The latest notable incident was the attack and killing of former Zamfara State governorship aspirant, Sagir Hamid, a former director with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the kidnapping of an unspecified number of travellers by bandits on Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi suspended construction work on the Effium axis of the Abakaliki ring road for one week following the kidnap of five of the workers on the road by unknown gunmen last month in Effium Community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State.
LEADERSHIP investigations show that between the months of July and November, about 935 victims were abducted in Kaduna State alone while other states across the country recorded pockets of kidnappings, too.
Our investigations also showed that over 454 innocent lives were lost in the period under review while about 91 bandits and kidnappers were also killed.
However, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday revealed that 996 Boko Haram /Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists surrendered to troops while 258 terrorists operating in the North-East and North-West geopolitical zones were neutralised by Nigerian forces, in the last two weeks.
The Kaduna State commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said at least 830 persons were kidnapped and 343 killed by bandits in Kaduna between July and September, 2021, while our investigations showed that, in October, 105 persons were abducted, bringing the total number of abducted victims to 935 persons. Aruwan said 69 bandits were killed by troops of the Nigerian Army within the period in the state.
Also, bandits who kidnapped about 66 worshippers at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Kakau Daji in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State on October 31, have killed two of the captors.
The worshippers were kidnapped when the bandits who came in large numbers invaded the church on October 31, 2021, during a religious service.
The chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph Hayab, confirmed the killing of two of the abducted 66 worshippers on Sunday. He also said three other victims were seriously injured by the bandits.
Some of the major kidnap incidents within the period include about 150 students who went missing after armed men in July raided their school in Kaduna State in July.
In September, news broke of the abduction of the Emir of Bungudu, Zamfara state, Alhaji Hassan Atto, and an unspecified number of commuters, along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
The Kaduna State police command confirmed the incident through the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, who had reported that “on September 14, at about 3:10 pm, the Kaduna Police Command received a tragic report of an attack and kidnapping incident around Dutse village along the Kaduna-Abuja Road.
“An unspecified number of people were suspected to have been kidnapped, while two others sustained varying degrees of injuries and are currently receiving medical treatment.
“Equally, available information indicated that the Emir of Bungudu, Zamfara State, His Royal Highness (HRH) Alhaji Hassan Atto, is among the people abducted to an unknown destination.”
Also on September 29, at least 32 people were killed in a week in northern Nigeria after armed groups attacked remote communities in two states.
Residents said the killings and the abduction of 24 people in Niger and Sokoto states were carried out by marauding gunmen operating across the northwest and central parts of Nigeria who are notorious for abducting hundreds of school children and travellers for ransom.
The attacks happened barely 48 hours after about 40 people were killed in North too.
In Niger State, assailants attacked Muya local government area on September 28, killing 14 people and abducting seven women, according to Garba Mohammed, the council chairman.
“These bandits invaded one of the communities around 2am, set the houses ablaze, burnt the people in their rooms while some of them [the attackers] were standing outside; those trying to escape were caught and slaughtered,” said Mohammed.
After the raid in Kachiwe village, the assailants went to two more communities nearby, killing two people they saw on their way, before killing 16 more residents, he added.
According to Amina al-Mustapha, a state lawmaker, during a similar attack in Sokoto state, 17 people were abducted from their homes in Sabon Birni local government area.
According to her, “We are under bandits now; we are suffering now, At least 60 per cent of about 500,000 residents in Sabon Birni have fled the community, some taking refuge in neighbouring Niger Republic which is just about 160km (100 miles) away.
Timeline of /Abductions
July 3, 2021: Bandits abduct 7 women, 4 children along Birnin Gwari Road
July 5, 2021: Boko Haram abducts Rev. Fr. Elijah Juma Wada of Catholic Diocese, Maiduguri.
July 5, 2021: Gunmen attack National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Centre in Kaduna, kidnap 8
July 5, 2021: 150 students abducted from Kaduna school
July 6, 2021: Gunmen kidnap 4 farmers in Ekiti
July 8, 2021: 16 kidnapped by gunmen in Damishi, Kaduna State
July 8, 2021: Bandits demand N220 million as ransom for 11 persons abducted from Anguwan Gimbiya, a suburb of Kaduna State
July 11, 2021: Emir of Kajuru, 13 family members, aides, kidnapped in Kaduna
July 13, 2021: Kogi monarch kidnapped
July 14, 2021: Wife of former LGA Chairman kidnapped in Jigawa
July 16, 2021: Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Hussaini Ahmed, killed, in-law kidnapped by bandits along Lokoja-Abuja highway.
