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Saturday, 28 November 2020

Over 1,750 People Kidnapped In Nigeria Within 11 Months Of 2020

Over 1,750 People Kidnapped In Nigeria Within 11 Months Of 2020


No fewer than 1,570 Nigerians were kidnapped between January and November 2020 in 366 reported cases,investigation revealed.

The kidnappers raked in over N311 million from payment of ransom by relatives of their victims within this period, though they demanded over N6.9 billion from their victims. The money paid did not include millions of naira paid by some families who chose to keep quiet because of threats or simply to have their peace.

There has been an upsurge in kidnapping in Nigeria with 41 cases reported in November.

The trend has spread to some tertiary institutions in Kaduna State while the Federal Capital Territory was also not spared with 31 reported cases in 11 months.

Major arteries including the Abuja-Kaduna and Abuja-Lokoja roads have turned to kidnappers’ hotspots, raising fears in commuters. The young and old have been victims.

From the seven-year-old boy kidnapped in Katsina for which N3m ransom was demanded, to the 60-year-old Zainab Musa kidnapped in Niger State, many Nigerians are living in fear of the unknown.

Security operatives were also kidnapped within the time under review. Among the victims were 12 Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) seized in November, 10 Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officials and four officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who were also kidnapped in September and February, respectively. An officer of the Department of State Security (DSS) was also kidnapped in September.

It will be recalled that the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), governors of the North East, the Afenifere from the South West, among other groups and individuals have all expressed disgust over the deteriorating security situation in the North and the country at large.

A new trend developing

While the bandits smile to the bank, relatives of the victims that paid ransom had barely recovered while some victims that spoke said the trauma still affects their interaction with people.

Musa Yusuf, whose 12-year-old son was kidnapped around Kaduna International Airport, said he parted with N5 million in total in order to secure the release of his son.

Even though the whole N5 million was not paid to the bandits, he explained that after putting together N2.5m, he was duped by someone who claimed to have skills in delivering ransom to bandits.

1,570 people abducted in 11 months

The man was also given a motorcycle which is the only means of getting to the kidnappers ‘den to deliver the money but he disappeared with the money and the bike, leaving the parents of the child in anguish.

The father said he had no choice than to raise another N2.5m to secure the release of his son.

He said the money would have increased if his wife had not fled from the house while he was struggling with the bandits at the door.

“The bandits stormed my house and demanded that I open the door. We struggled with the door for almost five minutes until I surrendered. When they gained entrance, they ransacked my house looking for my wife who unknown to them had left through the back door while we were struggling with the door. My wife escaped through the fence,” he said.

He said he was forced out of his house and shot on the thigh before the bandits abducted his son, leaving him in a pool of blood from his fractured leg.

“After four minutes, I called my neighbour who went to my house to pick my car and took me to the hospital. Two days later, they called my younger brother and we negotiated from N20m to N2.5m.

“We were able to raise the money through friends and relatives, but unfortunately, my brother’s son said there was someone who delivers ransom to kidnappers, because nobody wanted to take the risk of taking the money to them. We gave him the money and he ran away with it. We had to raise another N2.5m before my son was rescued after 12 days,” he said.

After the incident, he left his four-bedroom flat with his family to squat in a boys’ quarter in another part of Kaduna because of fear.

“Three days after, they killed my neighbour and took away his wife and daughter. That place is dangerous. A week later, they killed a DSS official. That airport road is something else. If you are coming to airport road now, you are on your own,” he said.

“I am trying to settle the last N2.5m I borrowed from people. I am expecting some allowances (from my place of work) so I am looking for about N2m to settle the other debt because I went to our cooperatives where I got N500, 000,” he said.

He added that he wanted to sell his house in order to settle the debt but could not due to the tension in the area.

“I also intend to sell my car to pay my debts because it is when you are alive that you drive a car,” he said.

Another person who was kidnapped in Kuje, Abuja said he got the over N1m he paid as ransom for his freedom as loan from friends.

“We all know how harsh the economy is, now imagine paying back a loan from the money you actually gave to someone else,” he said.

He said though there were no pressures from his friends, knowing that he owes them money drains his energy.

“Because I do not have money, I still live in Kuje. Whenever I pass through that road, there is a kind of trauma I feel. But I don’t have money to leave the area and get accommodation somewhere,” he said.

Also, a source close to someone that was kidnapped in Kuje, who pleaded anonymity for security reasons, said the man, a retiree and over 60 years old, could not raise the over N1m demanded by the kidnappers.

