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Kidnappers on rampage, hijack passenger bus

•Hunters aid Police, military as ex-minister, Adewole’s abducted son regains freedom
•Passenger bus hijacked along East-West Road in Rivers, 14 abducted
•Zamfara APC guber candidate’s brother kidnapped by bandits freed
•Bring perpetrators of Taraba killings to book, CAN tells security chiefs
•Buhari orders security agencies to end Taraba violence

By Ola Ajayi, Davies Iheamnachor, Femi Bolaji & Nasir Muhammad

IBADAN — FOLLOWING the abduction of Dayo Adewole, son of immediate past Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, Tuesday, Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Shina Olukolu and scores of policemen yesterday stormed the farm where he was whisked away by his abductors.

This came as armed bandits also on Tuesday, hijacked a passenger bus at Evekwu community axis of the East-West Road in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Yusuf Lawan Dauda, biological brother to former Zamfara All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Dauda Lawan, kidnapped by bandits recently, however, regained freedom yesterday.

This is even as the Taraba State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday  appealed to the state Commissioner of Police and Commanding Officer, 20 Model Battalion, Serti, to ensure that justice was done regarding innocent lives lost to attacks by gunmen who invaded two communities in the state on Monday and Tuesday, killing no fewer than 12 persons.

The former minister’s son, Adewole junior, was kidnapped on his farm in Iroko village, Afijio LGA near Ibadan, Oyo State by some gun-wielding bandits. Dayo was, however, released last night.

It could not be confirmed if a ransom was paid or not.

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Hunters join search for abducted man

To secure his release from the kidnappers, Vanguard gathered that conventional security agents and local hunters are on the trail of the kidnappers who were yet to contact his family for ransom at press time last night.

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Also involved in the desperate search of the ex-minister’s son was the Oniroko of Iroko, Oba Olasunkanmi Abioye Opeola, Kurunloju I, who disclosed that hunters had been detailed to comb all nooks and crannies of forests in the search for the abducted man.

It was also gathered that the car used by the kidnappers was discovered on the road to Iware village.

Meanwhile, Oyo State Police Command has arrested three suspects in connection with the incident.

Among those arrested were the driver of the victim, Mr. Gbenga Ogunleye, and the farm manager, Mr. Sodiq Adebayo.

One of the suspects said the four bandits stormed the poultry farm, with one of them wearing military camouflage.

He added that one of the kidnappers was hooded, while three others who wore black clothes left their faces uncovered, adding that they were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons.

The suspect further said he did not understand the language they spoke.

When Vanguard visited the residence of the abducted man, no one was ready to grant any interview.

Many sympathizers, wearing forlorn looks, were there praying to God for his safe return.

AIG, CP speak, vow to get abductors

Speaking on the incident, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police in charge of Zone 11, comprising Oyo, Osun and Ondo States, Mr. Leye Oyebade, and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Shina Olukolu, were there to see things for themselves.

They also went to Aba Ode Junction, around Amosun village, where the victim’s car was abandoned after the abduction.

Oyebade, while addressing journalists, vowed that everything would be done to free the victim.

He said the police would deploy   their arsenal, including technology, in the operation to get the culprits.

On his part, AIG Oyebade said:  “Actually, this incident is very unfortunate because it is coming after we have been able to map out strategies to address the challenge we are facing by these undesirable elements.

“From our inspection of the scene, interaction and interrogation of the workers, and those present at the scene, we can really say that the modus is changing, the tactics is changing, and their way of operating is changing.

“Since they now know that we have been able to cover the roads, they are now coming to isolated areas, looking for targets that can be approached, having monitored them.

“With what we gathered here, the suspects covered their faces, we are not ruling out the involvement of those that are very close, in this particular situation.

“But whatever it is, we are going to unmask those that are behind this, and that is the assurance I am giving to members of the public.

“The Inspector-General of Police has given a mandate and on that mandate we stand — that kidnapping will become highly unprofitable. With the system we are going to use now, with the application of STI and with the commitment and drive of police officers that have been deployed, we are going to uproot them.”

Speaking with Vanguard, the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Shina Olukolu, said he and the Assistant Inspector General of Police, zone 11, were there to see things for themselves.

How Dayo was abducted —Iroko monarch

Also, the Oniroko of Iroko, Oba Opeola, in his account said: “When my driver told me that Dayo had been abducted by four unknown gunmen whose leader dressed in military camouflage, I quickly put a call through to the Divisional headquarters of police Moniya, Area Command to which they all responded. Before they came, we contacted our local vigilante squad to comb the bush in order to arrest the situation. We were not so lucky as such as our efforts failed to yield positive result. Our initial perception was that probably they could hide in the forest within the vicinity.

