The spate of kidnapping in the last three months across the South-West is becoming worrisome despite the advent of the Western Security Network codenamed Amotekun by the South-West governors.
Though kidnap cases have been on the increase, Amotekun, in collaboration with the police, Department of State Service, DSS and other security agencies, have worked round the clock to rescue victims from kidnappers’ dens.
In Ondo State, there have been countless abductions over the last three months. While some victims were rescued alive, others died at the hands of their captors.
Unfortunately, in one of the abductions, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who was abducted by bandits, Mr. Bamidele Emmanuel Isibor, was shot dead.
Isibor, 62, a father of five was a member of the state executive committee of the party. He was attacked in the company of three others on their way from Imoru to Ifon, the headquarters of Ose Council Area of the state.
They were heading back to Ifon after a church programme when five armed men attacked them.
The late party chieftain died of gunshot wounds.
Also, 13 passengers on transit from Abuja en route to Lagos were abducted by 10 gunmen at a bad portion of the Ifira-Akoko highway in Akoko South-East area of Ondo State at about 6:30 pm.
Although, Amotekun claimed it rescued the victims but it was gathered that the bandits took three of the victims away including two women and a man.
They immediately sent words to the family of one of the victims requesting for N10 million ransom before she could be released.
The father of one of the victims, Ojo Fajana said: “The kidnappers demanded N10 million and they were given rigid instructions. Something went out of my pocket.”
Another case was the kidnap of a 14-year-old JSS 2 student, Felix Adekunle of Furaben International College Owo, in Owo Council Area of the state, who was kidnapped while hawking slippers after school hours and a 12-year-old groundnut seller, Abibat Saani in Ofosu, Ore in Odigbo Council Area of the state.
Their parents reportedly parted with an undisclosed amount of money as ransom before they were released.
Similarly, last weekend, gunmen abducted a university lecturer, Mayowa David Adinlewa and demanded N10 million ransom.
Adinlewa, who is of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko, AAUA, was abducted along bad Akure-Ikere Ekiti road.
The victim’s brother, Toyin confirmed that the kidnappers opened a line of communication with the family and demanded N10 million ransom.
Within the week, a family of four on a religious trip was again abducted at Iju-Itagbolu in Akure North Council Area of the state.
The family, including the father, his two children and another family member were abducted while on transit from Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state to attend a religious programme in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Three other passengers in the vehicle escaped.
Findings by Vanguard indicated that relations and family members of victims may have parted with almost N10 million as ransom to kidnappers within the last three months in the state.
When contacted, the state commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye said that the security outfit was working in synergy with the DSS and Police to rid the state of criminal elements.
Adeleye, who noted that the state security network agency would make the state uncomfortable for criminals and make it crime-free, said they have foiled 35 kidnap cases.
He said: “We have arrested no fewer than 400 suspected criminals in the ongoing Operation Clean up across the state.
“We started from the state capital and combed all the black spots and made over 400 arrests before we headed to the local government areas and concentrated on the Northern Senatorial District where we embarked on 24 hours patrol.
“We engaged the services of local hunters and vigilante to join our men and patrol the forest. Substantially, we were also able to drive out the bad guys in recent times. You will find out that most of the kidnap cases you get nowadays are at the border.
“We have put out searchlight and we have mapped out security strategies to checkmate the activities of those bad people. But we are checking them.
“We want to ensure that all persons travelling along the highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forests, inland waterways, and sea are free to carry out their normal social and economic activities without fear or hindrance.”
We’re not aware of the demand, payment of ransom —Police
Also reacting, the state Police Command spokesperson, Funmilayo Odunlami said the Command’s anti-kidnapping unit was on top of the situation.
Odunlami said that several suspected kidnappers have been arrested and charged to court.
On payment of ransom by victims, Odunlami said: “I don’t know anything about the ransom demand.”
Retired AVM, 4 others abducted in Lagos
It is the same story as there seems to be a resurgence in kidnapping in Lagos, following the abduction of five persons, including Air Vice-Marshal Sikiru Smith, retd, in two days.
Vanguard gathered that retired AVM Smith was abducted at about 6 pm on Monday, September 27, 2021, at a site near Blenco Mall on Addo Road, Ajah area of Lagos.
