Worsening insecurity: Gunmen storm Sokoto community, kill monarch, raze police station
—Barely hours after the Acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, briefed senators on measures to check the rising wave of insecurity, many parts of the country were literally turned to killing fields on Tuesday and yesterday.
From Borno to Edo, Sokoto and Taraba, no fewer than 34 Nigerians were killed through the attacks of Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen and gunmen, as well as cult clashes.
The killings occurred as the Police outlined how Nigeria can wriggle out of the insecurity logjam, saying that law enforcement agencies alone cannot solve the problem, just as security experts asked the Federal Government to be clear over its position on payment of ransom to kidnappers.
The IGP had in a closed door session with senators for over two hours on Tuesday, briefed them on the challenges the Police are facing in the war against insecurity and the way out.
How 11 persons, including four soldiers died in Borno
In Borno, no fewer than 11 persons, including four soldiers, died, while several houses and shops were torched as Boko Haram insurgents attacked troops at their base at Molai community on the outskirt of Maiduguri on Tuesday night, according to sources.
The incident which started at about 6:30pm and lasted for hours, has forced many residents of the outskirts of Lawanti Kura, NNPC Depot and Molai to flee into the main town for safety.
Molai is situated along the recently shut Maiduguri-Damboa- Chibok- Biu Road, about 10km drive to Maiduguri.
Last week, three suicide bombers wreaked havoc at a missionary hospital in Molai village, leaving scores injured, while the suicide bombers died on the spot.
This latest attack is coming barely four days after a group of insurgents invaded a military base in the area.
A resident, Adamu Isa, who lost his brother in the attack, said: “I was surprised to see soldiers running into the town from the terrorists’ attacks. I have been hearing that when Boko Haram attacks military formations, the soldiers abandon their duty posts and fled, it is not until this attack in Molai that I saw it with my eyes.’’
When Vanguard visited the area yesterday morning, it was discovered that the entire Molai Market square had been razed. Burnt remains of six people and many animals/livestock were seen.
An unconfirmed report also has it that the newly commissioned Power super station that supplies electricity to the entire metropolis, Jere Local Government Area and other communities, was torched, leading to total blackout since Tuesday.
A member of the Civilian Joint Task Force in Molai, Mohammed Abdul, said: “The terrorists stormed the area in a military style convoy with explosives and threw them into residential houses. We lost 11 persons in the attacks, including four civilians in Molai and seven others at check points, four of whom were soldiers.
“We don’t know how many people are currently in hospitals but many were wounded. We are still looking for our family members. Since last night, many are yet to reunite with their families.”
Gunmen storm Sokoto community, kill traditional ruler
In Sokoto State, gunmen on Tuesday reportedly stormed Balle community in Gudu Local Council and shot dead its tradition ruler, Aliyu Ibrahim.
Witnesses said the gunmen stormed the community on motorcycles shooting sporadically in the air; residents ran into hiding to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
It was learned that the gunmen then went to Balle police station where they burned down patrol vehicles and the building before moving to the palace of the district head to kill him.
The Nigerian Army had earlier announced a ban on the use of motorcycles in seven northern states, including Sokoto, to curb the rising spate of violence.
Balle is the headquarters of Gudu Local Council, and an ancient community. In 1804, it was the capital of Sokoto caliphate. It shares boundary with the Republic of Niger.
“The gunmen, upon arrival to the emir’s palace, found the compound gate locked. They, however, jumped through the fence, while others were stationed outside. After killing the district head, they fled in their motorcycles,” a witness said.
The witness said it was not clear whether they killed security personnel at the police station.
The police in Sokoto are yet to speak on the incident at press time yesterday and efforts to reach the command spokesman proved abortive as several telephone calls and text message sent to his mobile phone were not replied.
11 feared killed in renewed Edo cult war
In Edo State, 11 persons were reportedly killed between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening in different parts of Benin City as a result of renewed cult war between Eiye and black axe, popularly called aye confraternities.
