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Police uncover illegal military training camp in Lagos – Arrest 108 suspects

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The Lagos State Police Command has uncovered a training camp used by an illegal Military outfit known as the Nigerian Merchant Navy, in the Ogudu Stanfield area of the State.

Commanding Officer of the unit,  Sunday Dakare, 47, was arrested alongside  107 youths: both males and females between ages 19 and 47, who were undergoing training.

Parading the suspects who were clad in what looked like the Nigerian Navy camouflage, at the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, yesterday, the command boss, Hakeem Odumosu,  said that the command embarked on intensive surveillance of the camp and its activities, following what he described as credible actionable intelligence on the illegal activities of the outfit, before it carried out a well-coordinated overt operation at the training camp, at the early hours of yesterday.

Odumosu explained that  “During the raid which was coordinated by the Operations Department of the Command, the following items were recovered: several military accoutrements including, camouflage, badges of ranks, flag, signboard, ID cards.

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Other items recovered include recruitment letters, promotion letters, a portrait of the Commanding Officer, two motorcycles, one plasma TV, three cutlasses, criminal charms and other items.

“In the course of interrogation, it was discovered that the Nigerian Merchant Navy also called the COASTAL DEFENCE FORCE has been operating illegally since 2005”.

He recalled that the Nigerian Merchant Navy has since been outlawed by the Federal Government and therefore, said it was illegal for anyone to operate such a military outfit and give military training to unsuspecting young Nigerians.

He said, “ this trend portends danger for our Nation and a threat to peace and security. It, therefore, behoves us as a law enforcement agency to enforce such law banning activities of the illegal military outfit.

I want to use this medium to warn other individuals or groups still operating such illegal outfits in any part of the State to close it forthwith. Anyone nursing the plan to operate such an outlawed security outfit is advised in his own interest to rescind the decision or face the full wrath of the law. The police will not hesitate to clamp down on them and their operators and bring them to book”.

He, therefore, urged members of the public with useful information on anyone operating a clandestine military outfit or training camp to inform the police for urgent necessary action, adding that the suspects would be charged to court.

Suspects speak

However, the suspects who seemed oblivious of the offence showed no remorse, Rather, they maintained that moves were on to legalise the outfit, by the Federal Government,  just like the  Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The Commanding Officer, Dakare, expressed shock at Police action, questioning the rationale behind it.

He said, ” I don’t know why they will arrest us. Efforts are on to legalise the Nigeria Merchant Navy as obtained elsewhere in the world.  Besides, the uniform we are wearing is not Military camouflage, it is not Navy best, it is Marine Navy and we are not operating yet.  Other countries have Coast guards and that is our role.

We are not being paid, we are only undergoing training while we await Federal Government’s consent”.

On her part, a lady who simply gave her name as Sultan,   said “We enrolled online. What we are doing is to seek our rights. The work of the Nigerian Merchant Navy is to secure the sea, tackle sea robbery and fight piracy.

The bill is before the National Assembly, it has passed the second reading and we are waiting for the third reading. Buhari is aware of this, the House of Reps didn’t kick against it when it was presented for reading.

I was surprised when the Police came to raid our camp. I don’t want to believe we were arrested because of the outfit, it could be because the land we are using as camp belongs to a foreigner.

The things the Police displayed as exhibits are not criminal ”.

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Lagos corporal beats up senior officer over traffic

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Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin

There was a mild drama on Saturday at the Simbiat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos State, as a police corporal assaulted his superior during an argument.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the yet-to-be-identified corporal had confronted the superior officer, who was identified as Supol Edgar, for allegedly causing traffic at the junction linking the Awolowo Way.

This led to an argument, as the corporal punched Edgar.

Our correspondent learnt that the policeman did not know Edgar was a police officer who resided in a barracks close to the scene.

During the confrontation, Edgar reportedly reached out to his colleagues in the barracks, who stormed out and bundled the policeman into their premises.

Our correspondent, who was at the scene of the incident, observed as the corporal was forcefully dragged into the police barracks.

An eyewitness, who identified himself only as Stanley for security reasons, said the problem was caused by a tricycle rider, who tried to navigate through some vehicles at the junction.

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He said, “The Supol tried to caution a tricycle rider who tried to make his way past some vehicles and that led to the traffic jam. But when the corporal saw what was happening, he angrily rushed out of his car to confront him for causing a delay. That was how the argument started between them and even when the senior officer was telling him that he was also a police officer, he did not hear him out, as he kept on slapping and punching him. That was when the Supol called someone in the barracks and they came to carry him.”

