•As Residents kill seven suspected bandits
•Reps invite Buhari, ask him to declare state of emergency in Katsina
•Police confirm five abducted in Zamfara school
•End your foreign trip to tackle insecurity, PDP tells Buhari
By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Dirisu Yakubu & Nasir Muhamma
ABUJA– WHAT could have resulted in a repeat of the Chibok and Dapchi school girls’ abductions was averted in Zamfara State on Wednesday night when bandits stormed Government Girls Comprehensive Secondary School, Moriki in Zurmi Local Council of Zamfara State.
No student was kidnapped as the abductors could not break the locks before time ran out on them. However, six staff of the school were not lucky.
Vanguard gathered that the kidnappers who came on bikes, stormed the school and attempted to break the locks of the hostels but when they realized that time was running out on them, they took away six labourers, including four men and two women.
Among the people abducted were one married woman, a girl suspected to be between 17 and 20 years of age, a driver and two cleaners.
The police in Zamfara, yesterday, confirmed the attack but said that two staff and three of their children were abducted.
This happened on a day residents killed seven bandits in the palace of an Emir in Zamfara; even as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to abort his foreign trip, return home and tackle the persistent security challenges.
Indeed, the House of Representatives also yesterday, invited President Buhari, again, to address Nigerians on security measures to check the banditry, kidnapping and other security breaches, and to declare a state of emergency in his home state, Katsina.
Meanwhile, Police in Katsina State said yesterday that they have arrested suspects in connection with the abduction of President Buhari’s Aide de Camp, ADC’s father-in-law.
The Zurni attack
Zurmi Local Council is one of the areas that suffered more from the activities of armed banditry but there was relative peace in the area as a result of a truce brokered between the traditional rulers in the area and armed bandits.
Vanguard gathered that for some months now, communities in Zurmi have been relatively peaceful after the brutal massacre of Birane village by the bandits.
However, the area was violated on Wednesday night. The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Muhammad Shehu, in a press statement in Gusau, said: ‘’On May 1, 2019, at about 2130hrs, DPO Zurmi received a distress call that unidentified number of armed men entered into Government Girls Secondary School, Moriki in Zurmi LGA through the back fence of the school with the intent to attack the school and abduct students.’
‘’On the spur of the moment, a combined team of PMF/CTU/ and Civilian JTF personnel, headed by the DPO, mobilised to the school, confronted the armed men and stopped them from gaining access to the students hostels and forced them to take a retreat back to the bush.
“No student was abducted as earlier reported by some media. However, two caterers and three of their children were later discovered missing. The police is collaborating with the school authority to establish the whereabouts of the missing persons.
‘’To this end, a search and rescue operation team has been dispatched to the surrounding bushes for an extensive bush-combing. Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in the school and its environment to forestall further happening.”
He also called on members of the public to be very vigilant and report any suspicious character to the police for prompt response.
Residents kill seven suspected bandits in Zamfara
People of Birnin Magaji Local Council of Zamfara State, on Wednesday, cordoned off their emir’s palace and killed seven persons suspected to be bandits.
The suspected bandits were said to be at the palace for a peace talk after their cows were confiscated, following an airstrike on their base in Birnin Magaji forest.
The Nigerian Air Force has been conducting air strikes in Zamfara against the bandits whose activities have caused the deaths of hundreds of people in the past few years.
Many of the bandits have been displaced by the air strikes. Some of them reportedly returned to neighbouring communities still bearing their arms, causing fear among residents.
Some residents told Vanguard that after an airstrike on Birnin Magaji forest on April 4, many residents of nearby communities accompanied the soldiers into the forest where they found over 200 rustled cows.
The cows were impounded and kept at the emir’s palace in Birnin Magaji. However, early last week, the cattle were taken to Gusau, the state capital.
According to residents who pleaded anonymity, about seven suspected bandits and a person suspected to be an official of the Department of State Service, DSS, on Wednesday, came to the emir’s palace. The residents said they were there to reportedly plead for the release of their cattle.