“He is a retired civil servant and his wife only sells egg, so it was the community and the church that raised the money I took to the kidnappers,” he said.

Terrorists fund activities with ransom – Experts

An international terrorism and development consultant, Dr. Amaechi Nwokolo, said most terrorism activities are being funded with ransom collected from people.

He also said that security agencies were yet to get it right in tracking and arresting kidnappers and what they do with the money they collect from unsuspecting people.

“Are you aware that terrorist gangs are the people that are using all these names to camouflage, making money to fund their activities?” he asked.

“That is the colour and nature of terrorist groups, but because security agencies have not gotten it right, they keep saying banditry. They are the same terrorist gangs that are using different modus operandi to fund their activities,” he said.

He said the modus operandi of the terrorist gang is more than mere kidnapping, banditry or robbery.

Also, in a telephone interview,  a former Director-General of the Department of Security Service (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, described the present development as ‘disturbing’, advising the government to change strategy in tackling the menace.

He said, “It is quite disturbing because kidnapping is on the rise. Nobody is safe anymore. The government needs to change its strategy in the fight against kidnapping and other crimes. Look at how a traditional ruler was killed in the South West.

“We have seen a lot of cases of such kidnapping and killings. We need to change our strategy. We can’t continue to do the same thing, the same way and expect different results. A lot of us have been clamouring that the Service Chiefs be changed. They have overstayed. And they seem to be undermining the authority out of loyalty.”

Police speak

Speaking on rampant kidnapping and other crimes, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the security challenges were particularly compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence that resulted from the #EndSARS protest.

He was, however, silent on payment of ransom by relatives of the kidnapped ABU students and the police’s statement that they wished them luck while going to pay.

The IGP while speaking to commissioners of police from across the country added that, “As the frontline internal security agency, the Nigeria Police has through the years been grappling with major and complex internal security situations, particularly, the activities of terror elements, bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, cybercriminals and other highly organized national and transnational criminals protest.”

On what the police officers are doing to curb incessant kidnappings in the country, the IGP said he summoned a physical meeting of all commands to review the general security situation as the year gradually comes to an end.

According to him, “This meeting is being convened to review the general security situation in the country as the year winds down; evaluate the progress we have made and the challenges we experienced in relation to our policing mandate; as well project into the future as we advance our internal security management responsibilities.”

Source :Daily Trust

 #EndSARS: FG Insists On Imposing Sanctions On CNN

#EndSARS: FG Insists On Imposing Sanctions On CNN

The Federal government on Friday reiterated its earlier position to sanction United States based Cable Network News (CNN), for carrying out unverified information from the controversial Lekki Toll Gate protest, which was alleged to have led to some deaths.

Alh. Lai Mohammed, Minis­ter of Information and Culture, who made the position known at a stakeholder’ meeting with the Broadcasting Organisa­tions of Nigeria (BON) in Abu­ja on Friday, also vowed to deal with any media organisation both local and international attempting to set Nigeria on fire through unverifiable reportage.

The Minister accused CNN of spreading fake news by switching casualty figures at Lekki Toll Gate so casual­ly without a credible source, hence, its decision to write a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation.

While noting that CNN had acknowledged the letter of complaint and promised to probe same on its merit, he in­sisted that the use of unverified videos and non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism have combined to land the in­ ternational broadcaster, CNN, in trouble.

He said the station had been caught in the web of fake news and disinformation, after it re­lied heavily on videos it took from social media for a sup­posed exclusive investigation on the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th.

He also insisted that the station was found to be incon­sistent saying, “after tweeting, without a shred of evidence, from its verified handle on Oct. 23rd that soldier killed 38 peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th, the same station now said only one per­son was killed – after a month of its investigation.

“It is baffling that an organi­sation like CNN will rely on un­authenticated videos to carry out an investigation.

“More worrisome is that an international broadcaster like CNN will switch casualty fig­ures so casually without a cred­ible source. This is why we have written a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mecha­nism to probe its investigation.

“We have received an ac­knowledgement of our letter, saying the letter has been re­ferred to CNN’s Editorial Team. We await the outcome of their probe, but that’s without preju­dice to whatever we may decide to do as a government.

“We will not sit by and allow any news organization, local or foreign, to set Nigeria on fire with irresponsible and unpro­fessional reporting.

“CNN did not have a report­er or cameraman at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in ques­tion, yet it emphatically report­ed a hoax story.

