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Bandits kill policeman, kidnap five in Niger

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Bandits have killed a policeman and kidnapped five others in attacks in Shiroro and Rafi local governments of Niger State.

One person was injured in the attack at Chukuba community in Shiroro council. Several cattle were stolen.

The attacks came just as Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, said most of the bandits operating in the North were from Mali and Sudan.

The bandits stormed the community, leaving the villagers confused and devastated.

The Chairman of Shiroro Local Government, Suleiman Chukuba, confirmed the incident during a telephone interview.

He appealed to the Federal Government to assist the council.

Another bandit attack occurred in Rafi Local Government during which five people were abducted.

The bandits reportedly invaded Rigo village in Rafi Local Government Area in their normal style of riding motorcycles and shooting sporadically at people.

At the end of the raid, which sources said lasted for about two hours, five people were kidnapped.

Police spokesman ASP Wasiu Abiodun, promised to get back with information on the attacks.

Governor Bello told journalists on Wednesday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa that the bandits were recruited through Facebook, a social networking platform.

Niger has recorded high incidents of banditry and kidnapping.

The governor said he asked the president for help against banditry and the repair of deplorable roads in the state.

“The situation is very bad. Niger is 73,000 square kilometers. It’s the size of the entire south-south and south-east,” he said.

Bello also said, “We have a limited number of security personnel and I think we have to start thinking of increasing the number so that we are able to cover most of the local government within the state.

“Some of our local governments are up to 6,000 to 7,000 square kilometers. For example, the Bobi Grazing Reserve, established by the state government, the CBN and the federal government to stop the movement of cattle and avoid herders/farmers conflict, has become a target.

“We are having an influx of bandits from neighbouring states, especially Zamfara and Kaduna states. It is difficult to patrol those areas because vehicles do not go there and it is a forest, which means we will need the federal might, especially the air force.

“By the way, the air force has been doing well in recent times to support our ground operations. In one particular case, we arrested bandits that are foreigners from as far as Sudan and Mali and they came on motorcycles.

“They are being recruited through social media, through Facebook in some cases. They confessed to this. They governor said the activities of bandits differ from place to place.”

The governor said the bandits are trying to deprive the country of food security by burning farms.

“I can understand if you kidnap, you are looking for money. But, when you burn farms, then, there is something else happening. Or when you kill animals. They go to villages and kill animals. They don’t steal,” he said.

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Gunmen abduct 30 travellers in three vehicles from Niger

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About 30 travellers were on Wednesday abducted by gun in three different vehicles in Niger State.

But the Niger police command said only 13 travellers were abducted at Konar Barau village in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state.

Niger Commissioner of Police, Monday Kuryas, confirmed the incident in an interview with NAN in Minna, the state capital.

According to him, the Divisional Police Officer of Zungeru reported that one Mubarak Idris of Kwanawa village, Sokoto state, reported the matter to the police “at about 1530 hours”.

Idris, identified as the driver of a bus with registration number LGT 12 XWX, was said to have been conveying 18 passengers from Yauri in Kebbi state, when the incident occurred.

The travellers, mostly fishermen, were said to be on their way to Yenagoa in Bayelsa state, when they were attacked.

The police said Idris reported that on getting to a sharp bend at Konar Barau along the Tegina-Minna road, some “suspected bandits in military uniform” attacked the vehicle and took away 13 passengers and his “motor boy”.

The driver also said the gunmen dispossessed him of N131,500.

Speaking on the development, the police commissioner said a manhunt for the victims had commenced.

He also urged residents to come forward should they have useful information that could lead to the arrest of the gunmen.

He said, “We appeal to residents to volunteer reliable information that could aid in apprehending miscreants in the state. We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the protection of lives and property in our area of supervision.

“All we require from residents is vital intelligence information that could aid the security personnel deployed across the state on movement of dubious characters in their midst for necessary security action.”

The development is coming months after over 100 pupils were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, located in the same LGA where the travellers were kidnapped.

The children regained their freedom after spending 16 weeks with their abductors, but six of the pupils died in captivity.

