Police continue VIP duties as bandits, terrorists kill over 269 in April

By AdvocateNews on 01/05/2021

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IGP Usman Alkali Baba
IGP Usman Alkali Baba

The Nigeria Police has continued to assign cops to VIPs, including entertainers and businessmen, for personal security, despite the rising insecurity in the country and an order that such escort duties should stop, Saturday PUNCHhas learnt.

While checks by Saturday PUNCH showed that at least 269 people, including security agents, were killed by bandits and terrorists in April alone, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said on Friday that no fewer than 323 persons were killed and 949 kidnapped by bandits in Kaduna State alone in the last three months.

Saturday PUNCH said it arrived at the figure of 269 persons killed in April alone, by collating figures from several reports published by five national dailies in the month.

However, the figure does not include persons killed in communal clashes, by armed robbers and cultists.

The killings, news reports showed, mainly took place in Kaduna, Benue, Zamfara, Borno, Nasarawa, Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Niger and Yobe states.

On April 1, 2021, five soldiers and two villagers were killed in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State while on the same day, bandits killed two persons, including Dayyabu Jaafar, a former Councillor in Ungwan Fada of Gaywam Ward, in the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State.

On April 3, 2021, the Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, Mohammed Hussaini; as well as the MACBAN chairman in the Toto Local Government Area, Mohammed Umar, were killed. Expectedly, their murder was condemned by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

Not less than eight persons were, on April 6, killed in a church in Kasuwan Magani in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State while two policemen were shot dead at a checkpoint in the Takun Local Government Area of Taraba State.

About 10 soldiers were killed in the Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State on April 9 while six civilians were killed by Boko Haram during an attack on a United Nations hub in Mobbar, Borno State on April 10. The terrorists also killed seven in Kwapre, Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa the next day.

On April 14, about 10 persons were killed by Boko Haram in Damasak, Borno State while three were murdered at a burial in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Approximately 60 persons were killed during coordinated simultaneous attacks in several Zamfara communities on April 21.

On April 23, three persons, including a monarch, Hyacinth Ason, were killed at Tse Zoola community in Benue while the next day, three students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, were murdered by bandits.

Perhaps, the deadliest attack was on April 26, wherein 40 persons were killed in Anambra, Imo, Kebbi and Rivers, a day described as ‘Black Monday.’ Two soldiers and three policemen were among the casualties.

On the same day, 11 Tiv farmers were killed in the Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State while seven others were slaughtered in the Abagana Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Benue.

Two days after, 21 persons were murdered in Ebonyi, Enugu, Benue and Katsina. About 19 herders were also killed in Anambra on April 24.

The police had on October 22, 2020, ordered the immediate withdrawal of policemen from VIPs except senior elected officials and government functionaries due to the low number of police personnel.

However, Saturday Punch reports that checks have showed that the order was only obeyed partially and for a short while.

In an interview, the Programmes Manager, Amnesty International Nigeria, Mr Seun Bakare, said the number of policemen available for policing duty was inadequate.

Bakare added that the government had an obligation to protect its population and “the rising death toll in all parts of Nigeria shows just how badly the authorities are failing in this responsibility.”

He added, “There is no doubt that rising insecurity across the country has left thousands dead and many more at the risk of further human rights abuses and violations.

“Amnesty International’s previous research has shown that government’s failure to protect people, especially people in rural areas, is largely responsible for these increased attacks by bandits and other criminal groups.

“Available figures show that the number of policemen available for policing duty is grossly inadequate. This is unacceptable. The priority of the police should be protecting all Nigerians.”

The Police Service Commission had said in 2018 that over 150,000 policemen were attached to VIPs and unauthorised persons in the country, and the number of policemen in the country estimated at 370,000.

This means about 40 per cent of the personnel in the Nigeria Police are attached to VIPs.

However, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos and Benue, Fatai Owoseni, said the pressure from politicians made it difficult for the police high command to withdraw police escorts.