Conversely, the BBC that had a reporter and an editor on ground reported that soldiers shot into the air, not at protesters. I will rather believe the person on the ground than the one who is thousands of kilometres away.

“Since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to jus­tify its inaccurate and unbal­anced investigation. But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy.

Yesterday, Nov. 26th that is, in the clearest indication yet of its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify its tweet of Oct. 23rd by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty In­ternational and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.

“Commentators on the tweet tried to redirect CNN to the issue: which is its tweet of Oct. 23rd in which it said at least 38 people were killed in Nigeria on Tuesday (Oct. 20th) when the military opened fire on peaceful protesters.

“This is very unambiguous and CNN is exhibiting panic by seeking to clarify its tweet some 35 days later! Instead of engag­ing in such panic, CNN should come clean by admitting that it goofed badly on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

“But the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnifies the failure or inad­equacy of our own broadcast organisations.

“In the wake of our spat with CNN, people are asking: Why didn’t our own broadcast stations take the lead in report­ing the incident at Lekki? Why didn’t they take the lead in pre­senting an authentic narrative? Why must we allow the foreign broadcast stations, some of which didn’t even have corre­spondents on ground, to dictate the pace, thus misleading the world? These are questions begging for answers and I think for BON, this must form part of their review of the coverage of the incident.”

The minister commended security agencies for their pro­fessional role noting that by restraining themselves, they helped to save many lives even in the face of attacks and prov­ocation during and after the EndSARS protest.

“The security agencies, in particular the police and sol­diers, acted within their rules of engagement. The report­ing of the EndSARS protest has been skewed against the security agencies. While most reports have become fixated on the so-called massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, only a few have highlighted the attacks and kill­ings of security agents, as well as the destruction of public and private property. This is selective perception and it is condemnable.”

Reiterating government’s plan to regulate the social media, Mohammed assured that the administration has no plan to stifle free speech, neither does it have any in­tention of shutting down the internet but has decided to act to ensure a responsible use of social media.

“Social media has come to stay, and those who use it re­sponsibly have nothing to fear. But we cannot give the same assurance for those who wea­ponise social media.

“By the way, the issue of reg­ulating social media content is generating debate around the world, so Nigeria is not an ex­ception.

Mohammed further dis­closed that two out of the three stations imposed a fine of N3 million by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for using unverified and dangerous information from social media, have so far paid in full, while one has paid in part.

He however, appealed to broadcast stations to avoid using unverified information from social media, as this was fraught with danger, even as he insisted that despite the tempta­tion, the stations must adhere strictly to the gate-keeping tradition instead of rushing to use materials that are not au­thenticated.


Leadership Tussle: Nnamdi Kanu , Deputy Fight Dirty

Leadership Tussle: Nnamdi Kanu , Deputy Fight Dirty

There appears to be cracks in the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) as the separatist group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu has announced the sack of his deputy, Uche Mefor and abolished the position.

In a memo by the Head of Directorate of IPOB, Chika Edoziem, the group accused Kanu’s deputy of insubordination, gross misconduct and indiscipline. According to the memo, Mefor was instructed by Kanu to be attending unit meetings of the group in United Kingdom as well as paying monthly dues like every other member. He was accused of disobeying the instruction and instead gave the excuse that as the deputy, he is equally entitled to some privileges as Kanu.

The memo further accused Mefor of unilaterally sacking the National Coordinator of IPOB in UK, which the group said he has no right to do without informing Kanu.

Edoziem added that Mefor later sacked the UK Coordinator but Kanu rejected the sack and converted the disciplinary measure to suspension.

This was said to have triggered the present rivalry between Mefor and his boss, Kanu. “He transferred the aggression on Kanu and other members of the group by writing to the British Home Office with the objective to ruin and nullify every asylum chances of IPOB asylum seekers in UK”, the IPOB memo alleged.

The said letter written by Mefor according to Edoziem has made it impossible for IPOB members in UK to receive favourable hearing at the tribunals. Edoziem said that Mefor on several occasions had confronted Kanu, thereby exhibiting gross misconduct and indiscipline.

“Following these sins committed by Mefor, he has now been expelled as an IPOB member while his position according to Edoziem has been abolished by the leader of the group, Kanu”, the group declared.

Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations and claims by Kanu on his sack from IPOB, Mefor  insisted that he remains a member of the group and urged members  to shun such propaganda.

