Kidnappers on Thursday struck in Ogun, Rivers, Imo and Katsina states, abducting 12 people barely 24 hours after the new acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, vowed to battle banditry and other crimes.
Reports by our correspondents showed that between Wednesday night and Thursday, two persons were abducted in Ogun State, eight in Imo State, Rivers State, one; and one in Katsina State.
In Oyo State on Thursday, hunters and vigilantes told our correspondents that they had started combing forests for six people kidnapped in different parts of the state on Tuesday night.
The IGP, shortly after assuming office at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday, promised to confront terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and secessionist agitations.
On Wednesday night in Ogun State, which has witnessed increased spate of kidnappings, a medical doctor and a nurse were kidnapped on the Abeokuta-Imeko road, where two fufu sellers were abducted two months ago.
The doctor, Oladunni Odetola, who is the head of state General Hospital, Imeko in the Imeko-Afon Local Government Area and the nurse, identified as Mrs Bamgbose, were kidnapped barely 23 hours after two Chinese nationals, who were abducted a week ago at Oba, were freed.
One of our correspondents gathered that the medical personnel were abducted by gunmen while driving in a Toyota Camry (Muscle) marked KTU 584 FR, along Abeokuta-Imeko road.
It was learnt that the gunmen emerged from a bush at Olubo village and attacked the health workers.
Sources told The PUNCH correspondent that the doctor’s car was left at the middle of the road, where it was discovered by the police.
It was further gathered that the police recovered from the car, the doctor’s Nigerian Medical Association’s identity card and a minute of the association’s meeting.
When contacted, the state Chairman of the NMA, Ogunlaja Oladayo, confirmed the kidnap. Oladayo said, “Yes, it is true. But we have allowed the security operatives to do their job. We don’t want anything to jeopardise the process.”
Also confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said, “Police detectives are on the trail of the kidnappers.”
The NMA Chairman, Oladayo, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday evening, expressed concern about increase in cases of abduction in the state.
Oladayo, who described the abduction of the doctor and the nurse as condemnable, urged all the stakeholders to join hands in the fight against insecurity.
The NMA chairman said, “It is condemnable. It is not something we should support. It is something all of us should rise up against including the media and the community because doctors are doing the humanitarian job for the community.”
When asked to assess the level of insecurity in the state, Oladayo said, “We are not satisfied. There are a lot of security breaches everywhere not just in Ogun State. It is all over our country.”
Also on Wednesday night, gunmen abducted the Chairman of the Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, Philemon Kingoli, along the Peter Odili Road in Port Harcourt.
Kingoli was kidnapped at gunpoint while returning from a Peoples Democratic Party event in Okrika.
It was learnt that the gunmen intercepted him near the Woji bridge axis of Odili Road in Port Harcourt, fired some shots into the air to scare people and whisked him to an unknown destination
Confirming the incident, the spokesman for the state Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the state Police Commissioner, Eboka Friday, had ordered a manhunt for the kidnappers to rescue the local government chairman.
“So all hands are on deck to ensure his early release. All the tactical units have been mobilised and we are hopeful that he would be rescued soon,” he stated.
Omoni said this as a clash between rival cult groups left two persons dead in the old Port Harcourt Township on Wednesday night.
Residents of Bende and Victoria streets, as well as Aggrey Road in Port Harcourt, are now living in fear after the cult killings which occurred about 9pm near a popular pub on Bende Street.
Some residents, who gave the names of the groups as Icelandos and Greenish, said they were outside when suddenly the sound of gunshots forced residents running in different directions.
According to them, those whose houses were nearby ran indoors to avoid being caught in the crossfire. They identified the dead victims as Dike and Biggy.
“We were outside at a pub in Bende Street with friends when we heard gunshots from afar. We all ran into a room. Thereafter, we heard that they shot somebody and we saw the lifeless body on the ground,” a resident explained.
Similarly, a lady said, “As I was coming back from work. I heard gunshots from two different directions and then we ran for cover. After about five minutes, we came out, everywhere was quiet and some persons were still running. We were walking in groups.
“We heard that they shot somebody close to Baham Church on Aggrey Road. Then we heard another body was lying somewhere. But we didn’t bother to go close.”
When contacted, Omoni confirmed the cult clash, saying it was a battle of supremacy between two rival gangs, noting that a pistol was recovered when operatives went after the miscreants.
“I can confirm it. I think it has to do with this battle for supremacy between two notorious cult groups in the state. The other group came for an identified target and then shot sporadically.”
Imo monarch, five cabinet chiefs, two palace guards abducted after attending traditional wedding
In Imo State, there was fear on Wednesday night after gunmen kidnapped the traditional ruler of Umueze Nguru in the Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, Eze Charles Iroegbu.
