• Former commissioner, medical doctor kidnapped in Edo
• Delta communities raise alarm over influx of Northerners
• Delta monarchs want security agencies to stop herders’ killings in Delta
• We prefer Coronavirus than to be killed by bandits — Katsina District Head
• Buhari, Chief of Defence Staff meet over bandits attacks in Katsina
By Victor Young, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Ike Uchechukwu, Ozioruva Aliu & Paul Olayemi
A former Chapter Chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, Ekpenyong Akom and aide to Governor Ben Ayade, was weekend, shot dead in his neighbourhood by gunmen in a suspected cult attack.
The incident Vanguard learned occurred at 8 p.m., on Saturday at a joint close to the deceased house in Akai Efa, Calabar Municipality Local Government Area of Cross River State.
In a related development, a former Commissioner for Sports and local government chairman in Edo State, Egbe Ediagbonya has been kidnapped from his Okada farm settlement near Utese, Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Saturday.
Also, Traditional Rulers in Delta State, have called the Police and other security agencies in the state to arrest the persistent menace of kidnapping, killings and other criminal activities being perpetrated by herdsmen in the state.
In a similar vein, following the recent wave of deadly attacks on innocent villagers in several communities in Ruma and Batsari Local Government Areas of Katsina State, the District Head of Batsari, Alhaji Tukur Mu’azu, has said his subjects prefer to die of Coronavirus than being killed by rampaging bandits.
Mu’azu in a short video noted that the rising insecurity in Katsina was worse than the threat of COVID-19.
This came as President Buhari has directed the military to commence major operation to wipe the bandits and kidnappers out of Kastina State.
On the cult killing in Cross River State, a family source, who pleaded anonymity, said Akom was playing WHOT(card)with his friends at one of his brother’s joint, simply identified as CY, when the gunmen stormed the place, singled him out and shot. He died instantly.
The source said: “He was playing WHOT( cards) with his friends when the gunmen came in and shot him, and they made sure he was dead before they left in a waiting vehicle.”
Speaking further, he noted that Akom had denounced membership of cult group a long time ago but wondered why he could be targeted in the recent cult war in Calabar.
When contacted, yesterday, state Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo confirmed the killing of the ex-PDP Chapter Chairman, adding “I am aware of the tragic incident but cannot substantiate same because we are investigating the matter, but he was killed by gunmen suspected to be cultists.
“I will make available more information about the matter when I have been properly briefed, it is a sad development,” she said.
On his part, state Security Adviser to Governor Ayade, South, Mr Ani Esin lamented the cult clashes, adding that that the incident was unfortunate.
Former commissioner, medical doctor kidnapped in Edo
In Edo State, former Commissioner for Sports and council chairman, Ediagbonya has been kidnapped.
Family sources said he was kidnapped between 2 a.m., and 4 a.m,m when the gunmen broke into his farmhouse and took him away at gunpoint.
It was gathered that the suspected kidnappers have opened communication and were asking for N15 million.
Ediagbonya was chairman of Ovia North-East council chairman and later Commissioner for Sports under Adams Oshiomhole as governor of the state.
In a related development, Director, Primary Health Care of Owan East council, Dr Monday Iraoya was kidnapped while travelling from Afuze to Benin for COVID-19 training materials.
He was kidnapped between Uhumora and Ozalla on Friday and the kidnappers are asking for N100 million ransom.
A family source said: “He was kidnapped on May 15, 2020, while travelling to Benin City to collect training materials for Covid-19. They have contacted the family and are requesting for 100million.”
Vanguard gathered that the family is distraught and has been only able to raise N900,000.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor said he was expecting a comprehensive briefing on the developments from the police formations in the two areas.
Delta communities raise alarm over influx of Northerners
Communities in three local government areas of Delta State, weekend raised the alarm over the influx of Northerners into their areas.
Chairman of Ethiope West LGA of the state, Mr Solomon Golley, who spoke to Vanguard confirmed the incident. He said, “Sapele is a landlock council but Ethiope West shares a common boundary with Jesse Boboroku and Obe area, all these are boundaries with Edo State. For now, we are trying to stop the influx of not only northerners but other states trying to access the state through that area.
