About five police officers and two soldiers, including an army captain were killed by suspected militants early yesterday morning in Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Sources told newsmen that the bodies of the victims had been removed.
The slain captain was simply identified as Muhammad.
The Tide gathered that the existing presence of the Joint Task Force called Operation Awatse did not deter the militants from operating in the area they were driven away from about a year ago by members of the same task force.
The Tide source also gathered that the militants had struck at Woodland Estate close to Ishawo Creeks and engaged the security personnel, soldiers and the police, in a gun duel.
“At the end of the gun duel, five policemen and two soldiers were reportedly gunned down by the militants,” the source told newsmen.
It was unclear if there were any casualties on the part of the militants, although security forces were said to have reinforced and stormed the area for reconnaissance and possible counter-action.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said he was still gathering information on the matter adding that a statement would soon be issued.
Also, the spokesperson of the 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Olaolu Daudu, said that a statement would be released on the incident later.
The Tide recalled that on March 13, 2017, it reported the return of the militants to the area.
Residents said they lived in palpable fear.
The militants, whose stocks in trade are kidnapping and oil theft, were chased out of the area in August 2016 by the Task Force, after several bloody clashes in the community.
Scores of people were killed during the clashes between militants and residents of Isawo community before the joint military task force was deployed in the area.
Mr. Famous-Cole told newsmen in March that the command was re-strategising the security arrangements in the state, including Ikorodu area.
He said more police patrol teams would be deployed in the area, and urged residents to provide useful information on the activities of the hoodlums.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Fergusson Bobai, told newsmen: “I don’t have any report yet to suggest that militants are back in those areas.
“But Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the return of swamp buggies to open up the creeks in those areas to enable the security forces carry out in-depth patrols.
The swamp buggy is a motor vehicle used to traverse swampy terrain.
Buggies are able to move about on dry land, shallow mud, sand, shallow water and deep mud.
The Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, on August 4, 2016 visited Isawo creeks and was briefed about the activities of the militants.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni, said the command was working with sister security agencies to arrest the suspected militants that killed four police officers, an army captain and a civilian yesterday.
Mr. Owoseni made the promise in a statement on Sunday while responding to the killings by militants in Isawo area of Ikorodu in Lagos state.
His statement, the first by any top security official clarified earlier reports that two soldiers and five police officers were killed.
The commissioner said that the officers were killed while trying to rescue some people abducted by the unidentified gunmen.
“At about 1a.m of today Sunday April 9, the Police received distress call that a group of militants/kidnappers had entered Owutu-Isawo in Ikorodu through the thick swampy forest surrounding the area.
“They were reported to have kidnapped some residents. In response, the Police and the Army immediately mobilised personnel to the area, where the kidnapped victims were rescued.
“Sadly, however, five out of the gallant, brave and patriotic officers lost their lives during the rescue operation. One of them is a Nigerian Army Captain, while the remaining four are policemen. One of the residents in the area also died.
“We pray that the God Almighty reward their loyalty to the nation with paradise and grant their souls peaceful rest.
“We also pray that God gives their respective families the courage to bear the loss,” Mr. Owoseni said.
“The Command will like to assure the public that with synergy from sister security agencies, the criminal elements involved in this dastardly act shall be apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“We will continue to rely on the good people of Lagos State for useful information and their partnership,” he said.
The commissioner said that the officers were killed while trying to rescue some people abducted by the unidentified gunmen, stressing that one army Captain and a civilian were among the six persons killed.
PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms
Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.
Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.
Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.
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