic staff and other staff were still going to school before the circular was sent out.
”Though the students were on holiday, we were still going to school until we got a circular today (yesterday) from the office of the Vice Chancellor that everyone should leave the campus”, the source said.

Another polytechnic in the area also sent its student out of the hostel.

A 200-level student of Dorben Polytechnic, Bwari, told LEADERSHIP that the school authorities issued a circular asking the students to vacate the hostels and that henceforth they will holding lectures online.

The student who studies public administration at the polytechnic said all the student promptly complied with the directive and quit the hostels.
About three days ago, the FCT Police Command faulted information that the territory was under possible the attack of Boko Haram terrorists. The command had, in a press statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Yusuf Mariam, said, “The attention of the FCT Joint Security Team has been drawn to a viral publication in the social media purporting that the ‘Federal Capital Territory is under the attack of Boko Haram Terrorists’.

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”The Joint Security Team of the FCT wishes to refute the mischievous publication targeted at creating palpable tension amongst the well-spirited residents of the FCT.”

We’re Monitoring Situation – Police

Meanwhile, following the social media report of invasion of Bwari axis of the FCT by suspected Boko Haram terrorist, bandits or kidnappers, the Nigeria Police have said they monitoring the situation.

Though the spokesperson of the police and the FCT PRO did not comment on the issue, a reliable senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that the police management had deployed tactical teams which are monitoring the situation, but that there is no cause for alarm.
According to the source, the situation is very critical and the police are not taking it lightly.

There were reports on social media of invasion of Bwari by a group numbering about 800.

This led to report of closure of schools around the area fearing abduction as has been the case in recent times.

27 Abducted Kaduna Students Regain Freedom
Parents and family members of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State can now heave a sigh of relief after they were released by their abductors yesterday.

According to the chairman of the parents committee, Malam Abdullahi Usman, 27 of the students who were in the captivity of the abductors were released unharmed.

He said two of the students had escaped on the day they were abducted but that the parents chose to keep mute in other not to jeopardize the chances of securing the release of the remaining students.

Earlier, 10 of the students were released in two batches of five each after it was reported that ransom was paid.
When asked whether ransom was paid for the release of the 27 students, Usman declined to speak on it, stressing that the parents worked tirelessly, including reaching out to prominent persons to assist towards their release.

“We are indeed thankful to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kaduna-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi among others for their roles towards the eventual release of the students.

“We also thank the journalists who helped to publicise our cries and worries, and Nigerians who encouraged and prayed with us for the safe release of our children. We are indeed grateful and pray that God will bless them all,” he said.

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The parents of the students had on Tuesday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja to protest the continued holding of their children in captivity and government’s apparent indifference over their abduction.

The students, 39 in all, comprising of 23 females and 16 males, were abducted on March 11, 2021 from their school premises. Two of the students were said to have escaped from their abductors leaving 37 of the students, out of which ten of them were released before the final release of the balance of 27.

Meanwhile, the students were taken straight to the Kaduna Police command headquarters in two 18-seater buses, accompanied by an ambulance and nurses.
They looked emancipated and one of them could hardly work and had to be helped and later rushed to the hospital.

In a short address, the Commissioner Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan, who spoke to newsmen at the police headquarters in company of the police commissioner, said details will be given about the students today.

“Yes we can confirm that the students have been released as you can see, but details will be made available on Thursday. They will be taken for proper medical checkup now,” he said.

Meanwhile the state government has confirmed that the Police Command had reported the release of the remaining students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Kaduna State.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the release of the 27 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, near Kaduna and congratulates their friends, families and the government and people of Kaduna State following the happy end to the saga.

“We are happy they have been released,” says the President.

“We express our deep appreciation to all the actors who contributed one way or the other to this happy outcome,” President Buhari said in a statement by his media aide,Garba Shehu, yesterday.

Credit Leadership Newspaper

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Afaka students: How Nigerian govt released notorious kidnapper, parents paid N32m ransom

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Detail has emerged as to a how Nigerian government released a notorious kidnapper in exchange for the freedom of the last of batch of 27 students of Federal College of Forestry, Afaka, abducted on March 11.

In a prisoner swap deal brokered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, DAILY NIGERIAN learnt, the kidnapper simply identified as Nanono was transported from a detention facility in Kano, were he was being held, and handed over to a traditional ruler in Kaduna who acted as the middleman.
Parents and relatives of the victims were then left with the payment of N15m, in addition to the N17m they earlier paid for the release of the 10 of the students earlier released in two batches.

The parents first paid N17m last month for the release of the all the victims, but the kidnappers released 10 students in two batches, insisting that amount was too small.

In view of the kidnappers’ failure to meet the obligation, the parents insisted on a middleman for the second round of negotiations.

A security source involved in the negotiation confirmed that the kidnappers demanded the release of three of their gang members in custody and payment of the N50m.

But after a series of negotiations and pleas, they accepted to reduce the amount and the only surviving gang member named Nanono,” said the source.

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