It was gathered that the gunmen also kidnapped seven other people in his convoy, including five traditional chiefs and two palace guards.
It was learnt that the monarch, who is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of All States Mass Transit and his cabinet chiefs, were kidnapped after attending a traditional wedding in Mbano.
Sources said they were heading back to their community when the gunmen stopped them and diverted their vehicles to another place.
One of the sources said “ His Highness and his cabinet chiefs were coming back from a traditional wedding in Mbano when they were kidnapped. This is unbelievable and there is fear and panic everywhere.”
The police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said that he could not confirm the abduction when he was contacted by one of our correspondents.
In Katsina State, a 55-year-old man, Aminu Abdulwahab, who was kidnapped a few days ago in the Danmusa Local Government Area, was killed after his abductors collected a ransom from his family.
Abdulwahab was said to be a younger brother of a top official of the Katsina Local Government Service Commission, Abdu Danmusa.
It was learnt that the kidnappers picked up Abdulwahab earlier in the week and demanded ransom to ensure his release.
Sources said the family paid the ransom, but the kidnappers felt it was less than what they negotiated.
Although the sources did not disclose the amount, it was learnt that the kidnappers still collected the money from the family.
The kidnappers directed the family members to go to a location in the council to pick up the victim.
One of the sources said, “We got to the location on Wednesday only to find his corpse there. We are just making preparations for his burial.”
When contacted on Thursday, the spokesman for the state police command, Gambo Isah, said he should be given time to clarify the incident from the Divisional Police Officer of Danmusa.
“Give me time to clarify from the Danmusa DPO,” he simply said.
Gunmen abduct three Oyo casual workers, demand N1m ransom, kidnap student, two others
In Oyo State, policemen, hunters and vigilantes have started combing forests for the three casual workers abducted by gunmen close to a quarry at Idi Ayunre area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The victims and their other colleagues were said to have closed from the site on Tuesday evening and were going back home when the armed hoodlums waylaid them and took the three unlucky ones among them away.
The PUNCH gathered that one of the labourers identified as Tope Solomon, who escaped, reported the incident to the police in the area.
Solomon reportedly identified the abducted workers as Jacob Ubong, Isaac Amisu and the third one simply as Wasiu.
It was learnt that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area where the incident occurred, had mobilised his men and men from the anti-kidnapping squad, counter- terrorism unit and other tactical teams as well as hunters and vigilante members to rescue the victims.
It was gathered that the kidnappers had contacted the victims’ employers and demanded millions of naira.
The ransom was said to have been reduced to N1m.
After negotiations, the victims’ employers were said to have offered N250,000. They were said to have told the abductors that their victims were casual workers struggling to feed themselves.
The hoodlums, it was gathered, had not released the workers as of the time of filing this report.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi confirmed the incident.
Also, a student of Royal Institute of Health, Igboora, Miss Sodirat Salami, and two others whose identities could not be ascertained were kidnapped by gunmen in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State on Tuesday night.
It was gathered that Salami also works at a hospital in the area and was going from Igboora to Eruwa when the hoodlums stopped their vehicle and whisked away the three of them.
The Secretary Ibarapa Farmers’ Union, Mr Taiwo Adeagbo who is popularly known as Akowe Agbe however told our correspondent that the victims were released on Thursday morning after a ransom was paid.
He said, “They were said to have been released after they paid N1m ransom. The victims, I learnt, said they heard their abductors speak Yoruba. This suggests that they are Yoruba and I believe they are part of those working for criminal Fulani leaders.”
The PPRO had yet to respond to our correspondent’s inquiry on the incident as of the time of filing this report.
Suspected killer herders cut farmer’s neck in Oyo
Meanwhile, residents of Ayete and Igangan communities in the lbarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State are currently in grieve as some hoodlums suspected to be killer herders attacked and inflicted machete cuts on a farmer.
The attack allegedly happened around 9pm on Wednesday after a stakeholders’ peace meeting held at the Igangan Police Station.
The meeting, involving law enforcement agents, traditional rulers, land owners, hunters, herdsmen, farmers and agricultural investors in lbarapa North Local Government, was said to have been called at the instance of the DPO, Mr Emanuel Ojo.
It was learnt that the 45-year-old farmer was attacked at Oyankalu area of Lukosi in Ayete by herdsmen.
The victim, who was said to have sustained a deep cut on the back of his neck, was rushed to Faith Maternity and Child Welfare Clinic, Ojumu area of Igangan.
One of the villagers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The attack happened despite the peace meeting which was initiated by the DPO at Igangan Police Station.
“A farmer, Kereku Yanmii, was attacked on 7th April at 9pm by suspected killer herdsmen.”
However, when contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, said, “It was a case of robbery where two Togolese in Oyankanlu farm were attacked and dispossessed of their belongings.”