Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday confirmed the presence of terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Ansaru, in Kaduna forests.
He called on the military and security agencies to explore fresh strategies to tackle terrorists in the state before things get out of hands.
El-Rufai, who stated this during the presentation of the security situation in Kaduna State for the first quarter of 2022 at Government House, Kaduna, said one of the released victims of Abuja-Kaduna train kidnapping told the state government that Boko Haram sees Kaduna forests as better than Sambisa and has called on all their members to relocate to Kaduna.
The governor urged security agencies to mount surveillance at Rigana, Kateri and Akilobu settlements, maintaining that the three settlements had become havens for criminal activities.
He said: “This presentation has brought new emerging concerns that I would want the security council to take note of and maybe discuss and proffer solutions. Great concern is the emergence of Boko Haram terrorist enclave as well as the activities of Ansaru, particularly in Birnin Gwari and Chikun LGAs.
“Among those kidnapped from the Abuja-Kaduna train was a former roommate and classmate of mine who was released upon payment of ransom. Throughout the period that he was in captivity, it was very clear that the terrorists were making comments like ‘the forests in Kaduna are even better than Sambisa and they should all relocate here’ and this is the area we should be very concerned about.
“This is where we should be making a point: the problem of insecurity in the North East has moved to the North West. The situation in the North West is far more serious and could be potentially more dangerous and we would like the military and security agencies to take notice of this before it goes out of control.”
The governor warned patent medicine store owners against selling drugs to youths, threatening to demolish any building housing anyone found wanting.
“In the continued mishap of Rigana, Kateri, Akilubo axis, in all these crimes, particularly the safety of Abuja-Kaduna Road, we have been exploring what to do with these three settlements, whether to relocate them near Kagarko, or to clear the whole settlements. I would like the security council to deliberate on this. There is something wrong with the three settlements,” the governor said.
On his part, commissioner of internal security and home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed that 360 persons were killed by bandits/terrorists, communal clashes, violent and reprisal attacks between January and March this year in the state.
He said of the number, 44 were women, while 11 were minors below the age of 18.
Aruwan explained that Southern Kaduna Senatorial District recorded 139 deaths in the period under review, while the Kaduna Central Senatorial District recorded 214 deaths.
According to him, 210 of these occurred in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, Chikun and Kajuru LGAs.
“Giwa LGA recorded 87 deaths, Igabi LGA 43, Chikun LGA 32, Birnin Gwari LGA 25 and Kajuru LGA recorded 23 deaths in the first quarter of 2022,” he said, noting that the Northern Senatorial District recorded seven deaths in the first quarter.
Aruwan further revealed that 1,389 people were kidnapped between January and March this year, with Kaduna central senatorial district accounting for 1,083.
The commissioner said, “Southern Kaduna senatorial district recorded 249 kidnapped persons, with Kachia LGA reporting the highest number of 207. The Northern senatorial district recorded 57 kidnapped persons, with 29 of these from Zaria LGA. In total, 480 women and 79 minors were kidnapped in the first quarter across the state,” Aruwan stated.
Another 4 Students Kidnapped In Gidan Waya
Meanwhile, four students of Kaduna State College of Education (KSCOE), Gidan Waya in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have been kidnapped by suspected bandits.
The students were abducted at Mile 1 area of Gidan Waya axis on Monday evening, Mr Benjamin Fie, spokesperson of the Kaduna State Student Union (KADSSU), KSCOE Chapter, disclosed in a statement yesterday.
Fie said the abductors had already demanded a huge amount of money as ransom before they could release the students.
He gave the names of the kidnapped students as Racheal Edwin, a 200-level student of Biology/Geography Department; Esther Ishaya, 200-level student of Economics and History Department; Promise Tanimu, 200-level student of English/History Department and Beauty Luka, a 300-level student of Spe/CRS Department
He said, “It is with a bitter heart that the Kaduna State Student Union (KADSSU) of the prestigious Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, wishes to make it known to the college community and the public that four of their students were abducted.
“Their abductors are demanding huge sums as ransom. We want to use this medium to urge the college community and all the students to commit themselves, the school and their parents to prayers.”
When the Kaduna Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Mohammed Jalige, was called for confirmation, he did not pick his calls and as at the time of this report, there was no official statement from the school or government.
Troops Kill 60 Criminals, Rescue 63 Civilians, As 1,627 Terrorists Surrender
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that troops killed 60 terrorists, bandits and other economic saboteurs and arrested 38 others during operations across the country.
Also, 63 civilians held captive were rescued just as 1,627 terrorists surrendered to troops.
The director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who disclosed this during a biweekly update on the Armed Forces of Nigeria between 28 April – 19 May, 2022, said 17 Illegal refining sites were discovered and deactivated.
He said as of 16 May, 2022, 53,262 terrorists had surrendered to troops in the North East.
In a breakdown, he said troops of Operation Hadin Kai on 13 May, 2022, acting on intelligence report, arrested Mallam Modu Goni, a terrorist and logistics supplier, at Bunin Yadi Market.
Also, on 17 May, 2022, troops arrested Mallam Modu Pantami at the outskirt of Benishiek village in Kaga local government area while attempting to transport a large quantity of logistics items he purchased for onward supply to terrorists at Gomari village in Fere local government area of Borno State.
