By Bolaji Ogundele, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Crucial meeting with security top brass to reconvene Tuesday
4,566 killed, 2,860 abducted in 2020 – Report
Bandits kill 323, kidnap 949 in three months in Kaduna
Boko Haram attacks another Yobe town
Shake-up in police over insecurity as IGP redeploys Anambra CP, others
President Muhammadu Buhari is considering taking ‘profound measures’ to tackle the surge in banditry and similar criminal activities across the country following an emergency meeting with security top brass in Abuja on Friday.
The meeting which had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno and the service chiefs will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss the worsening insecurity.
The meeting came on a day Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) reported that 4,556 persons were violently killed and 2,860 were kidnapped in 2020 alone in Nigeria while the Kaduna State Government said bandits operating in the state killed a total of 323 residents and kidnapped 949 others in the last three months.
The police hierarchy has named Mr. Christopher Owolabi as the new Commissioner of Police (CP) of Anambra State as the first step in re-ordering, overhauling and strengthening the security and policing architecture in the South-East and South-South.
The United Kingdom says it is also concerned by the situation in Nigeria with its Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, stressing that the stability of Nigeria matters a lot to his country.
National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, in a statement at the end of yesterday’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the Buhari administration was prepared to do whatever is required to free the country from the current debilitating security crisis.
Monguno said yesterday’s meeting came about because of the President’s concern about “the persisting security challenges in parts of the country” and his determination to “frontally confront the situation.”
He said: “At today’s (yesterday’s) meeting, the President made it abundantly clear that while the insurgents, bandits and criminals are still at it, he has no doubt that the Nigerian security agencies and all of us as a nation will certainly overcome all the current security problems and defeat the forces of evil marauding about in different parts of the country.
“While the criminals continue to test the will of the Nigerian government, the President and the Council, which adjourned today’s critical meeting until Tuesday morning to receive further briefings from the Security Chiefs, are set and determined to decisively end the assault on the nation and will do all that it takes.
“Mr. President is very prepared to take profound measures in the wider interest of the people and the Nigerian nation. There shall be no relenting until peace and security is significantly restored in our communities.”
Also at the meeting were Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Ishiaka Amoo;acting Police Inspector-General Usman Alkali Baba; Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Samuel Adebayo.
The President had come under severe pressure from various stakeholders including the National Assembly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other Nigerians to take urgent and drastic action to deal with the security challenges, especially kidnapping, killing, arson and agitations for secession.
4,556 violently killed, 2,860 kidnapped in Nigeria in 2020 – CISLAC
A non-governmental organisation, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), quoting a report, said yesterday that 4,556 persons were violently killed while 2,860 were kidnapped across Nigeria in 2020.
The figures, according to CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Rafsanjani, represent 43 and 100 per cent respectively over those of 2019.
He said: “The Global Rights Nigeria Country office in its Mass Atrocities Casualties Tracking Report revealed that about 4,556 persons died in 2020 from violence related killings, a number which represents a spike of about 43% from 3188 persons in 2019.
“According to the US-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Nigeria witnessed a total of 2,860 kidnappings in 2020, which was up from 1,386 in 2019, an increase of over 100%. Sadly, this year is on track to reach new heights in violent crime.
“The current crime rate in Nigeria is at an extremely high level, including crimes such as kidnappings, banditry and drug abuse and trafficking.”
This trend, he said, “calls to question the effectiveness of the institutions, agencies and their leadership charged with the duty of fighting crime.”
Continuing, he said: “Why have criminal justice officials been largely unable to tackle the issue of high crime rates in the country is the question on the lips of many Nigerians, even with the current unrest in the country.
“It is apparent that the welfare of criminal justice officers plays a strong role in determining their efficiency. Other factors are the corruption in the system, political interference, and others.
“An under resourced security system fueled by corruption and lack of adequate allocation police agency is incapable of effectively policing a country as big and populous as Nigeria, not to talk of carrying out such duties in a civilised fashion.”
Bandits kill 323, kidnap 949 in Kaduna within three months
Also in Kaduna on Friday, the state government reported that bandits operating in the state killed a total of 323 residents and kidnapped 949 others within the last three months across the state.
Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan, while presenting a report of the security situation in the state for the first quarter of 2021, said 64 bandits were neutralised during the same period.
Many others were arrested.
The report covers banditry, kidnapping, cattle-rustling, attacks, and reprisal attacks.
He said: “The report also includes 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. Of this, 20 were women and 11 were minors.
“Out of the 323 citizens killed, 292 were males. All the 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
“And the Northern senatorial zone is the least affected with 19 people killed and Zaria has the highest casualty of six.
“Multiple scores of bandits were neutralised via about 150 targeted aerial missions conducted by the Nigeria Air Force. These missions were initiated based on credible intelligence of bandit activity and locations of camps, which were targeted and destroyed.
“Several gunrunners have been intercepted and arrested with arms and ammunition recovered in the first quarter. 36 AK47 Rifles, 1959 rounds of live ammunition and one rocket propelled grenade were recovered.
“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.”
Government sympathised with individuals and groups who have suffered terrible losses and untold hardship as a result of the violence and insecurity.
He also spoke of government’s determination to intensify efforts towards enduring peace and security across the State.
Shake-up in police over insecurity as IGP redeploys Anambra CP, others
Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba yesterday named Mr. Christopher Owolabi as the new Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of Anambra State as part of the ongoing efforts at re-ordering, overhauling and strengthening the security and policing architecture the South-East and South-South.
A highly-placed police source said the move was in response to the unending security situation in the South-East and South-South which has led to the killing of many people.
The Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, in a statement said the redeployment was ultimately designed to improve the operational efficiency of the commands and enhance public safety and security.
CP Chris Owolabi takes over from CP Monday Bala Kuryas who has been redeployed to the Anti-Fraud Section of the Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos.
Mba said: “In a similar vein, the IGP has ordered the posting of other strategic and tactical commanders within the zones. A total of two (2) Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs), fourteen (14) Assistant Commissioners of Police and other mid-level officers were affected”.
The IGP charged the new Commissioner of Police in Anambra State to take adequate measures in consolidating and improving on the gains of his predecessor.
He advised the new CP to rejig the security apparatus of the state, harness the full potential of the command, its workforce, assets and stakeholders to advance the collective safety of all citizens.
The IGP also enjoined the people of South-East and South-South zones to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies to enable them succeed in the responsibilities of safeguarding them and the commonwealth of the nation.
UK minister: Nigeria’s stability matters to us
The United Kingdom added its voice to the security crisis in Nigeria with its Minister for Africa James Duddridge saying the security and stability of the country matter a lot to the London government.
Speaking after a series of meetings with government officials, agencies, business leaders and civil society groups, Duddridge said: “Nigerian stability and security matter to the UK.”
He said his country wants to “work with Nigeria to improve both, and encourage all in the country to work together to promote peace and unity.”
Boko Haram attacks another Yobe town
Despite government’s moves on the security situation, Boko Haram fighters invaded Kanamma, headquarters of Yunusari Local Government Council of Yobe State Thursday night, a week after attacking Geidam in the same state.
“As a matter of fact, Boko Haram insurgents attacked an outskirt of Kanamma Thursday night, unfortunately, we have lost contact with our people there due to the absence of a mobile network in the area,”spokesman of the State Police command, ASP Dungus Abdulkarim, told Channels Television on the phone.
Thousands of people have been displaced in the latest wave of Boko Haram attacks.
CBN warns staff: ‘Undesirable elements want to kidnap for ransom’
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned its staff to be on the alert as some people it calls undesirable elements are planning to kidnap for ransom.
The apex bank in a circular to its staff across the country said: “We write to inform all staff to take note of the elevated security alert condition around the country and of the need to take special care in their day to day activities.
“Security intelligence reports have informed of plan by undesirable elements to infiltrate various parts of the country particularly, state capitals and the FCT with the intention to perpetrate crimes of abduction and kidnapping for ransom or as recruits for terrorism.
“It is strongly suspected that these activities are likely to be carried out in the evenings and at night.”