Owoseni said, “When it comes to withdrawal of policemen from VIPs, it is very easy to blame the IGP or the leadership of the police but it takes political will.

 “The IGP may decide to withdraw policemen from VIPs but before you know it, every political appointee, including special advisers, would claim their lives are being threatened and that they cannot perform their duties without security.

“And that is why I say without political will, nothing will change. Even councillors and local government chairmen ask for police security. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Even cooks who work for political office holders now have police escorts.”

323 killed, 36 AK-47 rifles, 1,959 ammunition rounds recovered in Kaduna

According to the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Aruwan, 323 people were killed in three months across the state.

He said 292 of the casualties were males, 20 females and 11 minors.

Aruwan said military troops, however, neutralised 64 bandits and arrested several gunrunners in Kaduna State.

The commissioner gave these figures while giving the security report of state for the first quarter of 2021.

According to Aruwan, the report covered cases of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, attacks and reprisals.

He said, “The report also captured the aerial missions conducted over identified bandit hideouts and locations across the state, during which multiple scores of bandits were engaged and neutralised, with their camps destroyed.

“Deaths linked to banditry, violent attacks, communal clashes and reprisals in the first quarter total 323 across the state.”

Aruwan said the report revealed that 236 of the deaths occurred in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Igabi, Giwa and Kajuru LGAs.

“Birnin Gwari recorded the highest figure of 77 deaths, followed by Chikun with 52, Igabi, 45, Giwa, 42, Kajuru 20 deaths in the first quarter.

“Southern Kaduna Senatorial District had 68 deaths in total, of which five were women and two below the age of 18.

“Kajuru had 28 deaths, followed by Zangon Kataf with 14 and Kagarko with 12.

“The Northern senatorial zone is the least affected, with 19 people killed and Zaria has the highest casualty of six.

“As earlier highlighted, 64 armed bandits were neutralised during engagements with ground forces.”

Meanwhile, some bandits were neutralised by the military through about 150 targeted aerial missions conducted by the Nigerian Air Force.

This was as he declared that during the period under review, Aruwan said scores of gunrunners were intercepted while 36 AK-47 rifles, 1,959 rounds of live ammunition and one rocket-propelled grenade were recovered.

He added that the onslaught against the bandits “were initiated based on credible intelligence of bandit activities and locations of camps, which were targeted and destroyed.”

 “Vigorous investigations are ongoing towards dismantling more gun-running networks and block arms routes into the state, as these are central to the perpetuation of violence and armed banditry, through the trade in small arms and light weapons,” Aruwan said.

The commissioner added that the Kaduna State government “reiterates its empathy towards individuals and groups who have suffered terrible losses and untold hardship as a result of violence and insecurity, and of its resolve to intensify efforts towards enduring peace and security across the state.”

Kidnappers of 65 Adara natives, others demand N350m ransom – SOKAPU

Meanwhile, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union said on Friday that the kidnappers of 65 Adara natives abducted from Libere Gida, Kalla Ward in the Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, have demanded N350m as ransom to free the victims.

SOKAPU’s spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat, who made this known in a statement, said the kidnappers contacted the community on Thursday to make the demand.

The kidnappers, he said, told members of the community that they held 77 persons hostage.

SOKAPU had earlier reported that 10 of the 65 abducted villagers were able to escape a day after they were kidnapped.

Going by latest village headcount, 72 persons – 16 males and 56 females – are being held by the kidnappers.

Binniyat said, “Six days after 65 Adara natives were abducted from Libere Gida, Kallah Ward in the Kajuru Local Government Area in the southern part of Kaduna State, their abductors made contact with the community.

 “The kidnappers said that they have 77 persons in detention. They are asking for N350m in exchange for the freedom of their captives.

 “Surprisingly, the Kaduna State Government that has made it a habit of churning out daily updates on the security situation in Kaduna State has not made any mention of this mass abduction, which occurred in Libere Gida around 11.30pm of April 22, 2021.” --Punch

Posted 01/05/2021 03:03:38 AM


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