Items recovered from him, he said, include: two mobile phones, cartons of assorted drugs and injections of different types, five gallons of PMS, 20 turban scarfs, 50kg bags of sugar, three bags of 50kg flour, five cartons of Maltina drinks, 290 sets of female hijabs, 20 female rubber shoes, 325 litres of red oil, and 15 sets of Kaftan cloth.
Others were five black trousers, five cartons of macaroni, six Cartons of spaghetti, three cartons of sweet, four mudu (measures) of date (Dabino), five sacks of soft drinks, four daggers, three cartons of maggi, one big basket of kolanuts, 10 boxes of matches, five sacks of detergent, 10 rubber mats and N200,000.
He said, “Between 1st – 14 May, 2022, a total of 1,627 Boko Haram terrorists and their families surrendered to own troops at different locations. They comprise 331 men, 441 women and 855 children. As of 16th May, 2022, a total of 53,262 had so far surrendered”.
He said the troops, during an ambush at a terrorists’ crossing point at Kaidieri village, killed five terrorists and captured assorted weapons and different calibres of ammunition.
“Consequently, during these operations, troops rescued 63 civilians, neutralized 42 terrorists, arrest 20 terrorists,” he said.
He listed the items recovered to include two LMGS, 21 AK47 rifles, 11 AK 56 rifles, 22 MGs, 419 rounds of 7.62mm and 54mm ammunition, one gun turret, 31 AK 47 magazines, three motorcycles, six bicycles, one pumping machine, two bandolier belts containing 377 rounds of 7.62mm and 54mm ammunition, and one Isuzu vehicle.
In a related development, troops of Operation Delta Safe, in the period under review, discovered and destroyed 17 illegal refineries, five wooden boats, 89 storage tanks, 59 ovens and 12 dugout pits.
The troops also recovered six pumping machines, five trucks, two outboard engines, two weapons, 778,500 litres of crude oil, 840,300 litres of AGO, 625 litres of DPK, and arrested 18 criminals.
Furthermore, troops deployed for Operation Dakatar da Barawo, in the period under review, discovered and destroyed 150 illegal refineries, 59 ovens, 67 metal storage tanks, and four wooden Cotonou boats.
“Cumulatively, the operations led to the recovery of one Yamaha engine, one generator, three pumping machines,20,000 litres of kerosine,1,625,000 litres of AGO, and 2,050,000 litres of crude oil.”
In similar vein, troops in Operation Whirl Stroke neutralised 13 bandits and recovered 27 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, one motorcycle and 8 phones.
He said all surrendered Boko Haram terrorists, recovered items, rescued civilians and captured terrorists had been handed over to appropriate authorities for further actions.
Victims’ Families Warn Against Kaduna Train Resumption
Meanwhile, families of the victims of the train attack of 28th March, 2022, have again warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) not to take their patience for granted over the planned resumption of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
The families warned that unless their beloved ones were rescued unhurt by the authorities, they would resist any attempt to resume the train services.
They also demanded the sack of the entire management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation for their gross incompetence.
This is just as they claimed that the managing director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, lied when he said he had been in contact with the families of the victims.
Speaking on behalf of the victims’ families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, their chairman, told journalists at a media briefing in Kaduna yesterday, that it was unfortunate that 52 days after the abduction of their beloved ones, all the NRC was interested in was the resumption of train services.
Jimoh described the move of the NRC for the resumption of train services as most insensitive, considering the fact that the 61 victims of the train attack were still languishing in the kidnappers’ den.
According to him, the NRC MD also flouted the directives of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, that they constantly brief victims’ families on development as regards those in the kidnappers’ den.
“It has been 52 long days of captivity, fear, anxiety, tears, agony, trauma and, recently, despair. We cannot wait for this to come to an end. Amidst this depressing situation, the NRC announced its planned resumption of train services for Monday, May 23, 2022.
“Nigerians have clearly expressed their opposition to this highly insensitive decision of the NRC given that 61 Nigerian citizens are still languishing in the deep forest in the hands of their abductors. Moreover, can the NRC guarantee the safety of prospective passengers?” he asked.
Jimoh added the NRC had not lived up to expectation for two weeks, as presidential directives said that the corporation should give minute-by-minute account of rescue efforts to relatives, saying that “this task, as simple as it is to accomplish, has not been attended to by NRC.”
“We have been kept in the dark to continue agonising and, indeed, some family members are now on the verge of mental instability. One can only imagine the physical, mental, and emotional status of our relatives in captivity.
“We, the relatives of abducted passengers, are proud Nigerians with clear identities. We are not ghosts and we are certainly not faceless as alleged by the management of the NRC in their press release.
“The MD of NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, claimed in a recent interview with Arise TV that he has been in regular contact with the real relatives of kidnapped passengers.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. We challenge Mr. Okhiria to name just 10 of the real relatives he has been dealing with, out of the over 1000 relatives of the passengers still held hostage in the forest.
“This deliberate misinformation by Mr. Okhiria is least expected of a public servant of his standing and, more so, in a situation that requires utmost sincerity in resolving the current challenge of hostage-taking.”
Jimoh called on the federal government to relieve the management of the NRC of their jobs for gross incompetence.
“The attitude of the top management of NRC to presidential directives is a clear testimony of gross incompetence and insensitivity to the plight of relatives of abducted passengers and we demand the immediate replacement.
“We would, once again, like to appeal most passionately to Mr. President to direct all security agencies involved in the rescue efforts to accelerate action so that our beloved ones in captivity can be reunited with us soonest,” he added.