There is heightened tension in the South East geopolitical due to rising insecurity after gunmen struck again yesterday, setting ablaze the offices of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Nnewi, Anambra State and killing three persons in the process.
The gunmen also set ablaze the country home of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Joe Igbokwe, who is based in Lagos.
One of the victims was alleged to be recording the incident, an act which provoked one of the gunmen, who reportedly shot him dead.
LEADERSHIP recalls that just over a week ago, gunmen had killed the husband of the late information minister, Prof Dora Akunyili, Dr Chike Akunyili, in Anambra State.
One of the eyewitnesses in yesterday’s attack said the gunmen drove from Owerri Road in the industrial town in four Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and stopped at Eme Court Road Junction where they fired bullets in the air, which forced residents in the area to flee for safety.
The gunmen, according to the eyewitnesses, headed to the nearby DSS and FRSC offices and set them ablaze.
One of the sources said, “They later drove through Nkwo Nnewi Triangle roundabout and moved towards Nnobi road. Later a military armoured vehicle drove round the town and passed through Emecourt Road. There was no exchange of fire as the military and the gunmen did not meet.
“Later, heavy smoke was seen at the country home of Chief Joe Igbokwe whose house is located off the Nnewi-Oba Road,” the source said.
It was gathered that Igbokwe and members of his family were not at home at the time of the incident.
It was also gathered that the gunmen stormed the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, where they opened fire and injured one person.
The source said the gunmen were friendly with the newspaper free readers at the roundabout area of the town because they were hailing them.
But a man who, according to the source, attempted to record the incident via video was shot dead at Eme Court junction area.
The gunmen later drove round the town, passed through Nkwo Nnewi Triangle and moved towards Nnobi Road.
The police public relations officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the incident but said the Command had not received the full details
He said, “At about 2pm, of 3rd Oct 2021, the command received a distress call of fire incident in Nnewi. The police operatives are currently on ground and the area has since been cordoned off.”
IPOB Set My House Ablaze, Says Igbokwe
In his reaction yesterday evening, Igbokwe, who is the chairman at Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee Collecting Authority, accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of masterminding the attack.
Igbokwe via his facebook handle, said, “IPOB invaded my house in Nnewi about now.
“I am sure they razed my house, given the jerry cans of petrol I saw being offloaded from their Sienna car via CCTV. To God be the glory. I am still alive.”
2 Killed In Kaduna Community
Meanwhile, at least two residents were killed by unknown gunmen at Ungwan Taila village in Zangon Kataf local government area of Kaduna State.
According to a statement issued by the commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the troops of Operation Safe Haven reported the incident to the Kaduna State government.
Aruwan said the troops, on arriving at the scene of the incident, found that the assailants had killed two residents: Helen Lucky and Hananiah Elijah.
He said on receiving the report, Governor Nasir el-Rufai expressed deep regret at further loss of life from such attacks in the area and prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
“In the meantime, the troops will continue search-and-rescue operations in the area. Citizens will be briefed on further updates,” Aruwan said.
Military Begins New Offensive In Southern States, Benue
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya will today flag off Exercises Golden Dawn,Enduring Peace and Still Water nationwide.
The director, army public relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement said the COAS will symbolically kick off all exercises at the venue of “Exercise Golden Dawn” which will take place at Ovie-Emene, Enugu East local government area of Enugu State.
He said the Field Training Exercises (FTEs) are routines conducted yearly by the Nigerian Army (NA), designed to effectively check all forms of criminality and allow for free movement of persons during the Yuletide.
He added that the FTEs will equally provide a platform to sharpen the skills of participating troops on the conduct of internal security operations.
Brig Gen Nwachukwu said the exercises will run concurrently in 2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions Areas of Responsibilities (AORs) in the South West, South South and South East regions respectively.
The exercise will also be conducted in Headquarters Command, Army Records, 401 Special Forces Brigade, and Guards Brigade AORs in the North Central states of Kogi, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) respectively.
“Expectedly, troops will be taken through operational rigours to effectively respond to security challenges, ranging from kidnapping, banditry, thuggery, brigandage, armed robbery, cultism, communal crises, violent secessionist agitations, farmers-herders clashes and insurgency, amongst other sundry crimes,” he said
The army spokesman said the operation will be complemented by robust civil-military relations activities in identified communities in the envisaged AORs.
He, therefore, called on critical stakeholders to support the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to stem the tide of crimes and criminality across the areas, particularly as the Yuletide approaches.
He further urged members of the general public not to panic at sighting the movement of troops and equipment.
