FG Procures Six More Attack Helicopters as Terrorists Release Four Kaduna Train Passengers, Keep 39
•Families ground activities at transportation ministry 121 days after
•Military beefs up security around Bwari campus law school, FG closes FGC Kwali
Chuks Okocha, Kingsley Nwezeh, Olawale Ajimotokan, Kasim Sumaina, Kuni Tyessi in Abuja, Francis Sardauna in Katsina and John Shiklam in Kaduna
The federal government, has procured six more attack helicopters to enhance the fight against insecurity, just as four more of the remaining 43 kidnapped Kaduna-bound train passengers abducted in the attack by terrorists on March 28, 2022, have been released, leaving 39 victims still in captivity.
Chief Executive Officer of TUSAS, a Turkish aircraft manufacturer, Mr Temel Kotil, yesterday, announced the sale six of T-129 attack helicopters, to Nigeria.
The announcement followed a deal reached with the company by the federal government.
Kotil, who made the announcement on his Twitter handle, however, hinted at the development on CNN Turk.
President Tayipp Edorgan of Turkey recently visited Nigeria and this development may not be unconnected to the visit.
The federal government had recently procured A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets from the United States, even as it had also made similar procurements from Russia and other European countries as the war against insurgency intensifies.
However, Tukur Mamu, who has been negotiating the release of the victims, confirmed thenew development over telephone, saying they were released yesterday.
Mamu did not give details of how they were released, he however, gave names of the four people released as Gladys Brumen, Oluwatoyin Ojo, Hassan Lawan and Pastor Ayodeji Oyewumi.
On Sunday, a video had trended on the social media, showing the terrorists, in a war crime, flogging their victims and threatening to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, among others.
Some of the victims, who spoke on in the video, accused the federal government for not doing much to secure their release and therefore appealed for the intervention of the international community to meet the demands of the terrorists for their freedom.
The terrorists had on March 28, attacked an Abuja-Kaduna bound passenger train, killing eight people, injuring several others while 62 of the passengers were abducted.
So far 23 of the victims had been freed with some of them paying millions of naira as ransom.
Abdulfatai Jimoh, coordinator of relations of the abducted passengers did not respond to telephone calls when contacted.
However, families of the abducted train passengers, yesterday, laid siege to the federal Ministry of Transportation, and consequently grounded activities.
The families hinted that they were at the ministry to find out what the government had been doing to rescue the remaining passengers abducted over four months ago.
One of the family members, Imran Ahmed, whose brother has been in captivity, said they had lost faith in the government’s commitment to rescuing their loved ones.
“We don’t have confidence in the federal government. This is not the first time the federal government is saying they are on top of the situation. If I remember, I have seen the president’s directives on four occasions, directing the security chiefs that they should do whatever is necessary to rescue our family members.
“But you can imagine, today is 121 days that they have been in captivity. This has been very gruesome for family members. Nigerians should understand that we are not here to see the minister. We are here to get our family members from the ministry that they boarded the train to Kaduna,” he said.
In the same vein, Hadiza Mohammad, said it was unfair that after 121 days, the federal government, has not found any meaningful ways of rescuing the remaining victims, and wondered why the people in government, especially, the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, had remained silent.
Also, Aisha Musa, mother of one of the abductees, Hafsat Abdullahi, who is being held captive with her two-year-old child, narrated her ordeal.
“When her children saw the video yesterday, the first son fainted. Now he is in the hospital. When this thing happened, we thought she was dead. We did not hear from them since they said they killed some. We went to Forty-four hospital in Kaduna. They gave us a list of those who were dead and accident victims. She was not among the corpses in the mortuary,” she said.
According to her, It was two days later that the abductors called her husband and spoke to her. That was the day we heard their voices last till today.
At about 11:45 am, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, came to address the protesters, and said he had just resumed office and would require sometime to address the issue.
The minister also requested for the contacts of the affected families and promised to be in communication with them henceforth.
Sambo, while speaking further, said, “My first intention was to hold a dialogue with you and empathise with you. The government is made up of individuals. We have families. We feel for the families of this unfortunate incident.