The gunmen, who were hooded, announced their presence with sporadic gunshots before abducting him.
He was said to have put up some resistance, demanding to know who the intruders were but were overpowered and dragged into the kidnappers’ speedboat.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen released some shots into the air to scare people, thus causing a stampede among passers-by who scampered in different directions to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
While the operation lasted, his driver, Corporal Odiji, was absent, as he was said to have gone on an errand for his boss.
RCCG pastor, wife, others abducted
Aside from the retired Air Chief, other persons also fell victim to kidnapping in Lagos, including a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and his wife. The kidnappers intercepted their vehicle at Dopemu, Agege area of Lagos, on their way home.
The kidnappers, it was gathered, fired some shots into the air, dragged the couple’s driver out of the car and forced him into one of their operational cars.
His wife has been released by the gunmen after an unspecified amount was paid as ransom.
The abductors were said to have demanded N50 million for her husband’s release.
In another attack, a man with an unknown identity was kidnapped by hooded gunmen on Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, 24 hours earlier, another Pastor, Kingsley Ogbuagu, was also kidnapped by unknown gunmen near Catholic Church of the Visitation, Festac Town, last Sunday.
Ogbuagu had parked his car and was about to enter the church when three masked gunmen dragged and bundled him into a waiting Lexus SUV and drove off.
Vanguard learned that the Lekki-Ajah axis is prone to kidnap attacks, some of which the Police have botched.
Vanguard also gathered that the kidnappers pose as private taxi drivers, only to take their unsuspecting passengers to unknown destinations.
13 people kidnapped in Ogun
In Ogun State, no fewer than 13 persons were kidnapped by suspected gunmen between July and September 2021, while about 12 kidnappers were arrested during the period under review by the state command of the Nigeria Police. Also, one policeman lost his life in one of the operations, while three kidnappers were killed during a gun duel with the police.
Analysis of series of kidnappings in the state within the three months under review showed that a retired lecturer of Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, Fasasi Olanigan, was kidnapped while travelling from Abeokuta to Imasai in Yewa North Local Government Area of the state.
In August, a Swiss national and his Nigerian driver were abducted after a gunfight between the victim’s police escort and unknown attackers, while coming from a farm on the Ibese-Itori road.
Also, the 25-year-old son of a former National Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association, Adewunmi Alayaki; Ademola Alayaki was kidnapped at his father’s farm in Isaga Orile, Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state and demanded N20 million ransom before freeing Ademola.
In September, an eight-month pregnant woman and two others were kidnapped along Igbo-Ora-Sokoto road in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state and demanded a ransom of N30 million. Also, three workers of Obasanjo Holdings in Kobape, Obafemi/Owode Local Government were kidnapped by unknown gunmen around Seseri village.
The abductees were the company’s Financial Controller, the Group Auditor and the Group Store Manager.
The Police, however, made headway as men of the State Command of the Nigeria Police arrested 10 suspected kidnappers.
While five of the kidnappers were arrested in Ogere-Remo while trying to collect N3.5m ransom for an eight-year-old boy, Sadiq Abass, they had kidnapped, others were arrested in different locations in the state.
No cause to fear—Ogun Amotekun boss
Reacting to the series of kidnappings in the state, Ogun State Commander of Amotekun Corps, Mr. David Ajibola Akinremi, has said that the corps was established to serve the people of the state
Akinremi said: “Amotekun has always been collaborating with other security agencies in the state to ensure the security of lives and property, especially when issues like kidnapping occur. I want to assure our people that they have no cause to fear. The governor had given a mandate and we are ready to ensure the actualisation of that mandate. That is to say, we assure of protection of lives and property for everybody living in the state.
“There is no security without human beings and no human beings without security. It is a symbiotic relationship. The work of security agencies at whatever level cannot be done without the support of the people.
“That is why we want to build a people-oriented organisation.
“As we all know, security is everybody’s business and we must all join hands to ensure a safe environment. They should collaborate with us.”
In Osun State, there was no incident of kidnapping reported in the last three months.
The Amotekun Corps Commandant in Osun State, Brig. Gen. Bashir Adewinmbi (retd), said this is largely due to surveillance and past successes in tackling kidnapping in the state.