Gen Nwachukwu also called on Nigerians to support the NA and other security agencies with credible information on the activities of criminals in their vicinity.
He said to overcome challenges, Nigerians have to take ownership of the exercise for a seamless celebration during the yuletide.
Also, the Tactical Air Command (TAC) of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) based in Makurdi will hold a routine air firing exercise today and Thursday.
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by its public reations officer, Wing Cdr. Chris Erondu.
TAC said in the statement that the four-day exercise would hold between 9am and 4pm daily at its air range located in the Kwarnev community in Makurdi.
It is a routine military Air-to-Ground-Integration exercise, he explained.
“There will be firing of live heavy weapons at the air range by NAF combat aircraft.
“Consequently, residents and farmers around the Kwarnev Air Range area and its environs are encouraged not to panic on hearing the sounds of the weapons as the exercise is not meant to cause panic or harm anybody.
“Also, they are warned not to come close to the air range throughout the period and time of the exercise to avoid casualty,’’ the statement said. (NAN)
Troops Repel ISWAP Attack On Repentant Terrorists
The Nigerian Army has said its troops repelled Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) attack on surrendered Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.
The director, army public relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said ISWAP terrorists on Saturday attacked the settlement with the intent to capture Boko Haram terrorists who had surrendered to Nigerian troops in Damboa, Borno State.
He said the terrorists attempted to access the facility housing the surrendered BHT members, but retreated when confronted with the superior firepower by the troops of 25 Task Force Brigade Operation HADIN KAI.
He said the ISWAP terrorists, being confronted with the obvious reality of defeat, had embarked on a desperate move to undermine the unprecedented depletion in its fighting force.
He said, “This antic of terror within terror is being employed by ISWAP to discourage intending surrendering terrorists in their ranks.”
He said the move is as a result of frustration as the group’s top ranking commanders and members are denouncing violent agitation to embrace peace in recent times.
He called on the people of Damboa and environs to go about their normal businesses as vigilant troops would proactively continue to provide security of lives and property.
The chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, while commending troops for their doggedness, charged them to take the fight to the terrorists’ enclaves to deny them freedom of action.
Zamfara Speaker’s Father Dies In Bandits’ Den
The father of the Zamfara State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Muazu Abubakar, who was recently kidnapped by bandits, is reported to have died at the bandits’ den.
Abubakar, who was kidnapped eight weeks ago along with his wife, three-week-old baby and three others, was said to have died in bandits’ captivity as a result of heart failure.
The confirmation of his death was revealed by an elder brother to the Speaker’s father, Malam Dahiru Saraki Magarya, who was abducted along with the deceased.
The kidnapped victims were rescued by joint security operations and Speaker’s father was missing amongst the victims when they were paraded at the Police Command in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital.
According to him, a bandit kingpin popularly known as Kachala informed him of the death of the Speaker’s father a day to their rescue by the security agents.
“We were separated when they kidnapped us. They took my brother to a different camp, but it was Kachalla, one of the commanders of the bandits, who told me about the death of my brother a few hours to our rescue,” he said.
Also, in an interview with journalists, the wife of the Speaker Magarya’s father, identified as Hauwa’u Mu’azu, who was kidnapped along with her three-month-baby, husband and three others said she heard one of the bandits saying her husband had died.
“When I heard him saying my husband was dead, I was shocked but submitted everything to Almighty Allah,” she added.
On August 5, 2021, bandits in their hundreds had stormed the Speaker’s hometown, Magarya in Zurmi local government area, and kidnapped the Speaker’s father, his wife and other relatives.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara police command yesterday announced that it had successfully arrested 21 suspected notorious bandits and 48 collaborators during various raids it carried out in September.
SP Muhammed Shehu, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, made the disclosure at a press briefing in Gusau on the achievements of the security agencies in the state.
According to the PPRO, five bandits on the wanted list of the security agencies were also neutralized during the raids.
“Since the implementation of the new security measures of Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State a month ago, the Police and other security agencies had carried out assaults on identified bandits’ locations to rid the state of recalcitrant bandits and other criminal elements.
“As a result of the security agencies’ commitments and sacrifice, tremendous achievements have been recorded, thereby reducing bandits’ attacks, killings and abductions in the last one month.
“The measures led to blocking the recalcitrant bandits from accessing food, fuel and drug supplies, as well as other essential services.
“Similarly, payment of ransom to bandits by the relations of kidnapped victims had stopped due to the effective enforcement of the security measures, by which communication between the bandits and their informants became impossible,” Shehu said.
