- More people kidnapped in Abuja
- Police arrest 1,214 kidnappers in 9 months
- Family of civil defence officer asked to pay N30m ransom
The principal of Kajuru Technical College in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State has been abducted from his house by yet to be identified gunmen.
The gunmen reportedly stormed the school premises around 1am yesterday and started shooting sporadically before attacking the principal’s residence.
The attack is coming exactly a week after similar incident at Engravers College, a mixed boarding school on the outskirts of Kaduna, where six female students aged between 16 and 18 years, their matron and a teacher were abducted.
Witnesses of yesterday’s abduction in Kajuru said: “The sound of gunshots around the principal’s house woke people within the neighbourhood up.”
A neighbour of the abducted principal told the Daily Trust: “We didn’t sleep because my house is close to the school. I called one of my neighbours when the shooting became persistent and terrifying.
“We became very scared and I decided to run away from my house by scaling the fence. After a while, one of the teachers in the school called and told me what was going on,” he said. He said the criminals had difficulty accessing the premises of the principal.
“It was difficult for them because the door had strong padlocks, so it took them time to break in,” he said.
The source said the wife of the principal was abducted two years ago, adding that after the incident the principal took steps to fortify the house by installing stronger locks.
“When the abductors came this time around, it took them over an hour. The entire community was helpless; we couldn’t do anything to help him because we don’t have weapons to confront them with.
He added that the abductors did not take any student from the school.
“They only abducted the principal and left, leaving people of the community devastated.
“About an hour after they left, the security personnel that visited the community also left,” he said.
He appealed to government to quickly take measures to check the unfortunate trend. “If they can’t do anything, they should allow everybody to carry guns so that we will defend ourselves from these criminals.
“Once the bandits know that we also are armed, they will not just come and be abducting people,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Kaduna State, DSP Yakubu Sabo, was yet to respond to enquiries about the incident at the time of filing this report.
More people abducted in Abuja
At least 12 people were abducted by gunmen in Kuje, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the past 72 hours, heightening fears that the seat of power is no longer safe.
Five operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were among the 12 kidnapped between Monday and Wednesday at Pegi and Dafara, two communities located about a kilometre apart, in Kuje Area Council of the FCT.
The latest case of kidnapping which occurred on Wednesday about 8.30pm at Dafara village near Kuje town, was that of an unnamed officer of the corps who is currently being held alongside his wife and child.
The kidnapping incident, Daily Trust gathered, resulted in the death of a vigilante group member identified as Williams, who along with his colleagues attempted to confront the gunmen.
The kidnappers of the civil defence officer and his family have demanded for N30 million ransom.
A relative of the victims who preferred anonymity, confided in our reporter last night that the kidnappers demanded for the ransom.
On Tuesday morning, Abuja residents awoke to the news of the kidnapping of four civil defence operatives at Pegi while they were returning home from work in the city.
Ayeni Oluwatosin, Alfred Eharepo, Temidayo Abdulmajeed and Chris Carpenter, were the officers kidnapped alongside five others, including a 12- year-old.
Another civil defence officer, Attah Akoh, was shot and is now in fatal condition in the hospital.
Investigations by Daily Trust revealed that 46 people have been kidnapped in various places across the territory since January this year.
Five cases of kidnapping were recorded in September, but only two were confirmed by police authorities.
The police confirmed the kidnap and release of a Baze University lecturer, Abubakar Alkali and that of Aisha Umar Ardo.
The reported kidnapping of Mrs Hannah Azubuike who was allegedly picked near Habiba Plaza in Maitama, and two teenagers who were kidnapped while returning from Islamiyya school in Wuse Zone 6, were not confirmed by the police.
The months of June and July also recorded five kidnapping apiece, while April recorded four and March three.
There were five reported cases in February and one in January.
Chairman of Pegi Community Development Association (PECDA), Mr Taiwo Aderibigbe, had at the wake of the Kuje kidnappings, said the FCT was under siege.
According to him, his community has a police post with just six policemen, saying residents usually resorted to self-help when it came to the issue of security by engaging vigilantes at a fee of N500 per resident.
He explained that cases of rape, armed robbery and burglary were recurring crimes in the community which, according to him, were exacerbated by the deplorable state of the road leading to the community from Kuje town.
The FCT Police Command said it has launched a joint counter operation against the latest kidnapping in Abuja and its environs.
The spokesman of the command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, said in a statement yesterday that the joint operation comprising the police and other security agencies was also being extended to other identified blackspots within the FCT
“The operation is aimed at rescuing hostages, arresting the suspects and permanently checkmating the emerging security concerns especially around Kuje-Rubochi axis.
“As the security agencies are working assiduously to rescue the victims, residents are enjoined to be calm and support the ongoing operation with useful information,” he said.
In nearby Niger State, about 20 people were reportedly abducted on Tuesday, around Zuma Rock area, about 40-kilometres to Abuja.
The victims, including public servants and traders, were reportedly returning to their respective homes in the outskirts of Abuja around 8pm when they were stopped by the gun wielding abductors.
About nine of them were released about an hour later, following a screening exercise by the armed men who took them into the bush.
One of the survivors who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said on getting back to the highway, they met some policemen and soldiers who were guarding their vehicles and other valuables. He said he got home around 11pm.
The Police Area Commander of Suleja, ACP Isa Rambo, confirmed the incident, but added that he was not aware of those that were said to be with the abductors.
Abductions in Kebbi too
Our correspondent in Kebbi State also reported that gunmen suspected to be bandits on Wednesday invaded and abducted three persons at Kwaido, a village in Augie Local Government Area of the state.
Those abducted included Garba Gada, Salihu Audu and Buba Aliyu, with sources saying Aliyu had regained his freedom from the bandits.
It was gathered that when the gunmen invaded the community, they shot sporadically into the air to scare the villagers away so they could easily carry out their mission.
While confirming the incident to journalists, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Nafiu Abubakar, said the police could not ascertain the number of gunmen who attacked the village. He said nobody was killed or injured during the invasion.
‘Taraba records over 100 cases’
In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku said yesterday that the state recorded over 100 cases of kidnapping between January and September this year.
He disclosed this while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 3 Division, Nigerian Army Training exercise for “Operation Ayem Akpatuma II” in Jalingo, saying ransom ranging from N.5m to N5m had been collected on each of the cases.
“So many families prefer to handle cases of kidnapping themselves, without involving security agencies, so the figure may be higher,” the governor said.
“But from the information available from security agencies, over N250 million has been collected from poor families. This disturbing situation calls for government support to security agencies to tackle this growing security concern.
“In view of this we have donated 26 motorcycles and two Hilux vans to support the army in their ‘Operation Ayem Akpatuma II in the state,” the governor said.
The General Officer Commanding, 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, represented by Brig. Gen Daniel Briggs, said the training was preparatory for the official commencement of operation Ayem Akpatuma II.
At a press conference in August, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had said 1,154 suspected kidnappers were arrested across the country between January and August.
And in September, about 60 kidnappers were arrested in various states of the federation, he disclosed.