The latest killing was the hacking of three persons to death at Isibor Junction, adjacent St Saviour Road, near Third Junction.
Another person was said to have been killed by Popular Street, along Murtala Muhammed Way and one along Idaho Street, off Sokponba Road.
The last three killings on Tuesday evening made the Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Abubakar Muhammed, to personally lead his team to the area to restore order.
There was free flow of traffic along the frequently congested Sakponba Road by Third Junction, yesterday, morning as many drivers and their conductors stayed off the road apparently to evade arrests as some of them are suspected to be members of rival cults.
Vanguard gathered that the renewed killings started on Sunday night when a victim was reportedly killed at Iyobosa Street, opposite Edo College, at a place popularly called Aso Rock. Another was said to have been killed by Second East Circular Road, near Etiosa, by Lucky Junction.
It was gathered that one person was killed along Agbor Road near NNPC depot, while another was killed on Monday at a street opposite the NNPC depot.
Vanguard reliably gathered that two persons were killed on Monday night at Ekiosa along Murtala Muhammed Way, while one was reportedly killed at Owoba near ICC school.
The town was calm at press time, yesterday, but repeated calls to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, to speak on the killings and confirm the number of arrests, if any, were not responded to.
An anti-cultism group, Legend Foundation, called on the state government and security agencies to up their fight against crime in the state.
Its Director General, Kadiri Christopher, in a chat with Vanguard , also called on parents and guardians to guide their wards against cultism and other vices.
Herdsmen kill six in three Taraba communities
Three Taraba communities were not spared of the killing spree. No fewer than six persons were killed by suspected herdsmen who on Tuesday, launched a fresh attack on Murbai, Kisbap and Yawai-Abare villages on the outskirts of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.
Spokesman of the state Police Command, DSP David Misal, told reporters in Jalingo yesterday that six people died.
However, local residents differed on the number of casualties, insisting that five persons were killed in Murbai, while six others were killed in Sembe.
One of the displaced women from Murbai, Rebecca Agubwe, said five persons were killed in her village.
Village head of Nukkai, John Awushiri, who received the displaced persons in Jalingo, also alleged that six other persons were killed in Sembe.
He noted that pregnant and nursing mothers were among those displaced and called for assistance from the state government.
Said Misal: “We can confirm that six corpses were recovered from the attack. However, security operatives have been deployed to the affected areas to restore normalcy and avert further attacks and spread, with Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Faleye Olaleye leading the team.”
A resident, Cyprian Kamai, said hundreds of persons in the affected villages had been displaced and were currently taking refuge in neighboring towns and villages.
The attacks, he said, started from Yawai-Abare community before spreading to adjoining villages.
Meanwhile, residents of Janibanbur village were yesterday morning seen moving in droves out of their community over fear of possible attacks.
Some of the fleeing residents who are currently taking refuge in Nukkai primary school, Jalingo are more than 200.
The state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Mohammed Sahabi, who spoke to newsmen via telephone, said he was just returning from a trip and will comment on the incident when properly briefed on the matter.
How Nigeria can get out of insecurity – Police
To stem the tide of killings, the police have asked Nigerians begin to look beyond what it called “core law enforcement approach.”
The police also said massive security operations going on in different parts of the country were aimed at subduing criminals and their cohorts.
“While a few of these operations are overt, majority of them are covert. Because of the covert and sensitive nature of these security operations, we certainly cannot discuss them for now,” Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, told Vanguard upon the latter’s enquiry on what the police were doing to reverse the worsening security situation in the country.
Mba, said: “Although police operations have recorded appreciable success, the fact remains that for our country to achieve a total, long-lasting and sustainable victory over kidnapping and armed banditry, we must look beyond core law enforcement approach.”
According to him, adoption of multifaceted crime fighting model, involving the active participation of state and local governments, traditional institutions, schools, religious groups and other socialization agencies’ were necessary.’
He continued: “But we are assuring our citizens that we will not rest until we restore sanity in the land. The security challenges are not insurmountable. We have the capacity to surmount them and reverse the trend.