The PPRO added that, as a result, the kidnapped victims had become liabilities for the bandits and were being released unconditionally, following extensive Police search and rescue operations.
“On the effect of the new security measures to communities in the urban areas, the Police Command has succeeded in curtailing the rampant cases of abductions, armed robbery, car snatching, burglary and house breaking and other heinous crimes.
“The ongoing operations by the police and other security agencies in the state has stabilized many villages and communities that were hitherto under threat and apprehension of the bandits.
“Criminal elements, especially bandits, are no longer finding it comfortable to operate; informants to the bandits are not having access to the bandits, who rely so much on their information to commit their dastardly acts against the innocent people of the state.
“The police, through the ongoing operation, have also succeeded in the arrest of 21 notorious armed bandits at various locations in the state, with five of the bandits neutralized during the operations”, Shehu said.
He added: “Police equally repelled four different attacks with many bandits suffering heavy casualties. Many informants to the bandits were arrested, investigated and prosecuted.
“Similarly, over 200 kidnapped victims were rescued at various locations, debriefed and reunited with their families.
“Apart from the achievements of other security agencies in the state, the following arrests and recoveries, mostly from bandits’ collaborators, were made by the Zamfara police command and will be showcased to the press for onward dissemination to members of the public.”
The PPRO added that firearms, including AK47 guns, Dane guns, ammunition, machetes, charms, foodstuff, drugs, fuel, as well as motorcycles and money were recovered from the suspects during the period.
Investigations are presently on to ascertain the level of involvement of each of the suspects, after which they would be arraigned for prosecution in various courts.
Shehu appealed to residents to exercise patience and give the security agencies the needed support to rid the state of all criminal elements and restore law and order. (NAN)
Police Arrest 3 Kidnap Suspects In Niger
The police command in Niger has arrested three suspects over alleged kidnapping in Nasko Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
Mr Monday Kuryas, the state Commissioner of Police disclosed this when he spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Sunday.
“On October 2 at about 0900 hours, the Divisional Police Officer Nasko Division mobilised a team of policemen and members of vigilance group numbering about 97 for a raid at kidnappers hideout located in Manini, Isana and Etere forest in Nasko LGA.
“Three suspects were arrested after the raid, they include one Abubakar, Aliyu Abubakar and Mohamed Aliyu.
“The suspects confessed to have kidnapped one Alhaji Mohammed Bariki of Magaman Daji village, Nasko LGA where they collected N5 million ransom and one Usman Maiyana of Ibana village Nasko LGA where they collected N 3 million as ransom.
“The sum of N 100,000 was recovered from them which was part of the ransom,” he said.
Kuryas said that the command has deployed an anti-kidnap squad to the area to ensure the arrest of others at large and recover their arms.
” We appeal strongly for more working support and cooperation from members of the public who should give us intelligence information that could aid in apprehending miscreants in their midst.
“We are battle ready to confront any persons or group of miscreants undermining the peace of our state, through well- coordinated security approach to enhance peaceful coexistence among our people,’’ Kuryas said.
Man With AK-47 Not Defence Minister, Says Aide
The Ministry of Defence has denied trending video of a man carrying AK-47 rifle purported to be the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd).
A statement by the special adviser on media to the minister, Mohammad Abdulkadri, said investigation has revealed the person in the viral video as the Rector of the Nigerian Army College of Environmental Science and Technology (NACEST), Makurdi.
He added that the rector, by virtue of his Command position, is statutorily allowed in the Mmlitary to sign for weapons when travelling.
He said, “In fact, the Army green colour on the Innonson Jeep and the Unit sticker of NACEST on the official vehicle are enough evidence to neutralise the spurious claim in the clip being referred to as the official vehicle of the Minister of Defence who uses black Land Cruiser jeep like his counterparts in other ministries.
“Again the Internet fraud star’s desperate attempt to demean the personality of the Defence Minister proved null and void and untenable with the fake picture of the orderly that wears blue colour of the insignia band of Nigerian Army (NA) Education Corps whereas the orderly to General Magashi (name withheld) is of the Corps of the Military Police who uses red berret and MP red handband on his camouflage.”
He said the video was part of attempt by mischief makers to portray the minister in bad light as feeling unsafe while implementing the vision of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to end all internal security challenges bedevelling the country.
“Let it be categorically stated that the minister of defence has unpenetrable line of defence capabilities befitting his office that are capable of dealing with any threat and does not need to carry a gun as seen in the video,” he added
He therefore called on the general public to disregard the false information.