Bandits

By Nnamdi Ojiego

Since April 2014 after the Boko Haram terrorists abducted 276 schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno State, mass kidnapping for ransom has gradually, become the other of the day in Nigeria.

Findings by Sunday Vanguard show that the country has witnessed staggering 111 kidnapping incidents in the last eight months, that is, from January to mid-August, 2021.

The total figure represents confirmed cases by the police and eye witnesses’ accounts eventually reported by the media.

Sunday Vanguard learned that many other unreported incidents may have taken place, especially in Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina states (North-West and North-Central) where banditry is raging. Thus, the sum total may well be above 111 if all cases were captured.

The highest number of kidnap cases (27), was recorded in February with 605 victims. This was closely followed by July (23) and January (21) with 327 and 284 victims respectively.

The situation was made worse due to alleged breakdown of security architecture in the country especially in the North-West and North-East.

Security experts say the inability of the Federal Government, through the security agencies, to stem the development has led to a surge in kidnapping and banditry.

According to the experts, armed bandits have taken advantage of weak security presence to continue their reign of terror on schools, villages and highways.

SBM Intelligence

According to a report by SBM Intelligence, an average of 13 persons were abducted daily in Nigeria in the first half of 2021, thereby underscoring how common and daring the criminals have become.

The findings, which covered Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, South-West, South -East, South-South, North-Central, North-East and North-West, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, represent the reported cases.

Pattern

The pattern of abduction remained the same in the North, where victims were often kidnapped en mass during attacks on remote villages and schools.

Mass abduction of travellers on highways emerged as the latest mode of operation by gunmen who have become more daring.

This is not prevalent in the North alone as highways in the South-West and South-South have become hot spots.

Some of the dangerous roads identified include Benin-Ore Highway, Benin-Auchi-Okene Highway, Keffi-Akwanga Highway, Akure-Owo Expressway, Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja Road, Zaria-Sokoto-Gusau, Bauchi-Tafawa-Balewa Highway, Wukari-Takum Road and Minna -Kotongora Road.

In the South-West where herdsmen have been accused of most of the incidents, victims were often abducted on highways and farms.

Clear strategy

Sunday Vanguard notes that after each mass abduction, state and federal governments condemn the attack in strong terms, with promises to rescue abductees.

Without any clear strategy for arresting the scourge, which has spread to every part of the country, authorities and individuals pay huge sums to kidnappers.

Kidnapping: Fast growing industry

Sunday Vanguard investigations also showed that about N11.415 billion was demanded as ransom for kidnapped victims across the country.

Kidnapping has become commonplace and a sort of business to bandits and other criminal elements who raid, kill and mass kidnap for ransom, particularly of school children.

It is a fast growing industry and has remained the most virulent form of banditry in the country.

Recent reports have shown that criminals are often driven by financial motives to kidnap children and others and hold them for ransom.

Attacks on schools

Nigeria’s kidnap-for-ransom industry is growing, and it’s not just the well-off who are at risk.

The new targets are poor villagers and ordinary schoolchildren.

Since the well-publicised abduction in 2014 of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State, more armed groups have resorted to mass abduction of students.

Authorities say recent attacks on schools, especially in the North-West, have been carried out by bandits, who are largely motivated by money.

The timeline below shows how thriving kidnapping has become in Nigerians

August 3, 2021: Police kill three kidnappers, rescue commissioner’s wife and driver in Benue

August 5, 2021: Bandits kidnap father of Zamfara Assembly Speaker, five others

August 9, 2021: Gunmen kidnap Niger Commissioner for Information

August 9, 2021: Pastor, wife, 27 others kidnapped in Kwara

August 12, 2021: Gunmen abduct ex-councillor’s wife, 7-month-old son in Zamfara

July 3, 2021: Bandits abduct 7 women, 4 children along Birnin Gwari Road

July 5, 2021: Boko Haram abducts Rev. Fr. Elijah Juma Wada of Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri.

July 5, 2021: Gunmen attack National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Centre in Kaduna, kidnap 8

July 5, 2021: 150 students abducted from Kaduna school

July 6, 2021: Gunmen kidnap 4 farmers in Ekiti

July 8, 2021: 16 kidnapped by gunmen in Damishi, Kaduna State

July 8, 2021: Bandits demand N220 million as ransom for 11 persons abducted from Anguwan Gimbiya, a suburb of Kaduna State

July 11, 2021: Emir of Kajuru, 13 family members, aides, kidnapped in Kaduna

July 13, 2021: Kogi monarch kidnapped

July 14, 2021: Wife of former LGA Chairman kidnapped in Jigawa

July 16, 2021: Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Hussaini Ahmed, killed, in-law kidnapped by bandits along Lokoja-Abuja highway.