A traffic warden, who was at the spot and begged not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the officer did not reveal his identity on time before the matter escalated.

He said, “I was controlling traffic when I saw a man arguing with someone in the tricycle. I approached him to know what was happening but he refused to answer me. I left him to continue what I was doing. It was later that I saw that traffic had started building up and by the time I went back to check what caused it, I saw both of them dragging each other.”

Our correspondent also observed that before the corporal was taken into the barracks, he was stripped of his clothes and asked to kneel, while other senior officers in the barracks gathered around him.

Edgar threatened to lock him up at the Area F Police Command.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said he was not aware of the incident.

He promised to respond after making enquiries. He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

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Just In: Bandits kill three, abduct scores in Taraba

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Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba

Bandits on Sunday night attacked and killed three persons while scores were reportedly abducted by the attackers in Bali town, the headquarters of Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Several sources in Bali told our correspondent on the phone that the attackers who rode on motorcycles attacked and killed personnel of Taraba Marshall at a checkpoint near General Hospital before proceeding to individual houses to kill and abduct people.

The Tiv central leader and Chief of Tiv in Bali, Zaki David Gbaa (Ter Tiv Bali II) told our correspondent that two of his subjects were killed and scores, mostly women, were abducted in the attack.

“The attackers invaded the town at about 11: pm. Two of my subjects were killed in the attack, and two others who were badly injured are receiving treatment in the hospital.

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“Many people, especially women, were abducted. It’s a terrible situation and I want to call on the government and security agencies to sit up and ensure the protection of the lives and property of citizens.

“For over four hours, the bandits held the town shooting sporadically and there was no response from security agencies. People are losing hope of the government’s ability to protect them and I think the bandits are no more than our security agencies,” he said.

This is even as the traditional ruler called on the government to support the injured who are receiving treatment in hospitals.

The attack came barely three days after bandits blocked the Mutum-Biyu- Garba Chede road killing a driver and abducting passengers in the neighbouring Gassol Local Government area of the state.

Efforts to get the Police to react to the attack failed as the Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Usman, did not pick up calls made to his line.

But a police officer in the Taraba State Police Command told our correspondent that the PPRO was attending a security briefing.

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NAF Fighter Jet Kills Banditry Kingpin, Followers In Katsina

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A notorious banditry kingpin, Abdulkareem Lawal alias Faca-faca, and many of his followers have been killed in airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets on some bandits’ enclaves in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Our correspondent learnt that the raids were carried out in the evening.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Gambo Isah, confirmed on Sunday that eight suspected bandits including Faca-faca were killed during the raid.

 He also said the police Saturday night raided a terrorists’ hideout at Unguwar Dako, Tandama village in Danja Local Government Area of the state where they rescued six kidnapped victims. 

Isah gave the names of the rescued victims as Alhaji Garba DanMallam, 52; Rabiu Idris, 45; and Abba Samaila, 38, who are all residents of Unguwar Nuhu. 

Others are Yunusa Sani, 54; Ishaq Yakub, 40; and Danjuma Samaila, 45, all residents of Layin Sani village, Kafur. 

Meanwhile, bandits have killed two members of a local vigilante group and abducted a newlywed couple and other residents of Shola Quarters in the Katsina metropolis. 

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Residents said the bandits invaded the area around 1:25am and operated for over an hour. 

One of the sources said, “It was the vigilante members that even confronted the bandits but in the process, two of them were killed and two others wounded.” 

He explained that the vigilante members had to retreat for their safety when the bandits overpowered them. 

He said it was later that one body was retrieved while one of the injured persons rushed to the hospital died. 

Explaining how the newlywed couple was kidnapped, a relative, Usman Masanawa, said the husband, Yusuf Bishir, called to inform him of the attack but there was nothing he could do.

“We went there this morning; the bandits did not even enter the house through the entrance gate but they smashed the wall and got access into the house,” Masanawa said. 

He added that the number of residents abducted could not be ascertained but other residents said some houses were attacked and people abducted. 

When contacted, the PPRO who responded via WhatsApp message, said officers were on an operation (on the matter) and would communicate details later. 

In another attack, bandits abducted 13 people from Natsinta village, in Jibia Local Government Area, which is a few hundred metres from the army barracks in Katsina. 

A resident, whose uncle and two of his children were abducted, said the bandits had earlier abducted 26 people but when they got to where they parked their motorcycles, they took 13 with them and left the others.

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