The Emir of Birnin Magaji, Husseini Dan-Ali, was, however, said to be in Kaduna when they came.
His secretary, Muhammadu Mai-inji, was said to have hosted the suspected bandits and DSS official in the palace.
It was gathered that after residents learned about the meeting, they hurriedly cordoned the palace and attempted to set it ablaze.
Vanguard learned that soldiers guarding the palace, however, pleaded with them
It was gathered further that the residents waited outside until the suspected bandits came out and they were lynched.
At press time, all efforts to reach the police spokesperson, Mohammed Shehu, proved futile.
Suspected kidnappers of Buhari’s ADC’s father-in-law arrested
Also, the Police in Katsina State said, yesterday that some suspects have been arrested in connection with the abduction of President Buhari’s Aide de Camp, ADC’s father-in-law.
The spokesperson of Katsina State police command, Gambo Isah, in a statement disclosed that Magajin Garin Daura, Alhaji Musa Uba, was abducted on Tuesday evening at his residence.
He added that the kidnappers, numbering six, stormed the residence in a Peugeot 405, unregistered car, blue in colour, shot sporadically into the air, and abducted him.
The State Commissioner of police and police patrol team later arrived the scene and arrested some of the suspects.
One police officer was, however, hit during a gun-duel with the kidnappers.
“The state Commissioner of Police, CP Sanusi Buba, along with police patrol teams, immediately arrived at the scene.
“Police patrol teams at Kusada Division Katsina State intercepted the hoodlums and engaged them in a gun duel and as a result of which one Inspector Muntari Maikudi attached to Kusada Division sustained a gunshot injury and was rushed to the Federal Medical Center Katsina for treatment.
“IGP Tactical Squad, SARS teams, PMF and counter-terrorism units have already been dispatched to rescue the victim alive and safely to his family,” the statement read in part.
The Command appealed to members of the public to always assist security agencies with timely intelligence on the activities of bandits.
He added that the command and other security agencies were on their toes to bring to an end activities of the bandits.
The abducted traditional ruler, who is the father of Fatima Musa, wife of Colonel Mohammed Abubakar, the ADC to President Buhari, was a retired Customs Comptroller and a business mogul.
Declare state of emergency in Katsina, Reps tell Buhari
Meanwhile, following rising cases of banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping and killings across the country, the House of Representatives has invited President Buhari to address Nigerians on measures being taken to curb the menace.
The House had on April 11, 2019 made the same call to the President, giving him 48 hours ultimatum to personally speak to the people but almost one month afterward, he is yet to do so.
The latest resolution by the lower chamber of the National Assembly was made at plenary, yesterday, during the presentation, consideration and adoption of a motion titled: “Urgent Need for Federal Government’s Intervention in the Ongoing Wanton Killing of Innocent Persons, Destruction of Properties, Armed Robbery and Kidnappings by Heavily Armed Bandits Operating Within Safana/Batsari/Dansamu Federal Constituency.”
The motion was sponsored by Ahmed Dayyabu Safana who represents the constituency.
Moving the motion, Safana stated that some villages in his constituency had been serially attacked, with many people killed by armed bandits.
He said that as an immediate step in containing the evil activities of the heavily armed bandits, the President should urgently declare a state of emergency in the federal constituency.
He said: “The House notes with dismay the ongoing attacks on various communities within Safana/Batsari/Dansamu Federal Constituency of Katsina State by heavily armed bandits, who continuously unleash mayhem against my constituents on daily basis.
“The recent spate of the said attacks on members of my constituency has reached an alarming stage as the perpetrators of this dastardly act continuously kill innocent persons in my constituency and set their homes ablaze while defenceless men and women are abducted to unknown destinations.
“Up to four villages within my constituency are currently under attack in the last 48 hours namely: Massa Village in Batasari Local Government where no fewer than five persons have been killed, Alhazawa Village in Safana LGA had been totally displaced, Guzurawa village in Safana LGA also had several persons murdered in cold blood and just yesterday, Gobirawa Village came under attack with no fewer than 12 dead bodies littered in the bush while many are still missing.