July 18, 2021: Bandits kill one, abduct 7 in attack in Kaduna
July 18, 2021: Bandits attack two vehicles, abduct six occupants around Bade Forest in Kaduna
July 19, 2021: Gunmen kidnap medical doctor in Kogi
July 19, 2021: Five kidnap suspects set ablaze in Edo
July 19, 2021: Gunmen hijack boat, abduct 5 maritime union workers, 3 others in Rivers
July 19, 2021: Armed herders abduct, kill 2 aid workers, Gov Ortom’s relation, 5 others in Benue
July 21, 2021: Kidnappers abduct 38-year-old man in Jigawa
July 21, 2021: Bayelsa SSG’s mother kidnapped
July 25, 2021: Gunmen hijack 3 buses, kill 2, abduct 60 passengers in Sokoto
July 26, 2021: Bandits abduct monarch
August 3, 2021: Police kill three kidnappers, rescue commissioner’s wife and driver in Benue
August 5, 2021: Bandits kidnap father of Zamfara Assembly Speaker, five others
August 9, 2021: Gunmen kidnap Niger Commissioner for Information
August 9, 2021: Pastor, wife, 27 others kidnapped in Kwara
August 12, 2021: Gunmen abduct ex-councillor’s wife, 7-month-old son in Zamfara
September 14, 2021: Gunmen kidnapped Zamfara Emir and many others
September 6, 2021: Bandits abduct 8 people in the Keke community of Chikun local government area of Kaduna State.
September 13, 2021: Bandits kidnap Catholic priest at residence in Kaduna
September 29, 2021: At least 32 people killed, residents said 24 people were abducted in Niger and Sokoto States.
October 11, 2021: Many seminary students abducted
October 19, 2021: Bandits kidnap over 30 travellers in Rafi, Niger State
October 20, 2021: Two prospective corps members from Benue State alongside two others kidnapped in Zamfara State.
October 14, 2021: The police in Adamawa State arrested four bandits in connection with an attack on a police station and kidnapping of a mother with her daughter in the state.
October 18, 2021: Security forces Kill 10 bandits in Kaduna, while bandits kidnap three persons, kill one
October 31, 2021: 66 worshippers were kidnapped when the bandits who came in large numbers invaded the church during service.
November 1: Bandits attack Baptist Church in Kaduna, kill two, scores abducted
November 2: Gunmen kidnapped four staffers and two of their children from the University of Abuja.
Few days later, security operatives rescued all victims and killed some of the kidnappers.
November 13: The Commander of a Nigerian Army Special Forces team, a brigadier-general and three others were ambushed and killed by ISWAP terrorists in Borno State.
November 16: Bandits on rampage in Sokoto, Niger, kill 15, abduct many, set houses ablaze.
November 19: Seven killed, others injured as armed men attack Tor Donga in Benue state.
November 19: Seven workers of Lafrcdeen Pure Water Factory were kidnapped by gunmen in Sosoki Village, via Alapa.
They were later rescued on November 21.
November 22: Former Zamfara State governorship aspirant, Sagir Hamid, who was also a former director with the FCT, was killed and an unspecified number of travelers kidnapped on Kaduna-Abuja highway.
November 22: Bandits kill four in Katsina town.
November 24 : Kidnappers abduct 5 construction workers in Ebonyi State.
No Rest For You Until Nigerians Enjoy Peace, PMB Tells Security Agencies
President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to the security chiefs, telling them they must not rest until all Nigerians are at peace.
The minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, stated this yesterday at the end of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the president after receiving the briefs from all security chiefs appreciated the successes and gains recorded by all of them.
He said the president ordered the armed forces and other security agencies and intelligence organisations not to rest on their oars notwithstanding the progress and efforts being made to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and all the other criminalities
He said, “He (President Buhari) believes that more must and should still be done. But he commended all of them for the progress we are recording on all fronts.
“The president said that we are not yet where we should be. That Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And that until we achieve that we will not rest.”
The minister said President Buhari was particularly pleased with the outcome of the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
“The President was particularly happy that a free and fair gubernatorial election was held in Anambra. And he was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies, from the military to the police and all the other agencies, made that possible with the support of the people and the government of Anambra.
“We all saw the outcome. With that, there is no doubt as to the commitment of our administration to promoting democracy, and ensuring that 2023 is not in any way threatened.”
The Interior minister further stated that Buhari was also particularly happy with the news that the head of Interpol, National Central Bureau, assistant inspector general of police, Garba Umar, has been elected vice president (Africa) and Executive Committee member of the International Criminal Police Organisation – Interpol.
Aregbesola said: “And the council was briefed about the election today of a Nigerian, AIG Garba Umaru, who emerged out of the four other candidates as the vice president of Interpol for Africa, which means that a Nigerian today represents the 54 African nations at the Interpol level.
“The election took place today (yesterday), a couple of hours ago, and he emerged as the vice president of Interpol in Africa, representing the 54 African nations. That too was discussed, appreciated and applauded.”