“We later discovered that the car, with which they were conveying him, ran out of fuel at Olode-Amosun road which links Iware road while they were coming from Iroko. That was the last spot we heard of their movement as police had commenced investigation into the matter. “

In addition, he said: “I was told that the four men, who stormed the farm with three of them on surveillance around the farm site, shot into the air to scare people away while their leader who we were told wore military camouflage, also carrying a gun, pursued Dayo to abduct him. On sighting him, he attempted to flee but fell and he was captured.”

Oba Opeola also informed that some of his workers told him the abductors made away with about N2 million accrued from sales of products.

“There had been lots of criminality going around in Iroko in the last few weeks which we brought to the notice of the Police command. Only adequate security can save this community from crime, especially what the kidnap of Dayo has exposed us to,” the monarch said.

Bandits waylay passenger bus, kidnap 14 travellers

In the Rivers incident, bandits were said to have hijacked a commercial bus at Evekwu community axis of the East-West Road, kidnapping the 14 passengers and driver on board.

It was learned that the bandits led the kidnapped passengers into the bush and left the bus by the roadside.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed the development, said efforts are on to the rescue the victims.

Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, noted that the abductors kidnapped three passengers and the driver, adding that management of the transportation firm, Libra Motors, also confirmed that the bus was hijacked and passengers abducted.

He disclosed that the police have recovered the vehicle, adding that efforts are on to track down the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the police has smashed a three-man robbery gang terrorising Mile 3 area of Port Harcourt and recovered guns.

Omoni said the suspects have confessed to the crime and would be prosecuted accordingly on completion of investigation.

However, Yusuf Lawan Dauda, biological brother to former APC gubernatorial candidate in Zamfara State in the last election who was kidnapped by bandits some months ago, regained his freedom yesterday evening.

Yusuf was abducted by armed bandits along Gusau-Sokoto road, on his way back to his residence at Gada Biyu area, with the bandits demanding N300 million ransom. It was not, however, clear if ransom was paid before his eventual release.

According to Malam Ibrahim Bello Zauma, Senior Special Adviser to Zamfara State Governor, the state government release of the victim.

He said:  “In his unrelenting effort to make Zamfara a peaceful place for all, His Excellency, Governor Bello Matawalle, amid his Umrah spiritual pre-occupation, worked and co-ordinated the successful release of Yusuf Lawal Dauda, the brother of philanthropic politician, Dauda Lawal.

“Yusuf has been in captivity for three months and his captors asked for N300 million ransom for his release. Hope for his freedom has been very slim until his Excellency, Governor Bello Matawalle negotiated and secured his release today. (yesterday)

“Governor Bello Matawalle assures the good people of Zamfara of his commitment to the security of lives and property in the state.”

Buhari orders security agencies to end Taraba violence

Reacting to the killings in Taraba State, President Buhari, yesterday, ordered security forces to end the violence immediately and decisively.

The President warned that attacks on innocent people in the name of revenge or whatever motives would not be tolerated by the government.

According to him, “No group of people has the right to surround innocent people and unleash murderous violence on them.”

He said resorting to self-help was an invitation to anarchy which in turn will make everyone unsafe.

President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja noted that in a cycle of violence characterised by revenge and counter-revenge, there are no winners.

Bring perpetrators of Taraba killings to book, CAN tells security chiefs

Also yesterday, Taraba State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, appealed to the state Commissioner of Police and Commanding Officer, 20 Model Battalion, Serti, to ensure justice was done to the innocent lives lost to gunmen who, on Monday and Tuesday, attacked two communities in the state.

State Chairman of CAN, Innocent Solomon, who spoke at a reception in Jalingo, to honour the newly elected National Vice President of CAN, Caleb Ahima, condemned the separate attacks and sympathised with families of the deceased.

He said: “We admonish those at the helm of affairs to use their powers correctly, righteously and fairly, and ensure that justice, which is the fundamental principles of governance, is adhered to.

“Justice must be served on those who are executing ordinary and law abiding citizens of the country, especially in Northern Nigeria.”

Solomon, who commended Caleb Ahima for the feat attained, also congratulated Samson Ayokunle on his re-election as the National President of CAN.

In his remarks, Ahima said the church must pray hard and remain united  to salvage the country from its numerous challenges.

“For Nigeria to remain a strong entity, there must be justice and equity for all,” he said.

 

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