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El-Rufai: Kidnappers, Boko Haram working together

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says kidnappers are now collaborating with “some elements of Boko Haram” to hold people for ransom.

He spoke 24 hours after gunmen abducted six schoolgirls and two staff members from a boarding school in Kaduna.

A source had said the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of N50 million.

While addressing state house correspondents on Friday, el-Rufai confirmed that the kidnappers had made contact with the parents of the victims but refused to disclose the ransom they are demanding.

He said his administration has made adequate arrangements to beef up security in state schools, adding that the kidnappers of the students and teachers succeeded because the school was in a remote place.

“First, I must say it is most unfortunate and tragic. For us in Kaduna for this kidnap of children and teachers to happen. The report I got is that six students of a private secondary school were kidnapped along with two teachers,” he said.

“As at this morning (Friday), the kidnappers have made contacts with the parents, and we have got the parents of the kidnapped children and the relations of the teachers to be in one place so that, there is one line of communications with the kidnappers to facilitate their release.

“However, from the moment of the kidnap, the security agencies, all agencies, from the DSS to the Police, the Nigerian Air force, and the Army have been on the matter and I am confident that not only are we going to secure the release of the students and their teachers, but we are going to get the kidnappers by the grace of God.

“It is always a moment of sadness when young people that are trying to get an education become victims of these criminals. But kidnapping has become widespread that for many people, it is not news. For us in Kaduna, this is one of the biggest tragedies and we are doing everything to manage the situation to get the children and their teachers safely and pursue these kidnappers with everything that we have got.

“I get updates every three hours on this and the last update I got is that they are in touch and they are discussing to resolve the matter. We have been receiving intelligence some three months ago, that the bandits have connected with some elements of Boko Haram, and they will be targeting schools to kidnap children because they know that that is what makes the news.

SCHOOL ATTACKED BY KIDNAPPERS IS ‘IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE’

“And we have reinforced security around our schools. This school called Engravers Academy is in the middle of no where until yesterday, two days ago, when the kidnapping happened, I didn’t know the school. It is right in the middle of the bush along Abuja/Kaduna road. It’s in the middle of no where really, that’s why it was vulnerable. Other schools are protected and no one should have any doubts that if your child is in Kaduna state. we are doing our best to protect him or her.”

On efforts to prevent recurrence, the governor said adequate arrangement was on ground to protect all the schools in the state.

“We already have this arrangement in place, this school fell the crack because it is quite isolated. It’s in the middle of nowhere, kilometers off Kaduna that is why it was vulnerable,” he said.

“But other schools are being watched and we do regular surveillance, we use the Nigerian Air Fforce planes, we use drones. We do regular surveillance all across the state and we get intelligence as to likely targets. So, with the help of security agencies, we are doing the best we can on this. Of course, you can never get this 100 percent.

“Security challenges evolve, you close this chapter, the other one opens, so it’s work in progress. And the reason why we are here is to continue to address those problems with the best resources available and we are getting the cooperation of all the federal agencies.”

‘I WON’T WITHDRAW MY CHILD FROM PUBLIC SCHOOL’

Asked whether he regretted sending his child to public school, he said, “My child should not safer or more protected than any other child in Kaduna state. I took an oath of office to protect everyone, and my child is just one of the two million children we have in primary schools in Kaduna state.

“And I have no intention of reviewing that. For me, taking my child to a government school was not only a commitment I made but a clear expression that I have confidence in the quality of our public schools for my child to attend. And we have already given directives that all the staff of the ministry of education who are in charge of managing our education system must have their own children in public schools.

“We are not going to require every political appointee or government employee to have his children, that is their choice but those that manage our educational system must have their children in public schools for them to ensure that public schools work. That is why, some people have said it’s political and all that. I don’t care.

“I will not play politics with my child or his future, it’s ridiculous, but of course, this is the environment in which we live, in which whatever you do, you will have those who are opposed to it and those who are for it, it’s life. No, there is no consideration of changing this.

“All our schools in Kaduna will have enhanced security protection, because we have got intelligence of the likelihood of this danger three months ago but I don’t want to into details. But, any bandit that comes to Kaduna to try to do this, has a very high chance of getting killed, so, we are prepared.”

University student kidnaps own sister, demands N10m

Taraba State Police Command on Friday arrested a 22-year-old student, Abdul Basit Umar, of Modibo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State, for kidnapping his 10-year-old sister, Amina Umar, and demanding for a N10 million ransom.

Umar was arrested alongside two of his accomplices, Sadiq Dalhatu Sani (21) and Abdullahi Habib (27), whom he hired to carry out the act.

Parading the suspects at the Taraba State Police Command in Jalingo alongside 19 other kidnappers and armed robbers apprehended in Gassol, Bali and other parts of Taraba State, the command warned that it would not tolerate any criminal activity in the State.

Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP David Misal, while parading the suspects said Abdubasit Umar who happened to be a biological brother to the victim had on the said date criminally conspired with other suspects and lured the innocent girl into a Blue Honda Hennessy with registration N0. MKF 67JK Kaduna, and took her to Dove Hotel Mayo Dassa, where she was held captive.

According to him, the suspects contacted the family and demanded a ransom of N10 million, but later accepted to collect the sum of N4 million.

He added that they were arrested while trying to collect the said ransom at Wuro-Sambe, Jalingo, by the intelligence squad of the command.