July 18, 2021: Bandits kill one, abduct 7 in attack in Kaduna

July 18, 2021: Bandits attack two vehicles, abduct six occupants around Bade forest in Kaduna

July 19, 2021: Gunmen kidnap medical doctor in Kogi

July 19, 2021: Five kidnap suspects set ablaze in Edo

July 19, 2021: Gunmen hijack boat, abduct 5 maritime union workers, 3 others in Rivers

July 19, 2021: Armed herders abduct, kill 2 aid workers, Gov Ortom’s relation, 5 others in Benue

July 21, 2021: Kidnappers abduct 38-year-old man in Jigawa

July 21, 2021: Bayelsa SSG’s mother kidnapped

July 25, 2021: Gunmen hijack 3 buses, kill 2, abduct 60 passengers in Sokoto

July 26, 2021: Bandits abduct monarch in Kaduna, demand N100m ransom

July 30, 2021: Unknown gunmen kidnap night club operator in Bayelsa

June 2, 2021: 200 pupils of the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina, Niger State abducted.

June 4, 2021: Bandits kidnap 2 Kaduna nurses

June 8, 2021: Kidnappers abduct Abuja tailor, Mary Adi

June 9, 2021: Abductors kidnap Dr Dan Ella, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Jos.

June 14, 2021: Ekiti farmer, Jimoh Olodan, kidnapped

June 17, 2021: Armed bandits strike, abduct students at Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State.

June 28, 2021: Ekiti monarch, Oba Benjamin Oso, kidnapped

June 28, 2021: One Lukman Ibrahim kidnapped, pregnant wife killed in Offa, Kwara State

June 30, 2021: Bandits kidnap students of Bethel Baptist School, Kaduna; and Peter Jediel, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Taraba State

May 2, 2021: Kogi council chairman abducted

May 12, 2021: Ondo graduate abducted

May 16, 2021: Ondo pastor, Otamayomi Ogedengbe kidnapped

READ ALSO: IGP visits Awolowos, say kidnapping cases over-rated

May 29, 2021: Katsina Sharia Court Judge, Alkali Hussaini Sama’ila, kidnapped

May 30, 2021: Armed gang abducts over 100 students from an Islamic school in Niger State

May 30, 2021: Nasarawa State House of Assembly member, Ismail Danbaba, abducted in Kaduna

April 6, 2021: Kidnappers kill Lagos-based pastor in Ondo after collecting N2m ransom

April 7, 2021: Kidnappers abduct 2 Chinese miners in Osun State

April 19, 2021: Masked armed men kidnap 2 Fulani in Oke-Ogun, Oyo State

April 20, 2021: Gunmen kidnap 20 students, 2 staff members of Greenfield University, Kaduna

April 23, 2021: Ekiti traditional ruler, Oba David Oyewumi, abducted

April 26, 2021: Three kidnapped construction workers in Ondo released

April 27, 2021: Nursing mother, 8 others in Ogbomoso, Oyo State abducted

March 8, 2021: Bandits kidnap 30 in Rafi LGA of Niger State

March 11, 2021: Gunmen kidnapped 39 College of Forestry, Afaka, Kaduna

March 23, 2021: Gunmen kidnap FCTA staff members, 3 others

March 28, 2021: Abductors of RCCG members in Kaduna demand N50m ransom

March 29, 2021: Kidnappers of Sarkin Hausa younger brother in Osun demand N50 million ransom

February 1: Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Arwan, says some people abducted when bandits attacked Barawa village, Fatika District, in Giwa LGA of the state.

February 1: Peace Ogbogbo, wife of an Ughelli businessman in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State, kidnapped

February 2: The police in Abuja confirm abduction of John Makama, father of Gwari Local Council Chairman

February 2: 40 people kidnapped in a renewed bandit attack on Shiroro communities in Niger State

February 6: A farmer, Solomon Akinmeji in Iju Akure North Council Area of Ondo State, kidnapped

February 9: Gunmen attack ambulance conveying a corpse, killing an occupant and abducting one at Ahor, Benin Bye-pass, Edo State

February 9: Jimoh Folowosele, an indigene of Aramoko Ekiti, in Ekiti West LGA, abducted while on official duty in Geidam, a border town in Yobe State

February 9: A 46-year-old tipper lorry owner in Ilorin, Alhaji Musa Atere, kidnapped along Ogundele/Madi Road in Ilorin LGA of Kwara State.

February 10: Unidentified gunmen kidnap seven travellers on Benin-Warri Highway at Sapele Oghara axis

February 13: The traditional ruler of Uruagu, Nnewi, Anambra State abducted. The victim, Obi Charles Afam Obi, kidnapped in Orafite on his way back from a burial ceremony

February 13: Bandits kidnap 13 persons in Faskari LGA of Katsina on their way to Funtua to access poverty alleviation loans

February 14: 18 persons abducted by bandits, who ambushed a passenger bus in Rah LGA of Niger State

February 15: No fewer than 20 villagers from different communities in Rafi LGA of Niger State kidnapped.

