Bandits Kill 70, In Niger, Sack Eight Villages …NMA Raises Alarm Over Massive Loss Of Life …Police Detain 15 Officers For Extortion


Armed bandits had continued their attacks unabated on villagers in Shiroro Local Government Area, Niger State, yesterday as the death toll increased to 70, with eight more villages affected while the number of displaced persons have also risen to over 1, 000.
The figure from the attacks which started in the wee hours 2 Sunday 9th June, 2019 has risen from the initial 12 people that lost their lives as the bandits were said to have spread their indiscriminate killing spree to more villages.
Our correspondent gathered that apart from the several injured people who were rushed to nearby rural health facilities in Kuta, Erena and Zumba, many of the displaced villagers were taking refuge in seven Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps around the area.
Information made available to journalists by the Senator representing Niger-East, Senator David Umaru in whose constituency has been a victim of the massacre indicated that no fewer than 19 persons died in the past six days in Kwaki village, 14 in Barden Dawaki village.
Our correspondent also learnt that, 8 persons died in Ajatawyi village, 7 in Gwassa, 5 in Ajayin Bataro, 4 others in Bwailo, 3 in Baton village and 2 reported dead in Giji village, while over 800 herds of cattle belonging to the villagers have been rustled within the same time.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger state command, DSP Mohammed Abubakar Dan-Inna said the police could only confirm 12 people so far dead in the attack, adding however that more security personnel have been deployed to the troubled area.
Meanwhile, Senator David Umaru has appealed to President Mohammed Buhari to come to the rescue of his people in Shiroro, Niger East Senatorial district from the rampaging bandits by ordering deployment of more security personnel to the area.
“I am in pains and sorrow over the killing of my people by armed bandits who have taken over our communities in the past few days”.
“It is horrible that over 69 people have been killed and 1000 displaced and yet there is no respite for the good people of my constituency,” adding that it has become apparent that the situation is beyond the capacity of the police”.
According to him, “I am appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the military into the area to stop the bandits from further annihilation of my people by the armed bandits who have continued their onslaught unhindered and unabated”.
“I am also calling on the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Div Nigeria Army, Kaduna to deploy more personnel to save the armless villagers from the onslaught of the armed bandits”, Umaru said, as he stressed the need for the State Government to provide adequate logistics to enable the security agencies crush the bandits.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Kaduna State Chapter, has called on the Federal and Kaduna State Governments including agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives on the country’s highways to expedite action to end the needless loss of lives on the Kaduna-Zaria road.
NMA observed that since the commencement of the reconstruction of the road and subsequent blockade and road diversion, it has led to increased road traffic accidents and impacted negatively on the already overstretched accident and emergency services in the hospitals.
Addressing newsman in Kaduna yesterday, State Chairman of the Chapter, Dr. Stephen Akau Kache said, “It is important to note that many travellers along this road suffer untold hardship and are exposed to enormous risks due to the blockade and several diversions on certain sections of the road. This, in turn, has resulted in loss of man-hours and several accidents have occurred with varying degrees of injuries and deaths occurring as a result. The most recent of which happened on Monday, 10th June 2019, in which several people were either injured or lost their lives, including that of Professor Adeola Abosede Orogade from the Department of Paediatric, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.”
The NMA called on government among others to declare a state of emergency on the Kaduna-Zaria expressway, pointing out that in doing so, they must deploy a joint task force of security operatives on the road to ensure strict adherence to traffic laws.
It added that there is the need to deploy cranes and other equipment at strategic locations along the road that could be used to extract victims who are trapped in vehicles as well as establish emergency medical units in strategic locations along the road.
The association noted that the government should prevail on the contractors to adequately mobilise and complete the road construction.
In the interim, to curb road accidents, NMA suggested that a number of diversions on the road should be minimized to one at a time and by extension, the repair of the road should be done in shorter segments.
“Temporary rumble strips (speed breakers) should be putin place and also on that portion of the road, set up mobile courts to try and prosecute traffic offenders,” NMA advised.
It said, “We believe that the reconstruction of the road is a laudable initiative and all efforts must be put in place to ensure the safety of lives plying the road.”
In another development, the leadership of the Abia State Police Command says it has arrested 15 police personnel under its command for allegedly extorting money from motorists and other members of the public.
The police officers, it was learnt are standing orderly room trial at the command’s Headquarters in Umuahia, the state capital.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Ene Okon who disclosed this in Aba said that the command would not shield any corrupt person within its workforce that is trying to tarnish its good image.
The CP who was reacting to the calls made by some traditional rulers during a Town Hall Meeting in Aba, asking him to call some of his extortionist officers to order, assured that the Nigeria Police does not shield anyone with criminal behaviour.
Okon pointed out that the command is determined to get rid of bad eggs among its personnel, stressing that it was why it declared one Sergeant Collins Akpugo wanted for killing Mr. Christian Onuoha in Umuahia.
He further disclosed that a reward of N500, 000 will be given to whoever has information on his whereabout.
Okon, who maintained that bail is free, however, urged the members of the public to resist the urge of giving money to any officer who tries to extort them, stressing that every citizen ought to know his right and stand on it.
“We are the only organization that when you err, we punish. All of you must have heard about a policeman that shot somebody and killed him on the 4th of June in Afara Umuahia?
“After killing, he ran away and disappeared. We have declared him wanted and we have placed N500,000 on his head. Anybody that will give us information on his arrest collects N500,000 cash from me,” the CP said.
Speaking on bribery and extortion by police officers, Okon said “It takes two to tangle. If you don’t give, the police will not take. It starts with you. If you know that you’ve not done anything wrong, if you know that you’re operating your joint according to rules, if a policeman comes, you prove to him that you know you’re right.
“I don’t know that policeman that will not be afraid to even tell you to bring knowing that you know your right. Insist that you know your right. Let me be very frank to you, I am not supporting police collecting any money.
“As I’m talking to you, I have 15 policemen in my cell. 7 were arrested here at Opobo Junction when I heard the information that they were collecting money. I sent out my monitoring unit and my monitoring unit went there and met them in the act and arrested them.
“I subjected them to investigation and we have completed investigation and they’re undergoing ‘orderly room trials’. Let God be with them if they’ll escape. At the end of the day, they’ll turn to civilians and be giving money too and see how painful it is.
“I have monitoring unit. We are not sleeping on it. I don’t like it, but you too must stop giving.
If you don’t give, they’ll not take. Insist on your right. My phone number is here, call me, give me the information and see what will happen.”