“I want to tell you, please, give me the opportunity, let me resume in this office. This will be the first matter I am going to tackle by the grace of God. I have asked God to guide me, to lead me in this assignment, and I know God will not fail me and God will not fail Nigeria. You have been very patient. The government itself has not been sleeping from enquiries I have made.
“I took time to come here this morning, because I wanted to get in touch with the right people, who have been handling this issue. There are some things you don’t say in public. I’m sure you appreciate that. But I want to beg for one thing: I have just resumed and I’m going to receive the necessary briefings this morning. I want you to give me time.
“In the meantime, I want contact names and addresses. If you have a formal association with telephone numbers that I can reach, I can assure you that we are going to be in constant engagement until this matter is sorted out, until every single person in captivity goes back home to his family members.”
Military Beefs Up Security Around Bwari Campus Law School, FG Closes FGC, Kwali
The Nigeria Army, has tightened security around the Nigerian Law School, Bwari Campus, Abuja, in the wake of the increasing wave of insecurity that pervaded the FCT over the weekend.
This development followed directives by the FCT Education Secretariat and the FCT All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (FCT -ANCOPSS) that no school in the FCT should open tomorrow, July, 27, 2022.
Heavily armed soldiers were observed assuming strategic positions around the Law School on Sunday evening as a precautionary security measure in the light of the sporadic shooting over the weekend at Sheda Village by suspected bandits that prompted the Federal Ministry of Education to order the immediate closure of the Federal Government College, Kwali, FCT.
The development created panic which prompted security to be beefed up in other unity schools in Bwari, Apo, Rubochi and Abaji. As a result of the development, many fear-stricken parents have been rushing to the schools to withdraw their wards from the boarding schools.
In the same vein, the FCT ANCOPSS has directed that no school in the FCT should open tomorrow, July 27 in compliance with the directive of the FCT UBEB Management that all Junior Secondary schools must finish exams today, July, 26, 2022.
To that effect, the announcer, Secretary, FCT ANCOPSS, said subject teachers were to use CAs to complete the theory or essay parts of the exams as only objective questions should be administered. He said no school should open on Wednesday, 27th July, 2022.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who ordered the closure of Federal Government College, Kwali, said the closure became necessary following security breach on Sheda and Lambata Villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council which also threatened FGC Kwali.
The unity college is located in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In a statement by the director of media and public relations, Mr. Ben Bem Goong, the minister said the timely intervention of security Agencies saved the situation, adding that the minister also gave a directive for arrangements to be made for final year students to conclude their NECO examinations.
“The Minister has also directed principals of Unity Colleges across the country to liaise with security agencies within their jurisdictions inorder to forestall any security breach in our schools,” he said.
Terrorists Wound Three Soldiers in Abuja
The Brigade of Guards charged with the security of President Muhammadu Buhari, his family and the nation’s capital, confirmed yesterday that three soldiers were wounded during an ambush by terrorists along Kubwa-Bwari Road in the outskirts of the city.
Spokesperson of the Guards Brigade, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa, said the soldiers were ambushed along the Kubwa-Bwari Road, adding that, three soldiers were wounded and and hospitalised while the attack was repelled.
“Troops on routine patrol along Kubwa–Bwari were ambushed by suspected terrorists. Three soldiers were injured during the attack. The soldiers have been evacuated for medical attention,” he said.
Abakpa said the ambush occurred within the general area of Bwari, which showed that the terrorists were within the location and possibly preparing to carry out their plans to attack the law school in Bwari.
Following the attack on Kuje Prison by terror group, Boko Haram, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), last week, allayed fears of another impending attack by terrorists in Abuja.
The Brigade of Guards had also set up a board of inquiry to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the attack and the involvement or otherwise of soldiers posted in the Kuje Correctional Center on the day of the attack.
The Federal Capital Territory Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had issued a security alert of a planned terror attack on churches, schools and public infrastructure.
Another anonymous alert, patterned after standard security alerts, which had trended on social media also indicated that there were sightings of influx of unknown persons over time, around Karshi Hills and Orozo, in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
It said some persons were seen regularly and clandestinely going up the hills around Navy Town Estate, thus raising high suspicion that the invaders were massing up in camps within the hills, which also connect to other adjoining forests within the FCT and Nassarawa State.
