On a day that the Federal Government claimed that bandits had been degraded, there were attacks in Kaduna, Zamfara and Edo states, which resulted in the loss of lives and the abduction of many.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, had stated in an interview with state House correspondents after a security meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that the bandits had been degraded and were engaging in a “hit-and-run kind of tactics.”
He also said there was no truth in the report that policemen had abandoned the Abuja-Kaduna Road.
While insisting that policemen and soldiers were embarking on joint patrols of the road, the minister, however, agreed that efforts must be intensified to make it safe for travellers.
Dingyadi also said he reported to the council that policemen had returned to their duty posts after their withdrawal in the wake of the violence that followed the #EndSARS protests.
He, however, admitted that policemen could not be everywhere at the same time.
Vice-President Yemi Osinabjo, relevant ministers and heads of the nation’s security agencies attended the meeting with Buhari.
On banditry, Dingyadi said, “These bandits have already been degraded. So, there is no way they can resuscitate themselves and take over.
“I think they have already been degraded; what they are doing is just a hit-and-run kind of tactics.
“So, we don’t see any sign of them coming to take over or overpower. I think they have been well degraded and they are just trying to show their presence in a very cowardice manner.”
On the concerns that the police had abandoned the Abuja-Kaduna Road and plans to ensure that peace returned to the route, the minister stated, “Once a small thing happens in a particular place like this, we begin to talk about lack of security in that area.
“That place is being monitored 24 hours. There are police and the army, who are on a kind of joint patrol on a 24-hour basis.
“Whenever this kind of thing happens, we pursue them like what happened just two days ago, those people were rescued. So, the police and security personnel will continue to monitor this road and all other places to ensure that peace is, to a very large extent, maintained in the area.”
Gunmen kill Kaduna district head, son
However, gunmen, in the early hours of Tuesday, invaded Gidan Zaki in the Zango-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed the District Head, Mr Haruna Kuye, and his son, Destiny.
The monarch’s wife was said to have been dealt machete blows, while the daughter sustained a gunshot injury on her hand.
Similarly, bandits suspected to be kidnappers attacked Fatika, Kaya and Yakawada villages, all in the Giwa Local Government Area of the state, where they killed two persons and abducted scores of villagers.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement that troops of the Operation Safe Haven informed the state government of the attack on the monarch’s family.
According to him, at the location where the district head, his son and other family members were shot, three empty cases and a live round of 7.62mm special ammunition were recovered.
Aruwan added that the troops, in collaboration with other security agencies, were carrying out investigation and trailing the assailants in a bid to apprehend them.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the statement added, condemned the killing of the district head and his son, and gave a marching order to security operatives to thoroughly investigate the matter.
The statement read in part, “The military, under the auspices of Operation Safe Haven, has informed the Kaduna State Government of the killing of the District Head of Gidan Zaki, Mr Haruna Kuye, and his son, Destiny Kuye, in the early hours of today, Tuesday, November 17, 2020. They were killed in their residence at Gidan Zaki, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area.
“The district head’s wife, according to the military, sustained machete wounds on her hand, while his daughter had a gunshot wound on her finger.
“The security report further stated that the act was carried out by about five men wielding AK-47 rifles and machetes, who also tried to burn the house and a vehicle.”
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union condemned the killing of the district head and his son.
A statement by the SOKAPU’s National Public Relations Officer, Mr Luka Binniyat, also condemned the attack on Albasu villages in Giwa and Igabi local government areas of the state, which claimed more than 12 lives.
Gunmen kidnap 12 police officers in Zamfara
There have been renewed attacks by bandits on major roads in Zamfara State in the last two weeks.
The most recent was the attack on 12 police officers of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, who were said to have been sent to Zamfara from Borno State on a special assignment.
BBC Hausa Service reported on Tuesday that the 12 officers were coming to Gusau for a special assignment on security matters when they were kidnapped between Katsina and Zamfara states by bandits seven days ago.
The BBC quoted the wife of one of the policemen as saying she got a phone call from her husband, who asked her to raise ransom money by selling their home.
“He called me on Wednesday and told me that he was in the hands of kidnappers,” she said.
According to the report, the woman said her husband told her that if she failed to raise at least N1m, “there will be trouble.”
Similarly, the state Commissioner for Security, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, escaped death last week while returning to the state from Katsina State on an official assignment.
Dauran, according to sources, escaped unhurt when his convoy was attacked along the Zurmi-Jibiya Road, but a driver in his convoy was killed.
Speaking to The PUNCH, the Public Relations Officer of the state police command, SP Mohammed Shehu, said, “The command is not aware of the kidnap of the 12 police officers.
“We have yet to receive such a report; as soon we get such information, I will communicate with you.”
The Force Headquarters did not respond to enquiries on efforts being made to rescue the abducted police officers.
The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, had yet to respond to calls and text messages sent to his mobile telephone as of the time of filing this report.
Fears as eight travellers abducted in Edo
Suspected bandits, on Tuesday, abducted eight passengers of a commercial bus between Okhuessan and Emu in the Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The bandits were said to have dispossessed the occupants of the Toyota Hiace bus of their valuables.
It was gathered that the hoodlums emerged from a nearby bush and diverted the bus to another stretch of the road before robbing the occupants and abducting some of them.
It was learnt that the abducted victims were young women, while the men and aged women were allowed to go after they had been dispossessed of their belongings.