Adewinmbi said: “Presently, there is no case of kidnapping reported so far. I believe, to a large extent, it was due to past successes security agencies achieved in rescuing victims of kidnap in the state.
“Amotekun is not doing this alone, we work with other security operatives and local hunters in areas where such incidents occurred to trail suspects and in most cases, rescue victims.
“More importantly, recently at the inauguration of Amotekun Corps in the state, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola also announced the engagement of vigilante groups on intelligence gathering to forestall any form of criminality.’
Vanguard News Nigeria
Why FG Should Not Declare Bandits, Terrorists – Gumi
Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has revealed that declaring bandits as terrorists will come at a price, which will result in the involvement of the foreign Jihadist movement.
According to Gumi in a statement titled, ‘Declaring Bandits As Terrorists Will Come With A Prize,’ the moment they are termed as terrorists, unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive and join the terrorist group.
The statement read, “Nobody doubts that sentimentalism today overrides sensibility in our polity. For the sake of posterity, some people will have to speak out.
“The acts the bandits are committing now in NW have gradually over time become tantamount to terrorism because wherever innocent people are fatal victims it’s pure terrorism. Yet, innocence these days is relative. We agreed if their children and women are also killed, they are guilty by association or collateral damage, so also the bandits may think the same way.
“It’s right for vigilantes to lynch Fulanis herdsmen or anyone that looks like them by profiling but wrong for the herdsmen to ransack villages in retribution. They are pushed to believe it is an existential war and in war, ethics are thrown to the winds.
“Yet again, the only helpful part that is against bandits is that no other than them are attracted to join them in the NW because of its ethnic tinge and coloration. However, the moment they are termed Terrorist – Islamic for that matter, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in in force.
“And many teaming unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive. Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ plus AK47 against a ‘secular’ immoral society where impunity reigns are the magnet for extremists and downtrodden – the majority of our youth.
““Already these deadly terrorist groups are fighting for the soul of these bandits. This will give criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim. In such a situation, does the larger society -as it is- has the moral high ground to fight back? This is the most probable consequence, the price of which is not worth it. Nothing stops the kinetic actions from going on without the controversy of semantics.”
BREAKING: Delta community shuts Agip station over poor environment
A community in Delta State, Tuomo, host to Nigeria Agip Oil Company, in Burutu local government area, has shut down its oil/gas facility over breach of agreement and failure to provide basic necessities for the community.
The community folk, including men, women, youths and the elderly, armed with placards, trooped out and besieged the facility in a protest, Monday, chanting battle songs and calling on the management of NAOC to do the needful.
Some inscriptions on the placards read: “we say no to Agip, enough is enough, Agip, provide our light, no light no work, Tuomo community will not allow Agip to work until we get our light, bye-bye to Agip among others.
Chairman of Tuomo community, Mr Tomke Binebai, who led the protest, said: “Tuomo people have taken their decision against Agip and we’ll remain here until our demands are met.
“Agip has been promising and deceiving us since their operation here in 2009, they promised to provide light for Tuomo as their host. If you go to their station, there’s steady electricity supply but their host community is in total darkness.
“Enough of this insult and embarrassment, we’ve taken our decision and if they really want to operate here, let them light up Tuomo, pay the surveillance chances, employ our youths and adhere to the GMoU.
“It’s ridiculous to say that since inception, Agip has not employed a single youth in this community, they have been dribbling us and we’ve decided that we have come to stay in our own land where Agip is occupying”.
How the story of Kano blind teacher changed for good
At the beginning of the year, Dahuru neither had his personal house nor a paid employment.
But things changed for better after a Daily Trust report brought him to the limelight.
The report had focused on how he did not allow his physical impairment to hinder his quest for education as well as to contribute his quota to the society.
A philanthropist had earlier reached out after the Daily Trust story published on September 25 and bought a three-bedroom apartment for Dahuru and his family, who were hitherto living in a rented house.
The state government, through its commissioner for education, Muhammad Sanusi Sa’id Kiru, also reached out on Saturday following the publication of a video of Dahuru on Daily Trust platforms.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who met with Dahuru on Sunday in his office in company of the commissioner, asked the young blind teacher what he wanted the state government to do for him, to which he (Dahuru) reiterated his earlier appeal for a permanent and pensionable employment.