“Our team is on the ground to make sure that the interstate border lockdown is strictly adhered to,” adding that the state Commissioner of Environment, Mr Chris Onogba, was on the ground with his team at the border town.
But chief in Oghara, Ethiope West council, who prayed anonymity, lamented that “Northerners are sneaking into the town and the way and manner they are doing so, is frightening.”
He said, “Just go and look at the Hausa quarters, they are everywhere, we saw over 20 of them heading to Oghara after the bridge on Saturday and we don’t know where they are going to, Only God will save us.”
Some of the locals, who spoke to Vanguard in Sapele, said the influx of northerners was another big issue. A resident, Mr Egbeluya, said the way northerners were flooding the state, residents are scared that the coronavirus will not be too far off, as “Every week, we have two to three trucks of northerners coming into the state and if you go to their quarters in Sapele, you will be surprised at their numbers.”
Delta monarchs want security agencies to stop herders’ killings in Delta
Meanwhile, worried by the worsening security situations in their respective domains, Traditional Rulers in Delta State weekend called the Police and other security agencies in the state to arrest the persistent menace of kidnapping, killings and other criminal activities being perpetrated by herdsmen in Delta State.
The communiqué at the end of a meeting of the Council of Delta State Traditional Rulers, with security chiefs in the state, including the Police Commissioner, Mr Inuwa Hafiz, said the meeting was called among others, for the security agencies to explain the reasons for the upsurge in a crime wave.
Chairman of the Council and Obi of Owa, Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor, who read the communiqué, said “During the meeting, the police presented a detailed account of the security situation in Delta State, factors responsible for the high incidence of criminality and efforts of the police to stem the tide. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Ononye Mordi appeared before the monarchs to give an update on COVID 19 and efforts by Government to contain the spread.‘‘
We prefer Coronavirus than to be killed by bandits — Katsina District Head
Following bandits attacks on communities in Ruma and Batsari councils of Katsina State, the district head, Mu’azu, who holds the traditional title of Sarkin Ruma Katsina, said: “My people will prefer to die from coronavirus infection. Not from these senseless killings orchestrated by bandits. So far, the pandemic has not claimed any life in Batsari and other neighbouring councils, but the bandits have killed scores and attacked harmless villagers and residents. So, what are we saying?”
On the recent attacks launched by bandits at old and new Ruma, Mu’azu, while speaking to PRNigeria on the telephone , said the marauding criminals after invading over 10 communities, killed and maimed several lives.
He said, “The thing is, the bandits always scatter themselves when going on operations against our villages. Hence, security personnel find it difficult sometimes to easily contain the bandits’ attacks. However, we are still calling on the Federal Government to deploy more soldiers, mobile policemen and fighter helicopters to Katsina. Let them comb all the forests in our state, and eliminate these bandits.”
Speaking on the floor of the Katsina State House of Assembly Chamber, Mustapha Jibiya, said the “Irresponsibility and insensitivity” of relevant stakeholders was responsible for growing insecurity in the State.
“It is very disturbing that from eight councils, we now have about 12 councils that are ravaged by the criminals. This is as a result of the insensitivity of both the State and Federal Government,” he said.
Buhari, Chief of Defence Staff meet over bandits attacks in Katsina
Meanwhile, worried by the constant attacks by bandits in Katsina State, President Buhari has directed the military to commence major operation to wipe the bandits and kidnappers out of the state.
The President and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, met in Abuja where the latter briefed the President.
The directive by the President and his meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff was made known in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja, yesterday.
The statement said, “A major proactive operation by Special Forces, which details are being kept secret, is now in progress to replace the reactive strikes against insurgent camps.
“To give full effect to the exercise, a planning team is already in the state selecting targets and making preparations for the execution of the “unprecedented” operations.
“The Chief of Defence Staff, General Olonisakin, who has been measured in issuing official statements on the oncoming exercise, briefed the President on the plan he intends to flag off shortly.
“President Buhari, who expressed sadness over the recent attacks in the state extended his condolences to the families of those killed and prayed for the recovery of the injured.”