Niger bandit commander loses sons, surrenders 3 AK-47




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 Commander of a notorious group of bandits terrorising communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger state popularly called  Alhaji Na Mata, has reportedly surrendered and handed over three AK47 rifles to the Joint Security Taskforce in Iburo general area of operation. 

Blueprint learnt that the commander voluntarily handed over himself and turned in the weapons after suffering devastating defeat in a recent encounter with the security taskforce.

A source from the Iburo community said the commander carried out series of banditry-related attacks in the area before the security taskforce began operation some days ago to clear the bandits.

The source said: “The Joint Security Task Force recorded this breakthrough at Iburo community during their operation in the area when the commander voluntarily surrendered himself and his weapons to the Joint Security Task Force. He decided to  drop his weapons after two of his sons who were also members of his gang were killed during an encounter with the Joint Security Task Force.”

It was learnt that his group is the third most notorious groups in the area and was responsible for a number of bloody attacks on communities around Shiroro and Munya local government areas.

“After the killing of his two children during an operation by the Joint Security Task Force, he decided to repent and surrender his weapons (about three AK 47 riffles) to the security agents,” Blueprint further gathered.  

Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO)  in the state,  DSP Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.  

It was however gathered that the ongoing operation by the Joint Security Task Force, comprising local hunters and vigilantes, as well as the conventional security agencies has continued to yield positive results with the killing of scores of bandits in the last one month.

Iburo community has remained the epicentre of banditry before the taskforce began operation in the area.

Ebonyi

In a related development, some gunmen in the early hours of Sunday allegedly attacked Nigerian Police Division at Unwana, Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi state and killed three policemen on duty. 

The gunmen reportedly attacked the division at about 2am, killing one constable and two inspectors in the process.

A source from the area who spoke to Blueprint said the gunmen masked their faces and one of them was killed by the policeman who repelled the attack.

 “They killed 3 policemen, one constable and two inspectors and the police killed one of the gunmen. Nobody knows the identity of the gunmen and Police have taken  away their remains.

“The incident happened around 2 am, nobody knows the route they came from, all we heard was gunshots for about 10 minutes.

“At the moment, there is no information to know if they destroyed or stole anything from the police station. The men were masked but the one killed had his face unveiled by the police to ascertain his identity. He also had red clothe tied around his waist believing it was a charm,” our source revealed. Spokesperson of the state Police commend, DSP Loveth Odah could not answer call put across to her by one of our reporters as at the time of this report.

Editors want collaboration 

 Meanwhile, the 17the All Nigerian Editors Conference has called for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and security agencies in the fight against insecurity across the country.

The conference also admitted insecurity was taking a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas.

“The peace and development, which are germane to further advancement of Nigeria, cannot thrive in times of crises,” the editors said , adding governments at all levels have a huge responsibility to defend, protect and provide for its citizens.

The positions were contained in a communiqué signed by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) President Mustapha Isah and  General Secretary Iyobosa Uwugiaren at the end of the conference held recently in Abuja, with theme “Media In Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus.”

“The problem of insecurity confronting the country is taking a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas. That the insecurity crises stem from leadership failure that has bedevilled the country for many years’’, the communique stated.

The conference attended by 350 editors, security chiefs, and other stakeholders, noted: “There are fears in some quarters that editors and media professionals seem to have taken sides in the raging crises. That journalists and security agents who are first line responders to every flash points appear locked in mutual suspicion.”

The conference resolved: “Governments at all levels have a responsibility to defend, protect and provide for its citizens. That agitations for self-determination, which are raging in the South-east, South-west and the South-south regions do not augur well for the unity of the country.

“The conference called for an end to raging insecurity so that citizens can conduct their normal lives in an atmosphere of peace and concord. That  there’s need for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and the security agencies in the fight against insecurity.

“There is a need for security agents to appreciate the role of journalists and media professionals and refrain from anything that will abridge it.”

“The conference also advised editors and other media professionals to ensure that they are conflict-sensitive and ensure they do not publish stories that are capable of inflaming ethnic, regional and religious passion, while calling for urgent need to tackle the monster of misinformation and sanitise the media against unprofessional and unethical behaviour.