The prime suspect, Abdubasit Umar, told journalists that he staged the kidnap of his younger sister to enable him raise money to travel out of the country.

He said in pidgin English, “if I kidnap my junior sister, I will get N10 million. My aim is if I get the money, I will go abroad.”

Mob kills VIO official who chased three Okada riders to their death

The Niger Police Command says a mob of protesters have killed one Ahmed Bello, a Vehicle Inspector Officer, in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.

The State Commissioner of Police, Adamu Usman, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna on Friday.

Narrating the incident, Usman said, “On October 3, at about 13:30 hours, three Fulani youths namely Malami Mohammed, Juli Musa and Dawa Ali, of Oro village of Mariga Local Government Area, riding on an unregistered motorcycle, were told by the VIO to stop, but they refused to stop.

”They were chased by the VIO and they ran into a moving trailer with registration No. FKJ 512 XW that was coming from Tegina- Kampani Bobi area.

“All of them were crushed by the trailer and they died on the spot.”

“On realising what he did, the VIO ran towards Kampani Bobi Police outstation for safety; but he was pursued by irate mob and lynched,” the Commissioner added.

He said that already, reinforcement from Kontagora Division was drafted to the village to restore normalcy.

The Commissioner warned members of the public to desist from taking the law into their hands.

“We will not tolerate any act capable of bringing confusion to the state, as concrete security measures has since been put in place to guarantee peaceful coexistence among residents.

The Police chief warned that any person or group found culpable in connection with the incident would be arrested and prosecuted.

(NAN)

Owners of seized vehicles will pay complete duty with 25% penalty, says Customs

Col Hameed Ali (retd), Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, has directed that owners of vehicles seized or detained will pay the complete duty with 25% penalty levy.

In a circular released by AOB Fatade, assistant comptroller-general, all operations units were mandated to report action on this to the headquarter on a weekly basis.

“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth, all vehicles detained or subject to detention should be allowed to pay the correct and complete Customs duty with the 25% penalty levy.

“Furthermore, you are directed to note that all vehicles seized and taken into Customs custody (condemned by a competent court of jurisdiction in accordance with the provision of Section 167 of CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004)shall not enjoy the above privilege consented in paragraph 1.

“Consequently, it shall attract the penalty prescribed in Section 167 referred thereto.”

Section 167 of the Customs and Excise Management act states that: “Any officer or police officer, or any other person authorised in that behalf by the Board, may at any time seize or detain anything liable to forfeiture under the customs and excise laws or which such officer, police officer or other person has reasonable grounds to believe are liable to forfeiture thereunder.

“Anything seized or detained under the customs and excise laws shall forthwith be delivered into the care of the Board and, subject to the provisions of the Third Schedule to this Act, shall, pending the determination as to its forfeiture or disposal, be dealt with, and, if condemned or deemed to have been condemned as forfeited, shall be disposed of, in such manner as the Board may direct.”

Operatives of service recently carried out an operation on a five-star hotel in Abuja and seized four vehicles.

Court grants Sowore N100m bail, restricts him to Abuja

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday granted a N100 million bail to Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement.

Sowore has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since August 3 when he was arrested in Lagos.

A court had earlier granted him bail but the secret police refused to release him while he was arraigned on September 30, alongside Olawale Bakare, his co-defendant, on a 7-count charge of felony brought against him by the federal government.

At the court on Friday, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the presiding judge, held that the prosecution failed to show good reasons why the defendants should not be granted bail since the offences are bailable.

The judge also granted a N50 million bail to Bakare. She restricted Sowore from speaking with journalists and travelling outside Abuja.

The judge ordered Sowore to produce two sureties in like sum, one who must deposit N50m to the court pending the determination of the case.

She said all sureties must be resident in Abuja, must show proof of tax clearance from 2016 to 2018 and must deposit original documents of landed properties in Abuja.

Earlier, while opposing the bail application, Hassan Liman, counsel to the federal government, urged the court to dismiss the request for bail, saying the defendants have demonstrated the likelihood of committing the same offences.

“The first defendant while being taken away from the court on Monday was seen chanting revolution, it is time for us to do it,” Liman said.

Juxtaposing Sowore’s case with that of the case of Asari Dokubo who was denied bail by the supreme court , Liman said offences threatening national security “such as this” should be handled with caution.

He also asked the court to take judicial notice of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the indigenous people of biafra (IPOB), who jumped bail.

Femi Falana, counsel to the defendants, prayed the court to allow bail on grounds that the defendants have never been found guilty of committing any offence before.

He said the use of the word “revolution” is not a criminal offense. Quoting the supreme court, he defined revolution as “the overthrow of one class by the other”.

Falana further pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari also called for a revolution in 2003 and 2011 respectively after he lost the presidential election.

He argued that the first defendant(Sowore) has never called for a violent protest.

Addressing the second charge which bothered on insulting the president, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said “under the current constitutional dispensation, no public officer in Nigeria is permitted to use the machinery of the state to settle scores with his opponent”

He said the constitution guarantees freedom of speech, which includes freedom to criticise and that government officials should be open to criticism.

Responding to the case of Dokubo raised by the opposition, Falana said Dokubo was not granted bail because he admitted to blowing pipes in the Niger Delta.

He assured the court that his clients would not cause any trouble if they are granted bail.

The case has been adjourned till November 6, 2019.