Monthly Archives: February 2011
On 15 February, a policeman and at least seven other people were killed in violence in Jos, Plateau State.
According to local sources, the violence was sparked by a meat seller who had a minor disagreement with a mobile (anti-riot) policeman, and then suddenly pulled out his knife and stabbed the policeman to death. The slain policeman was said to be a member of the police’s Anti-bomb Squad in the city.
The incident soon led to wider violence, which then assumed ethno-religious dimensions, resulting in at least seven more deaths. Several persons were also injured, while many cars and motorcycles were either burnt or smashed.
Several sources said the death toll would have been higher, but for the timely intervention of the commander of the military Special Task Force (STF), Brig Gen Hassan Umaru, and his men.
On 15 February, the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta denied and denounced allegations by some politicians, notably the Dutch parliamentarian, Sharon Gesthuizen, that its personnel were involved in crude oil theft in the region.
Gesthuizen, in an interaction with journalists, had accused the JTF of complicity in oil theft and violence in the delta. But the coordinator of the JTF’s joint media campaign, Lt Col Timothy Antigha, dismissed her claim as “misplaced and malicious”. He said that, on the contrary, JTF operations had actually improved security in the region.
Specifically, Col Antigha pointed out that in the last one year, incidents of sea robbery, kidnap of oil industry personnel and vandalism of oil production infrastructure had been reduced considerably, as a result of the JTF’s activities.
On 15 February, a joint team of the Nigeria Police Force in Delta State and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, foiled an attempt to kidnap the father of Senator James Manager in Bomadi area of Delta State. Manager represents Delta South Senatorial District.
The kidnappers had stormed the victim’s residence and shot him on one leg, but they were forced to abandon him in the bush when they realised the security team was closing in on them.
On 14 February (Valentine’s Day), a clash between two rival student cult groups, namely the Black Axe and the Buccaneers at the University of Lagos, ended with two students killed and several others injured. The incident occurred in the wee hours of the morning, and at the peak of an all-night Valentine dance party.
Some sources say the clash was a “love duel” sparked by the Capone (leader) of the Buccaneers, who had “snatched” a contested female student from his Black Axe rival and brought her to his party; but this has not been confirmed: at least one source suggested the Black Axe attackers might have come from another institution.
As the cultists clashed, their gun shots set off a stampede with students running for safety. An official Information Flash later issued by the university authorities confirmed the incident, urging calm and promising adequate security to all students. But many students took those assurances with a pinch of salt and left the campus for fear of further violence. The university’s first semester examination is scheduled to start on 21 February.
On 12 February, about 20 people died and over 30 were seriously injured as a result of a stampede at the presidential election campaign rally, of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed a panel to investigate the tragedy. The panel is headed by an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.
On 12 February, the police in Anambra State smashed a five-man kidnap gang, after an intense gun battle which saw one of the kidnappers killed and another arrested with bullet wounds. The operation took place at Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state.
Acting on a tip-off, the police and local vigilantes had stormed an uncompleted building in which the kidnappers were hiding. At the end of the duel, they freed a 12-year-old girl, Chidimma Onyeamalu, who had been seized by the kidnappers, killed one of the kidnappers, arrested another with bullet wounds and recovered a pump action rifle loaded with cartridges. The arrested kidnapper, identified as Ifeanyichukwu Uzor, aged 22, confessed that his gang had been involved in several kidnap cases in Anambra and other states.
On 12 February, the Director of the State Security Service (SSS) in Rivers State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, reported that two foreign sailors kidnapped by gunmen off the coast of Bonny 16 days earlier, had been freed.
The sailors – Captain Lakota Oleksander from Ukraine and Panagotis Chiotis from Greece – were seized on 26 January, from a vessel that was sailing from Bonny to Onne in the waters off Rivers State. The SSS director said they were freed as a result of his agency’s networking with “stakeholders in the creeks”. But he emphasized that no ransom was paid, as the SSS maintains a policy of zero tolerance on ransom payments.
On 11 February, four persons were killed in an early morning attack on Shekan village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State. The victims were an aged couple and two of their grand children. Local sources say they were all beheaded and that the killers went away with their heads; but the head of at least one victim – the aged woman – was found in the bushes the next day.
However, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Abdulrahman Akano says he suspects the attackers were “ritual killers”, and that the incident was unconnected to the wider ethno-religious violence that has scarred the region, particularly since the beginning of 2010.
On 11 February, the Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, Mr Kingsley Kuku, disclosed that the Federal Government had withdrawn four of the 38 ex-militants from the Niger Delta who were recently sent on a vocational training programme in South Africa.
At a post-amnesty review conference in Lagos, Kuku said the action was taken after the training institution in South Africa had advised the trainees to withdraw on account of their “lack of capacity to cope with the studies”.
On 10 February, at least five persons were killed at the Federal College of Land Resources along Vom road in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. Several others suffered serious injuries.
The five slain persons included some staff of the College, and they all died of gunshot and machete wounds after they had been attacked by unknown assailants, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. However, a Christian organisation, Stefanus Foundation, reports that the number of persons killed was six not five. One of the victims, Chube Ayuba, was killed along with his wife and child.