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Updated: #EndSARS memorial protests rock Lagos, Abuja, two arrested at Lekki tollgate

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Youth group leaders, entertainers and activists on Wednesday staged protests in major cities of the countries including Lagos, Abuja and Enugu in memory of victims of last year’s #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The police arrested at least two protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos during the EndSARS memorial protest.

The police had repeatedly warned against the EndSARS memorial protest and deployed armed security operatives to the tollgate. But the organisers of the protest said there was no going back and some persons on Wednesday morning converged around the tollgate where protesters were forcefully dispersed exactly one year ago.

The arrests on Wednesday, it was learnt, were made by the armed police who had stormed the area to enforce no protest order earlier issued by the security authorities.

One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist and the other was seen carrying a placard.

Protesters in Lagos used their vehicles to protest, shouting that they want a better Nigeria.

In Abuja and Enugu, protesters reportedly stormed major streets, carrying different placards and shouting #Endsars and police brutality in Nigeria. Some of the inscriptions on their placards are “We will never forget 20-10-20”, “Endsars” and “End Police Brutality”.

In Abuja, Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters, was seen campaigning against police brutality.

In Lagos, Charley Boy, popular singer and song writer, Folarin Falana aka Falz, rapper, songwriter and actor joined protesters in Lekki remembering those that allegedly died last year during EndSARS protests.

Falz wrote via Twitter, “365 days ago, Nigerian citizens were shot and killed at the toll gate by our own military men.

“Today, we honour them because they have sacrificed their very existence for a cause bigger than all of us. They live forever in our hearts.”

Debo Adebayo, a comedian popularly known as Mr Macaroni was also one of those that led the EndSARS vehicular procession at Lekki tollgate.

The organisers had announced the procession on their Instagram handles on Tuesday.

“In memory of those who died that day and those we have lost to police brutality, we will: drive through the toll gate from 8-10 am; blast our horns in unison as we drive through and wave our flags,” the information on the e-flier read in part.

Around 9am, the entertainers joined by some youths rode in a convoy, waving flags at journalists and security operatives at the tollgate.

They said the procession was in memory of the EndSARS protest which ended controversially on October 20, 2020.

Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had said his men would only allow any procession of vehicles around Lekki, or any form of protest and had deployed officers in the area.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s licence and other documents were taken away from him.

He spoke from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, identifying himself as Abisola.

A report by the Punch said about 30 police trucks and armed personnel were stationed at the tollgate.

It also reported a car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed the EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.

The Lekki tollgate was where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.

The protest was later said to have been hijacked by hoodlums, leading to destruction of private and public properties in other parts of Lagos.

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Missing journalist: Group threatens showdown, gives seven-day ultimatum

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The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South-East zone has threaten to stage massive protest should the police fail to find missing Tordue Salem, a journalist with Vanguard newspaper within seven days. Salem covers the House of Representatives for Vanguard newspaper.

It gave the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies in the country a seven-day ultimatum to find the journalist.

The ultimatum is contained in a statement released on Tuesday by Goodluck Egwu Ibem, President General of the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders.

The group said it received with “rude shock the news of the sudden disappearance of Tordue Salem since October 13, in Abuja.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Command­er-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to activate all necessary machinery to ensure that everything is done to ensure the safe return of Tordue Salem.

Ibem said, “If we don’t see Tordue Salem after seven working days, we will stage a one-million-man protest until he returns safely to his family. The time has started counting,” Ibem posited.

“This kind of story is totally unacceptable to us and we demand that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies “must” find Tordue Salem and hand him over to his family within the next seven working days.”

He also said, “These seven days ultimatum given by us to the IGP and other security agencies to find Salam is not negotiable.

“The IGP must prove his mettle by bringing back Salem to his family. No form of excuse will be entertained. The IGP and other security agen­cies must find Salem immediately.”

The coalition insisted that any form of attack on any journalist is an attack on the entire society.

“They are the backbone of our democracy and any attack on them is an attack against all Nigerians and non-Nigerians,” he said.

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