A top civil servant in the State House Abuja has been reportedly murdered Monday night.
The development came as police in Niger state engaged bandits in a gun duel, killing six of the hoodlums in the process.
Similarly, some gunmen also killed two soldiers attached to Operation Safe Haven in Jos, Plateau state Tuesday, even as three persons were killed in Lokoja, Kogi state during a cult clash Monday.
Announcing the murder of Ms Laetitia Daga, an assistant director of administration in the Aso Rock Villa Tuesday, Mr. Attah Esa, the deputy director in charge of information at the State House, said 47-year-old Dagan was murdered in her house Monday night.
He said the deceased who hailed from Plateau state, worked in her office Monday till 8 p.m.
“But by 11 p.m., she was gruesomely murdered in her apartment by unknown persons,” Esa said in a terse statement.
In his reaction, Permanent Secretary State House Jalal Arabi described Dagan’s killing as “a painful loss, not only to her immediate family, but also the entire State House.”
“She was a dedicated, hard-working officer, and we all feel pained by her dastardly and untimely death,” the permanent secretary said this during a condolence visit to the deceased’s family members.
“We all share in your grief and pains, but be consoled by the fact that she lived a good life and contributed her best to the services of her nation,” he said.
Mr. Arabi assured that “the police will fish out the killers of Laetitia and the law will take its course.”
He prayed God to comfort the bereaved family, the entire staff of State House and grant the soul of the departed officer eternal rest.
Meanwhile, the Niger state Police Command has said its officers and men engaged some bandits in a duel during which six of the hoodlums were killed and one officer lost.
The encounter was said to have occurred about 14: 45 hours Sunday in Muchiya Kaji village in Bangi area of Mariga local government of the state when the bandits attempted to rustle some cows.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) DSP Mohammed Abubakar confirmed the incident in a statement in Minna Tuesday.
He identified the dead police officer as Inspector Ibrahim Mitra Chibok.
He stated that while three bandits were killed in the Muchiya Kaji encounter, three other bandits were earlier felled by the superior fire of police in another encounter in Dankolo village in the same Mariga local government within 24 hours interval.
He said: “On 16th February, 2020 at about 1445 hours, a distress call was put across to a Joint Police/Military team in Bangi Area under Mariga LGA of Niger state that some armed bandits suspected to be cattle rustlers stormed Muchiya Kaji village of Mariga LGA and were about to rustle cattle.”
“The team responded quickly and engaged the bandits in a fierce gun battle, fatally wounded three armed bandits forcing other bandits to abandon the cattle and fled to the bush. One AK-47 rifle and one Bajaj motorcycle were recovered as exhibits, but unfortunately, one Police Inspector, Ibrahim Mitra Chibok, attached to Niger state police command, died during the encounter, two officers sustained gun wounds and are receiving treatment. The Police are on the trail of the armed bandits”.
The deceased cop, the PPRO said, was in the same team that engaged armed bandits and cattle rustlers (on 14th February, 2020) who invaded Dankolo village in the same Mariga LGA, recovered 13 cattle and killed three armed bandits.
The statement further said corpses of the bandits had been deposited at General Hospital Bangi.
Gov summons security meeting
Worried by the spate of killings in the state, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello, Monday, held a closed door meeting with traditional rulers, heads of security agencies and religious leaders on way out of the security challenge.
The meeting held few hours after the police/bandits’ duel.
Blueprint learnt that at the meeting, the governor charged security agencies to redouble efforts at flushing out the bandits while pledging to make more logistics available.
He was also said to have directed traditional rulers to assist security agencies with useful information in the battle against the bandits and related criminals.
And in a related development, two soldiers serving with OPHS were Tuesday morning shot dead by some suspected gunmen in Barkin Ladi local government of Plateau state.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Ubah Ogaba, who confirmed the development, said the hoodlums shot at the soldiers while on duty at Gindin Akwati in the local government area.
He said: “Suspected gunmen shot at officers of Operation Safe Haven. In the process, two soldiers were killed, one was injured.”
However, the community leader of Fulani herders in the area, Alhaji Shuaibu Bayero, said some soldiers stormed their community in the early hours of the day.
“Early morning, we saw soldiers in their vehicles and motorcycles, they stormed communities of our people, they burnt our homes.
“From our count 150 homes were burnt down, in four communities that are close by,” he alleged.
When Blueprint called the GSM line of the spokesman of OPHS, Major Ibrahim Shittu, there was no response as all the calls went unanswered.
Meanwhile, three persons were reportedly killed while several others sustained various degrees of injury when rival cultists clashed in Lokoja, Kogi state Monday.
Speaker Kogi state House of Assembly Prince Mathew Kolawole stated this at the House plenary Tuesday.
He expressed worries over the spate of cultism and other criminal activities in the state, saying something urgent needed to be done to address the ugly trend.
Ruling on a motion of urgent public importance, the speaker appealed to the state government to rehabilitate all the street lights in Lokoja to curb the menace of hoodlums.
He also called for a review of the law on kidnapping and cultism in the state, saying the trend was becoming worrisome.
“We are really worried over the spate of cultism in our state. Just yesterday, we learnt that three persons were killed and others injured. The injured victims are currently in one of the hospitals in the state. We can’t fold our arms and allow this to continue in our state,” he said.