“These killings have continued unabated and these bandits seem to be unstoppable with a specific instance at Gobirawa Village in Safana LGA where the bereaved villagers were forced to abandon the corpses during the burial and scampered for safety when they sighted the bandits coming back to launch another offensive.
“These bandits who operate both at night and in broad day light on motorbikes parade sophisticated weapons including AK 47 assault rifles and other dangerous weapons which they use in committing heinous crimes against my constituents.
“Despite persistent cries from the affected communities, the security operatives appear not being proactive especially on security tip off and most times fail to respond promptly.’’
Contributing to the debate on the motion, some lawmakers bemoaned the escalating security situation in the country.
Bashir Babale from Kano State, stated that “infrastructure has collapsed where banditry takes place”, comparing the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan with the present, noting that it was wrong to have accused the erstwhile government of being docile.
Gabriel Onyenweife from Anambra State, said in his contribution: “Nigeria is not a safe country. The executive should take the lead and lead Nigeria away from a failed security state.”
For Chika Adamu from Niger State, who spoke with tears, the government must urgently find solution to the problem.
“We must do something, Mr. Speaker. I can’t go to my village and spend a night since the last one year.”
In his contribution, Useni Moriki from Zamfara State, said his local government was not safe. “What happened in Yobe, in Borno in the North-East is now happening in North-West, in Zamfara, in my own local government.”
For Awaji Abinte from Bayelsa, it is different strokes for different people.
“Here we are, convinced that we have a problem on our hands but outside of this place, some will tell you that Nigeria is more secure than before. That tells you that we are not on the same page,” he said.
Making his remarks, the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said it was necessary to invite the President for an address since the issue of banditry had become national.
Adopting the motion, the House called on the federal government to deploy the military to areas under attack to assist the police and other security agencies in flushing out the criminal elements.
It also called for the declaration of state of emergency in the area and urged the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to urgently provide relief materials to victims of the attacks.
Return home to tackle security challenges, PDP tells Buhari
Reacting to the security situation in the country, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, advised President Buhari to end his “private visit” to the United Kingdom and immediately return home to address the worsening security challenges in some parts of the country.
The party said it was completely unacceptable for President Buhari to abandon his responsibilities, as the Commander-In-Chief, at least for now, in favour of a trip abroad while gunmen, kidnappers and insurgents are daily making life hellish for innocent citizens back home.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said: “President Buhari’s inattention has emboldened insurgents and bandits to continue to over-run communities, unleash mayhem and bloodletting on citizens in Borno, Zamfara, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe Taraba, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi and other states of the federation, including Mr. President’s home state, Katsina.
“While President Buhari wanders abroad, bandits are having a field day, pillaging communities in Katsina State; killing several persons and abducting the District Head of his hometown, Daura, Musa Umar; the father in-law of Mr. President’s security aide.
It continued: “Within this period, marauders invaded communities in Adamawa and killed no fewer than 26 innocent Nigerians; many more have been killed in Borno, Taraba, Benue and Zamfara states, where bandits also reportedly attacked Government Girls Secondary School Moriki, and kidnapped some school girls (Police said no school girl was abducted).
“While the Buhari administration remains virtually nonchalant, kidnappers have taken over many of our major highways, with hundreds of compatriots held in captivity in forests along Kaduna-Abuja, Taraba-Katsina-Ala and other highways in the country.
“It is clear that President Buhari has not demonstrated required capacity to control the security situation and now resorts to cheap escapism, particularly in the face of allegations in the public space that certain individuals around his administration are benefiting from the situation.
“This is in addition to allegations that some of the bandits arrested, in states such as Katsina, are not Nigerians but aliens allegedly imported by the All Progressives Congress, APC, from Niger Republic to assist it in unleashing violence and rigging the 2019 general elections.”