February 17: 42 persons out of which are 27 students were among those kidnapped from Government Science College, Kagara in Rafi LGA of Niger State

February 18: Bandits invade communities in Shiroro, LGA of Niger State, kidnapped no fewer than 10 persons after killing two

February 18: Gunmen kidnap 91-year-old traditional ruler of Kunduru community in Katsina State

February 20: The driver of Adamawa United Football Club, Kabiru Mohammed, kidnapped on Benin-Ore Highway

February 21: University of Ibadan student, Emmanuel Odetunde, abducted around while working at his father’s poultry farm in Oke Odan, Apete area of Ibadan, Oyo State

February 22: 81-year-old, Chief Bassy Iyamba, kidnapped from his house in Calabar South LGA, Cross River State

February 23: Lecturer at the Department of Linguistics and Communication, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Jones, and traditional ruler in Rivers State abducted by suspected kidnappers, who also attacked journalists of the Rivers State Television, RSTV.

February 24: Scores of travellers abducted by suspected Boko Haram members along Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway.

February 25: No fewer than 317 students of Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata Mafara LGA, Zamfara State, abducted by bandits.

February 27: Bandits kill six persons and kidnapped 15 others in attacks on communities in two LGAs of Niger State.

JANUARY 4: Kidnappers abduct Senior Protection Assistant with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, Abubakar Idris, along Damaturu Road, Borno State

January 4: Gunmen kidnap a medical doctor, Akindele Kayode, from a Health Care Centre at Tapa in Ibarapa North Local Government Area, LGA, Oyo State

January 5: In Niger State, residents of Yakila community in Rafi LGA attacked by bandits, who kidnapped village head, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdul, a nurse and her two kids.

January 5: No fewer than 40 persons kidnapped in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, according to Birnin Gwari Progressive Union

January 5: Gunmen kill one person, abduct over 20 others along Mungi Buga in Gwari Gadabule village in Toto LGA, Nasarawa State

January 5: Traveller abducted, driver killed along Ise Isua -Akoko Highway, Ondo State

January 6: Fashion designer’s apprentice in Ondo town, Ondo State, kidnaps lover’s three month–old- baby girl

January 5: Zamfara State Police Command says kidnappers struck at Kaduari village in Maru LGA and kidnapped six children of one Alhaji Sabi Gyare

January 12: A lecturer with Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic in Bori LGA of Rivers State, simply identified as Mr. James, abducted by gunmen at his residence in Ugwurutali, Ikwere LGA.

January 13: Gunmen kidnap four nursing mothers alongside 14 others in Mando village, Birnin Gwari LGA, Kaduna State.

January 14: Ekiti-based petrol dealer, Suleiman Akinbami, kidnapped

January 15: A kidnap attempt claimed the lives of Alhaji Yinusa Gambo and Mallam Surajo at Chikaji village, Igabi LGA, Kaduna State

January 20: Dean, Faculty of Science and Education and Head of Department of Mathematics, Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State, Professor Johnson Fatokun, abducted along Akwanga-Keffi highway at Kurmi Shinkafa village

January 23: 25-year-old son of Bauchi State Auditor-General, Ziilkifiru Muhammed, escapes from kidnappers’ den. Mohammed was kidnapped alongside his father’s friend, Tiyasu Suleiman, along Bauchi- Tafawa Belewa Highway after the Auditor General, Abdu Aliu was shot.

January 24: Bandits invade Kafin Koro and adjourning villages in Paikoro LGA of Niger State, kill five persons and abduct one while 10 others sustain various degrees of injury.

January 24: A spokesperson for Nigeria Immigration Service, Edo State Command, Mrs. Bridget Esene, kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Benin. She says her abductors sold her to herdsmen.

January 25: Kidnappers attack Raphael Orphanage Home in Abaji Area Council of the FCT, Abuja, abducting at least eight children and three others.

January 25: The wife of the late Zonal Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kogi State, Matthew Kola –Ojo, is among 14 people kidnapped between Ife and Egbeda in Ijumu Council Area of Kogi State

January 26: A former councilor in Nkari Ward 4 in Ini LGA of Akwa Ibom State, Benjamin Akpan, says four persons abducted after an attack in the area.

January 27: An aide to the member representing Oru West Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Dominic Ezerioha, abducted by gunmen

January 28: 83 persons including 27 wedding guests abducted along Wukari- Takum Road in Taraba State. 56 kidnapped in Niger State.

Vanguard News Nigeria

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.