“The conference also called on government to support the survival of the media as part of the task of building the nation’s democracy and avoid any acts that will put the media in chains.

“While calling on to confront issues that have given rise to the demands of the different self-determination groups, the conference advised it to endeavour to deal with the different sections of the country on the basis of fairness, equity and justice.

“There is need for government to ensure that its policies and actions are sensitive to the multi ethnic and religious makeup of the country.

“Government needs to commit more resources to education, healthcare and tackle the rising costs of food and other social services,” the communiqué further stated.

The two-day conference was chaired by a veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu, with Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, as special guest of honour, and President, Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria (NPAN), Malam Kabiru Yusuf, represented by NPAN Secretary Mohammed Idris Malagi who is also Publisher Blueprint newspapers as guest of honour.

Also in attendance were Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello, representatives of Kaduna state Governor Nasir El Rufai (represented by the Special Adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs, Hajia Hannatu Dalhat) and Osun state Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola(also represented by  Deputy Chief of Staff Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo).

 Others were  Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba (represented by Commissioner of Police Frank Mba, Force  Public Relations Officer); Director General Department of Security Service (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi (represented by its spokesperson, Dr Peter Afunanya), and Director General Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ahmed Rufai Abubakar (represented by Mr Emma Engon Anzaku, Director, NIA) and  Managing Director/CEO Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System For Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Aliyu A. Abdulhameed among others.

Ansar-ud-Deen tasks FG

Similarly, the Northern States Council Secretary of Ansar-ud-Deen Society Alhaji Isiaq Sanni has urged the federal government to expose the sponsors and people supporting banditry in Nigeria. 

 Sanni made the call at the 8th-day Fidau (prayer for a deceased person) of late chairman of  Kaduna branch of ADS, Alhaji Liadi Adeyinka Olapade, who died penultimate Friday.

He said  Olapade, who until his death was President Yoruba Community in Kaduna state and Muslim Council of Nigeria (MCON), lived, worked and died in advocacy for a united and secured Nigeria through promotion of citizen education. 

“Alhaji Liadi Olapade was a philanthropist. The little things we have seen have shown that he is well loved. He did very well for Ansar-ud-Deen Society and humanity at large. Due to his passion for religion and education, which he said is the best way to fight insecurity, he accepted the nomination and represented Northern States Council of Ansar-ud-Deen as board of trustees member of Summit University, Offa. 

“It is unfortunate that today, the insecurity that Olapade fought for still persists. Thus, we are calling on government to put in more effort to the fight against banditry and other security challenges, because their current effort is not enough to address the challenges. Government should expose those behind banditry, those sponsoring the insecurity, to let us know those who don’t want Nigeria to progress,” Sanni said

Also in his lecture, Missioner ADS Northern states Council, Alhaji Muyideen Ajani Bello, who was represented by Chief Imam of Ansar-ud-Deen Society, Zaria, Alhaji Tajudeen Akewusekisa, urged Muslims to prepare their exit from life.  

He said: “We should all prepare for our exit because many good people have gone. Alhaji Olapade was one of the major donors and supporters of Summit University. 

“He was very diligent in supporting da’awah. He did everything in religion, he believed in God as one. He was a devoted Muslim, a great philanthropist and a cheerful giver always putting smiles on the face of others. He donated generously towards Summit University. Two years ago, he came to Zaria with some of his friends on the occasion of our anniversary and donated generously.

“There are three types of grave, you are left to chose which one you want. Some peoples’ grave after death will be illuminated till the day of judgement. Some will remain in darkness in their graves; the unbelievers, those who are not true Muslims. Some will remain as if they are asleep till the day of judgment such as righteous humans devoted to their religions, who take their religion with seriousness. We should all look at where we are going, what is next for us.”

President State of Osun Indigenes Association and Public Relations Officer (PRO) Yoruba Community in Kaduna state, Alhaji Yunus Ajao Muibi urged Nigerian youth to emulate Alhaji Olapade. “If Alhaji Olapade could hold six leadership positions successfully, then the youth of today need to emulate him. He was an icon, a bridge builder. He was one of those who fought for the creation of Osun state. He was actively involved in Yoruba community for 25 years serving in various positions.”