“Did anybody tell you that I have resigned from IPOB, of course I’m still a member and you should not listen to propaganda”, Mefor said

I Deserve Death For Abduction And Killing..22 Year Old Pleads

I Deserve Death For Abduction And Killing..22 Year Old Pleads


A kidnap suspect, Anas Sa’idu, has pleaded to be sentenced to death by hanging for abducting, killing and burying in shallow grave one Tijjani Kabiru.

Anas, 22, had kidnapped 16-year-old Kabiru on January 9 in Kwanar Gwarmai, Kangora town of Bebeji Local Government Area of Kano, police said.
It was gathered he demanded a ransom of N1.3 million and N20,000 airtime from the victim’s father, Alh Kabiru.

However, he killed his victim before getting the ransom cash, The Nation learnt.
Fielding questions from newsmen, the suspect disclosed he killed the victim because he was constrained over where to keep the victim.

The suspect on Friday led police detectives and a medical team to a farm in the bush where he strangulated and buried him.
The decayed body of the victim was exhumed for examination and burial.

Speaking where the deceased body was exhumed, the suspect said he carried out the heinous act under the influence of drugs and Indian hemp.

Apparently feeling remorseful about his evil deed, he pleaded to be hanged to death in the market square to serve as deterrent to other kidnap elements.

“I have never carried out this kind of heinous act; it’s not my work. My appeal to the state government and everyone is that the court should sentence me to death by hanging in a public square.

“To the father of the deceased, my appeal is for him to forgive me. I live in the same area with the deceased’s family.
“I demanded for the sum of N1.3 million ransom but was not paid,” he said.

Police spokesman, Abdullahi Haruna, said, upon receiving report of the kidnaping of Tijjani, the Commissioner of Police Habu Sani deployed Operation Puff Adder who arrested the culprit after two weeks of investigation.
Haruna said the suspect dramatically asked the police to pay him the ransom or and free him to provide his abductee.

“It turned out that he had killed the victim within one hour that he abducted the victim.

“He (suspect) however, later confessed and led us and a medical team to exhume the decayed body which will be examined before burial,” Haruna said.

Haruna, a DSP, said the suspect will be charged to court upon completion of investigation.

LASTMA Officials Directed Us On The Route To Take And Ended Confiscating And Auctioned My Car..Motorist

LASTMA Officials Directed Us On The Route To Take And Ended Confiscating And Auctioned My Car..Motorist

“My heart bled seeing my car auctioned in my presence. I tried bidding, but each time I bid, there was always someone adding N100, 000 to my offer. That was how I lost my car, which was auctioned for N1.2 million.” These were the words of a former owner of Toyota Corolla 2003 model whose car was auctioned yesterday.

It was mixed feelings for car owners and bidders as the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences auctioned 44 vehicles forfeited to the Lagos State Government for traffic offences.

Offenders had arrived with the expectations to bid for their vehicles and get their cars back at an affordable price but they were shocked to meet crowd of businessmen, ready with cash to also bid for the seized vehicles.

While some wore long faces as the auction continued, others openly wailed persuading bidders to let go of the auctioning. A woman in tears appealed to some police officers present to stop the auction at her bidding price, as it was the only source of income for herself and children.

The process usually starts with the car owner appealing to the crowd of potential buyers to allow them bid for their cars alone, starting with N100, 000 but some young men carrying nylon bags loaded with cash would scream N500, 000, N1 million and jerk up the price.

One of the owners of a Toyota Camry car collapsed when her bid of N100, 000 was raised to N1 million by another bidder. All entreaties and acts to curry public sympathy for moderate bidding fell on deaf ears as ready buyers raised the bid beyond the reach of the owners.

Some of the cars auctioned were Murano Nissan for N450, 000; Toyota Sienna for N850, 000; Honda CRV for N1.550 million; Toyota Corolla 2003 for N1.2 million; Toyota Camry 2008 model for N1.9 million; Hyundai car for N300, 000; mini bus for N505, 000; a 14-seater bus for N4 million, and a Mercedes Benz SUV for N9 million.

The owner of Hyundai Elantra 2008 model said he was arrested on November 10 for driving ‘one-way’ at Constain/Iponri Bridge, Surulere. He claimed that officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) directed cars to ply ‘One-Way’ to ease traffic but was surprised he was arrested and arraigned before the mobile court while others were let go.