Asked if the resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highways was discussed at the meeting, Aregbesola said: “Oh, yes. The police and other security agencies had been mobilised to intensify surveillance and patrol in pursuit of the criminals. And it’s not only about Abuja-Kaduna.
“Yes, Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically, but we appreciated the fact that we are in the season of festivities. So, all agencies committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order have been ordered to improve on their activities, intensify surveillance and minimise, if not eliminate totally, any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria.”
Asked if the military or the police will be taking the lead, he said: “Police, as I said, is the lead agency on internal security. So whatever I’ve said about maintenance of law and order will start with the police and then extend to all the other security agencies, certainly.”
Asked if the issue of bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some areas in the country was discussed, he said: “Specific orders have been given to all our security agencies, and we’ll see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form and creating insecurity in whatever form anywhere.
“The council today made a firm decision on what to do and I can assure Nigerians that with the charge from the president and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces today, there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.”
Asked if there was a new strategy to that effect as this will not be the first time such marching orders would be given by President Buhari, the minister said: “But what I know is that for as long as there is life, we must not rest until our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerians is made possible.
“So, I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies, from the military to the police, intelligence organisations, and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”
Before the commencement of the meeting, President Buhari with the assistance of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had decorated his Aide De Camp (ADC), Lt Col Yusuf Mukhtar Dodo, with his new rank of colonel.
996 Terrorists Surrender, 258 Killed In North-East, North-West In 2 Weeks – DHQ
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has revealed that 996 Boko Haram terrorists (BHT)/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) surrendered to troops while 258 terrorists operating in the North-East and North-West geopolitical zones were neutralised by Nigerian forces.
The acting director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, disclosed this during the bi-weekly update on the Armed Forces operations across the country from 11-25 November, 2021.
He said the troops rescued 47 kidnapped victims from terrorists and armed bandits, and arrested 73 criminal elements.
In the North-East, he said troops of Operation Hadin Kai carried out extensive land and air offensives leading the neutralisation of 140 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and recovered large caches of arms and ammunition.
Brigadier-general Onyeuko said 98 assorted weapons, including AK-47 rifles, were recovered, while 21 terrorists were arrested along Biu-Damboa road and seven kidnapped victims rescued.
He added that a notorious terrorist who had been on the watch list, Haladu Saleh, said a wanted Boko Haram member, Haladu Saleh, was arrested in Baga axis in Borno State, alongside two drug peddlers.
“In the course of these operations, no fewer than 90 terrorists were neutralized, with 21 of them arrested. Also, 98 assorted weapons, including AK-47 rifles and 2,589 rounds of ammunition were recovered within the period. Additionally, seven kidnapped civilians were rescued, while a total of 996 BHT elements and their families, comprising 203 adult males, 302 adult females and 491 children, surrendered to our troops at different locations in Borno State,” he said.
The director said all recovered items had been handed appropriately and rescued persons reunited with their families, while arrested and surrendered terrorists had been profiled and handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
In the North West, he said troops of Operation Hadarin Daji arrested 12 armed bandits and logistics suppliers, namely, Alhaji Lawal Auwalu, Ibrahim Tayo and Alhaji Dahiru Abubakar, etc., killed 118 and rescued five kidnapped victims.
Those killed, he said, include a bandit kingpin Bello Guda Turji, his subordinate commander, Bello Buza, and others operating in Sokoto State.
He said, “Cumulatively, a total of 12 criminal elements were arrested; 118 armed bandits were neutralized and five kidnapped civilians were rescued; while 26 assorted arms and 194 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition were recovered within the period.”
Furthermore, General Onyeuko said troops of Operation Safe Haven rescued 38 kidnapped victims, arrested 45 and killed three.
The troops also recovered six assorted arms, 13 rounds of 7.62mm as well as several sacks of cannabis sativa and 200 livestock, among other items.
In a related development, troops of Operation Whirl stroke arrested seven armed bandits, killed seven and rescued five kidnapped victims and recovered 10 AK47 rifles and 45 rounds of ammunition.
On the fight against oil thieves, he said troops of Operation Delta Safe Haven sustained the land, maritime and air operations to contain the illegal oil production as well as forestall activities of vandals and other economic saboteurs in the South-South Zone.
In the course of these operations, troops discovered and immobilised 41 illegal refining sites, 33 ovens, 24 cooking pots/boilers, 8 cooling systems, 32 reservoirs, 43 large dugout pits and 93 storage tanks.
“Consequently, a total of 795,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, 60,000 litres of DPK and 5,420 litres of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations. In addition, 26 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period,” he said
The director said troops recovered a total of 27 assorted arms and 586 rounds of assorted ammunition in the course of the operations.