The alert said the terrorists planned to attack educational institutions located in the area. But the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Maj Gen Jimmy Akpor, said security agencies were at alert and determined to contain any security threats to the seat of power.
“Security agencies are not sleeping. They are doing what needs to be done to keep the place safe. A lot of things are being done. Measures have been put in place. Of all the security agencies, none is sleeping,” he said.
On the intelligence alert of an impending attack making the rounds, he said expectations were that the citizenry would provide available information to security forces and not circulate such on social media.
PDP: Nigeria Has Failed Irretrievably Under APC
However, the PDP has expressed sadness over the fate of the kidnapped Kaduna train passengers, saying it was alarmed and distressed by the video of terrorists mercilessly flogging, inflicting grievous bodily harm, and threatening to sell them into slavery.
The party further said it was heartbreaking to watch fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, helpless children; compatriots and citizens of Nigeria in captivity and being tortured, brutalised, humiliated and crying in pain, agony and anguish just because Nigerians had the misfortune of being under the APC government that has proven to be derelict, irresponsible, unconcerned and completely numb to the pains and sufferings of our citizens.
Addressing a press conference, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said the emotional toll of the sad incident on the victims, their families and the entire nation could not be quantified, particularly, on the younger generation, who witnessed the humiliation of their parents and breadwinners in such gruesome circumstance.
According to Ologunagba. “This will certainly have a generational consequence on the emotional and psychological makeup of our young persons with the possibility of losing faith in our nation and the capacity for empathy.
“Indeed, as a party, our hearts bleed! The APC government has irretrievably failed our nation. Under the APC, Nigeria is fast sliding into a Hobbesian State where Rule of Law, Order and leadership are absent and where cruel, inhumane and insensitive bunch of human beings in government have abandoned our citizens to killers, terrorists and bandits.
“This disquieting video is a heartrending testament of the reported complicity and failure of the APC government to take decisive actions to rescue the victims since the gruesome train attack in which very promising Nigerians including a 29-year old female medical doctor was brutally killed and others taken captive by terrorists since then.
“It is a painful commentary on the continuing mass killing by terrorists in various parts of our country as well as a confirmation of the agony of hundreds of our citizens including students, who are being tortured and executed in countless terrorists’ dens enabled by the APC government,” he stated.
You’ve Failed, Hire Mercenaries to End Insecurity, NNPP Tells Buhari
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately hire foreign mercenaries for six months in order to tackle the pervading security challenges bedeviling the nation.
The new opposition party also admonished President Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on security in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger States.
The Katsina State Chairman of the NNPP, Hon. Sani Liti, who made the calls at a press conference in Katsina, said the president has failed to secure the lives and property of the citizenry.
He added that the federal government should recruit one million young Nigerians to be trained as special forces to protect and secure the country, when the mercenaries leave in six months.
From 2015 to date, he said, over 50,000 Nigerians had lost their lives to terrorists and properties as well as money worth trillion of naira have been lost to insurgents, who used the funds to purchase sophisticated weapons to kill innocent Nigerians.
He, however, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify the 2023 presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for allegedly buying delegates during their parties national conventions.
“The government of Nigeria shall as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency on security. In this respect, we are calling for the government to immediately hire mercenaries for six months to fight the rising banditry, insurgency and tribal militia.
“We call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger States. With the state of emergency, it is expected that the governments of these states shall be suspended and their accounts closed so that all monies shall be channelled to secure from banditry and insurgency.
“We call on INEC to disqualify Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu from contesting the presidential election in 2023 for buying delegates during their parties national conventions.
“The EFCC, Police and DSS should arrest them and all other actors, who participated in the conventions. We believe that, should anyone of these two wins the election next year, the country will slide into deeper corruption,” he said.
He, therefore, warned that if the federal government refused to declare a state of emergency in the affected states, the party would ask all the state assemblies to commence the process of impeachment of the aforementioned governors.