Spokesman for the task force, Taofeek Adebayo, said the exercise became necessary to punish offenders, with the aim of easing traffic on Lagos roads, adding that the action was not punitive but corrective in nature.

“This is purely to serve as a deterrent to law breakers because since the #EndSARS protest ended, motorists have been driving recklessly against traffic, driving on BRT corridors and causing obstruction on highways, not minding security personnel on the road, which contravenes the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018.”

He noted that the exercise would continue, as more forfeited vehicles by the court would be auctioned to the highest bidder.

Oil Spillage:Supreme Court Again Orders Shell To Pay Ogonis N17bn

Oil Spillage:Supreme Court Again Orders Shell To Pay Ogonis N17bn

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filed by Shell Petroleum Development Company, asking the court to review its judgment of Jan. 11, 2019, which ordered Shell to pay N17 billion to Ogoni communities in Rivers.

The communities were affected by an oil spill caused by the oil company in 1970.

A five-member panel of justices dismissed the application on the grounds that it had no merit since the court had taken a decision on the appeal and the court could not reverse itself.

According to the judgment prepared by Justice  Centus Nweze and  read by Justice Chukwudumebi Oseji on Friday in Abuja, the application had no merit.

The Supreme Court had issued the N17 billion order in favour of Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers.

Counsel to the communities, Mr Lucius Nwosu told newsmen that the judgment sum, with interest accrued over the past 31 years was about N182 billion.

Nwosu had in September, at the hearing of the application, prayed  the apex court to not only dismiss the application, but to also punish  all the senior lawyers in Shell’s legal team for the filing the judgment review application.

Nwosu said that the application was an attempt to ridicule the integrity and finality of the decisions of the apex court.

Donor To Pro-Trump Group Sues To Get His $2.5m Back After Dropped Election Lawsuits

Donor To Pro-Trump Group Sues To Get His $2.5m Back After Dropped Election Lawsuits

A North Carolina donor who gave $2.5 million to a group promising to help President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the results of the general election is now suing to get his money back.

Fred Eshelman, who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans in 2020, according to Federal Election Commission data, says in his lawsuit that the organization True the Vote had not fulfilled the conditions of his monetary gift.

The organization disputes the lawsuit's claims as "not accurate."

According to the suit filed Wednesday, Eshelman allegedly wired $2 million on Nov. 5 and an additional $500,000 on Nov. 13 that was intended to be put toward True the Vote's "Validate the Vote" strategy.

The initiative was designed to investigate and litigate claims of voter fraud and "solicit whistleblower testimonies," "build public momentum," "galvanize Republican legislative support in key states," "analyze data to identify patterns of election subversion" and "file lawsuits ... with the capacity to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States."

True the Vote dropped lawsuits in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Nov. 16.

Trump has pushed baseless claims that there was widespread voter fraud and has called for President-elect Joe Biden's victory is several states to be overturned. But experts have said the 2020 general election was one of the most secure in the nation's history.

'Calling an election unfair does not make it so':

The Trump campaign and its allies have faced repeated court defeats in election cases. They have filed lawsuits, demanded recounts and protested procedures in several states to try and throw out ballots and block certification of results in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, key battlegrounds that went to Biden.

However, the Trump campaign's lawsuits did not allege widespread fraud, despite public claims to the contrary. The failed court efforts have undermined the president's continued, baseless claims of fraud, and some top Republican donors have shifted focus to Republican efforts to win the Georgia Senate runoffs.

Eshelman said in his lawsuit that True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht told him she believed Validate the Vote was necessary because of "significant evidence that there were numerous instances of illegal ballots being cast and counted in the 2020 general election."

What Eshelman's lawsuit says

Eshelman's lawsuit alleges that True the Vote's "consistent delay and inability to make progress on the goals ... suggested that many of those goals might not be met since many important deadlines relating to state election results were rapidly approaching."

Engelbrecht and the organization were "vague" and unresponsive to requests by Eshelman for updates on their progress in the days after Election Day, he claimed.

True the Vote says on its website that it aims to "empower and equip citizens to ensure that our election process is protected from fraud and exploitation."

"While we stand by the voters’ testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path," Engelbrecht wrote in a statement on Nov. 17.

The lawsuit also states that an attorney for the group, Jim Bopp, said $1 million would be returned if Eshelman agreed not to sue.

Engelbrecht said in a statement to USA TODAY that the funds were used for the goals of the Validate the Vote initiative, and that those efforts are ongoing despite the lawsuits being dropped

Source : USA TODAY