‘’Since the commencement of Operations Puff Adder, a total of 261 kidnapping suspects have been arrested, with 131 of them arrested within the first three weeks of the introduction of the operation; 535 armed robbery suspects arrested, with 201 of them arrested after the commencement of Operations Puff Adder
“326 murder suspects were also arrested; 361 firearms and large catchment of ammunition were recovered. Although police operations have recorded appreciable success, the fact remains that for our country to achieve a total, long- lasting and sustainable victory over kidnapping and armed banditry, we must look beyond core law enforcement approach.’
“We must tackle youth unemployment and poverty, and provide functional education to our younger generation. We must increase the manpower base of the police, effectively fund our police and provide our Police modern crime fighting tools.
“In addition, we must strengthen our borders to stop the inflow of illicit weapons and drugs into our country. We must tackle drug and substance abuse headlong. And very importantly too, we must fight radicalisation and the spread of violent extremism among our youths.”
Ransom payment escalating kidnap cases —ASIS
Meanwhile, ASIS International, a global body of industrial security specialists, has asked the federal government to make its position on payment of ransom very clear, saying such should be in line with global best practice.
The group of security experts said the entire country risked being engulfed in crisis of immense proportions if urgent and deliberate measures were not taken.
“The military should be mandated and empowered to conduct decisive, surgical and comprehensive kinetic operations in all vulnerable areas in line with the dictates of human rights and global best practices to rid the regions of all undesirable elements, with a view to prosecuting all arrested for breach of any extant laws of the land in connection with the identified risks and threats,” the group said.
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Speaking through Kabir Adamu, chairman of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, chapter, ASIS said the worsening security challenges in the North-West and North-Central of the country were worrisome.
Adamu attributed the successes of the bandits to the porous nature of the country’s borders and the ungoverned spaces that pervade the region.
He said bandits were also “taking advantage of the gaps in our national security architecture to thrive in their heinous activities.
‘’The bandits are also succeeding because of the high return on investment for kidnapping and the seeming lack of political will to address the menace.’’
He said the seeming lack of capacity by the security forces and the quasi-official sanctioning of payment of ransom act as catalysts to escalate the crime, estimating that approximately N1 billion had been paid in ransom within the last few months.
“With these kind of funds, more weapons will be procured and more youngsters will be lured into the trade.
“We appreciate and commend the efforts of the security agencies, some of whom have paid the supreme price. However, to contend with these emerging threats in the North-West and North-Central regions and other existing crisis could be quite challenging
“Therefore, there is an urgent need for the federal government to take an all-inclusive view of these threats and vulnerabilities with the aim of quickly outlining immediate, medium and long-term initiatives to curb these security risks and threats,”he said.
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Senate has instituted impressive legislative support – GP
Meanwhile, the IGP, Mohammed Adamu has written the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commending the Senate for the support he has received in the course of his duties, so far.
In a letter dated April 25, 2019, the acting IGP who thanked the Senate for passing some critical bills to ease the ease of the Force, said that the legislative support so far received by his office and the police force were commendable and appreciated by the Police generally.
Recall that Adamu was, yesterday, drilled by the Senate for two and a half hours on the rising wave of insecurity, banditry, and kidnapping in the country, especially in the northern part of the country.
His appearance before the Senate, in a closed session, was the first of its kind since 2016.
Recall that his predecessor in office, Ibrahim Idris had maintained a hostile relationship with the Senate, refusing to appear before the lawmakers each time he was invited.
The former IGP at a time, dragged the Senate to the court, while the Police as an institution also dragged the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye and Ben Murray Bruce to court over alleged assault on some policemen during a protest rally within the precincts of the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
In the letter, the IGP who specifically mentioned the Police Trust Fund bill, passed by the Senate and the Police Act( Amendment) bill which has also been passed into law by the police, also thanked the Senate for expressly working on the Police Academy establishment bill, which he said, if passed will help restore the lost primacy of the police Force.