Ganduje thereafter directed Dahuru to be offered a permanent and pensionable teaching job Special Education School, Tudun Maliki on Grade 7(2).
This is the same school Dahuru had his primary and secondary education.
A provisional offer of employment was immediately printed and offered to Dahuru at the office of the state’s commissioner of education pending the formalization of his employment by the Office of the Head of Civil Service.
The commissioner told Daily Trust that immediately he saw the trending report online on Saturday, he started looking for way to reach out to the blind teacher and fortunately he got through to him through this reporter.
“There and then I called Excellency, the governor, and briefed him about it and he requested that I should bring him to give him words of encouragement.
“To God be the glory his Excellency has seen him and blessed him with words of encouragement and appreciated his courage. Though a blind person but educated up to NCE (and now studying for a degree)
“Having been impressed with the good determination of the gentleman, His Excellency directed that I should offer him employment as a teacher on grade level 7 and to post him to Tudun Maliki Special Education school. So Dahuru is now an employed teacher with Kano State Ministry of Education.”
He said the governor’s gesture was encouraging with the hope that more people like Dahuru will emulate the young blind teacher.
“I also want to congratulate Dahuru for this exceptional appointment, at this very hard time, for somebody to get employment is highly encouraging.
“I also thank Daily Trust for doing this humanitarian story, especially the reporter and their editors. You have done an excellent job and God Almighty will reward you”, the commissioner said.
Daily Trust reports that Dahuru is currently studying at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) on a full scholarship courtesy of Professor Uba Abdallah, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the institution.
Similarly, following Saturday’s publication of Dahuru’s video, Near Foundation offered him a N10,000 monthly transportation support till the end of his study at NOUN.
Days earlier, a philanthropist, who asked not to be named, had bought a house for him at a destination closed to the school where Dahuru was volunteering.
The house was also furnished by the philanthropist.
Recalled that Dahuru was featured in the Daily Trust’s September 25 Encounter page of the weekend title
The story had captured Dahuru’s struggles in life and how he overcame the challenges to become educated and a contributor to the development of others.
In the story, Dahuru narrated how he withstood the rigours to earn himself a National Certificate of Education (NCE) and secured scholarship into a degree program to further his ambition to one day become a lecturer.
After the story, the philanthropist had reached out to Dahuru through Daily Trust and the outcome of their meeting was a new home for Dahuru and his family as well as some cash gifts.
From that day, the blind volunteer teacher said he could not sleep properly and had almost sleepless nights for the change that came to him which he never dreamt of.
According to him, since the time he was handed the papers of the house, he sees it as a dream and could not believe he is now a property owner.
“I still see it as a dream, unless if I remember the man and what he said when we visited his house.
“I have been struggling to get what is better but never thought of getting a house as nice as this one. Though I cannot see but I feel its beauty in me. Many people have said it. My elder brother has been talking about it all these days. To be honest with you, this is the talk of the town in our area, our house and the neighborhood.”
Dahuru’s family said they were surprised further when the philanthropist sent some people to bring furniture for their new home.
“I doubt if we have this type of people in the world. While we are celebrating the purchase of the house, we just received a call that the man said we should wait for the furniture. To our surprised he sent his boys with three sets of new furniture for the three rooms. This is beyond imagining in our minds. We have no words to thank him enough, may Allah reward him abundantly and may the gentle souls of his parents rest in eternal peace,” Dahuru’s mother said while praying continuously for the man.
His father, who has been suffering from an ailment for years, said Dahuru is a blessing to his family and has brought a lot of development that they never thought of getting.
“We don’t have a house, we live in rent house. The house we are living presently is uncompleted and some parts are fenced with roofing iron. But today just like a dream we have our own well-furnished house, with electricity and all other things needed. We thank Almighty Allah for this change that come to our life.
“We also thank the man who did this for us. We don’t know him yet, and we asked if we could go and thank him but he said no. So wherever he is, we wish him the best. We will forever be grateful to him and we will never stop praying for him, his parents and entire family.
“For you (our reporter) and Daily Trust that have been the source of this life changing gift to us, we want to say thank you. We wish the Daily Trust and its entire staff the best. You will remain in our history forever,” the old man said in tears.
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