An eyewitness stated, “I was in another bus when it all happened and as soon as we saw what was happening, we all ran out from our vehicle.
“They had a field day and I can imagine that those, who were kidnapped, will suffer. I think the government should do everything to stem the tide.”
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, said he had yet to be briefed on the abduction of the eight passengers.
He stated that other kidnap attempts had been foiled in the state in the last four days.
Travellers fear going through Ondo
In Ondo State, there has been a surge in kidnapping for ransom in some local government areas of the state.
No fewer than 20 persons have been abducted in Owo, Akoko North-East and Okitipupa local government areas of the state recently, thereby causing panic among residents of the areas as well as travellers plying the affected routes.
Two weeks ago, 16 travellers were abducted by bandits at Uso on the Akure-Owo Expressway in the Owo Local Government Area.
The state police command said 10 of the victims were rescued by its personnel.
The state government expressed worry over the development and said it had put in place some measures to tame the menace.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, said, “The situation, as worrisome as it is, is under proper observation. As a government, it is unlikely that we divulge our strategy in combating this menace that is assuming a dangerous dimension.
“For now, every intelligence and surveillance architecture has been put in place to ensure that this ugly trend is stemmed. We are on top of it, I can assure you.”
Bandits now kidnap people few kilometres from Kaduna Govt House, says SOKAPU
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union has lambasted the Federal Government for saying that bandits have been degraded across the country.
The body said Dingyadi’s claim was laughable and showed that the minister was not in tune with reality.
SOKAPU described the statement as “shameful” and “irresponsible,” noting that the minister did not know the meaning of bandit.
SOKAPU’s National Public Relations Officer, Mr Luka Binniyat, said the experience in Southern Kaduna, and indeed the entire state, was that the bandits were getting more organised and daring.
Binniyat said in an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, “This clearly shows that the minister does not know the meaning of bandits. It’s like saying it’s snowing while under a scorching sun.
“Our experience in Southern Kaduna, and indeed, Kaduna State, is that they are getting more organised, more armed and bolder in impunity. They now raid people in the suburbs of Kaduna, a few kilometres from the Kaduna Government House, and kidnap in dozens.
“It’s really very upsetting to hear Dingyadi make such a statement, because this sounds very irresponsible. Hundreds of our communities are now occupied by armed men. This was never the case last year. The bandits are on the ground, expanding and conquering communities.”
Policemen abduction has exposed FG’s lie that bandits have been weakened – CSO
A member of a civil society organisation, the Centre for Liberty, Ralph Adebayo, said the pervasive insecurity in the country calls to question the essence of the Buhari regime.
The activist noted that hundreds of Nigerians were being abducted daily, stressing that the Federal Government under Buhari “has failed in its mandate of securing lives and property.”
Adebayo stated, “The disingenuous attitude of the Nigerian government is beginning to hurt its structures and people. What happened to the 12 ASPs is a reminder of what happens to the average Nigerian daily and the sad part is that the majority of the victims are unknown.
“That is why we keep saying that the government of Major General Muhammadu Buhari has failed. It not only failed to deliver on its mandate, but it has also failed to ameliorate the sufferings of the Nigerian people.
“Insecurity is worsening; inflation is rising; the economy is in a shambles; students are not in school and nothing is working. And so, you begin to question the essence of the Buhari regime, which cannot make the lives of the people better.”
The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, said the abduction of the senior police officers had put a lie to claims by the government that it had degraded the criminals.
He knocked the government for launching military action against peaceful protesters, while negotiating with bandits and terrorists.
Adeyanju stated, “It shows the hypocrisy, the cluelessness and the incompetence of this government that we have been talking about; they lie effortlessly. This is a government that has been negotiating with bandits in Katsina, Zamfara and terrorists in the North-East, but it is criminalising protests and attempting to regulate the social media.
“You can see how bandits and terrorists have overrun the country. It is regrettable and most unfortunate that the commander-in-chief is quick to deploy the military against peaceful protesters, but uses perfumes on bandits.”
Degrading of bandits, another political statement – Benue leaders
The leaders of Benue socio cultural groups, retired Comptroller of Prison Iorbee Ihagh, and a former public servant, Chief Edward Ujege, on Tuesday, described the claim by the Federal Government to have degraded bandits in the country as another political statement.
Ihagh, who is the Chairman of the pan socio cultural groups in Benue State, including Mdzough U Tiv, Ochtoha’Idoma and Omi’Ngede, said the claim was laughable when in actual fact many Nigerians were being killed on a daily basis.
Ihagh, who is the President-General, Mdzough U Tiv Worldwide, said the Buhari regime had a history of lies.
He stated, “How do you believe the administration that consistently deceives its citizens? Is it not the same thing they have been saying about Boko Haram?
“They keep telling us that Boko Haram has been degraded and now bandits, whereas the problem is escalating on a daily basis.
“We have not seen any degradation they talked about; there is no day that Nigerians are not killed; we are all witnesses to the manner in which America stormed Nigeria to rescue its kidnapped citizen.”
Similarly, Ujege decried the killing and abduction of Nigerians across the country.
“We read every day about killings and kidnapping of Nigerians, but their claim to have degraded bandits is purely to score a political point, but the truth is otherwise,” he stated.
Ujege advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts on the provision of security in the country, saying, “The provision of security is one of the main points of their campaign.”