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Kano now “urban jungle”, committee blames poverty, poor governance

On 15 February, the Kano State government released the report of a committee it set up to probe unrest in the city: the report said poor governance, poverty and unregulated migration had turned the largest metropolis in northern Nigeria to “an urban jungle”.

Kano had been in a security crisis, sharply aggravated by the 20 January bomb and gun attacks staged by the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, which killed at least 185 people. In the wake of those attacks, the Kano state governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, constituted a 15-member committee of political and business leaders to probe the factors fueling unrest in the city.

Magaji Dambatta, who headed the committee, said that “With the virtual collapse of governance structure at community level, making it impossible to keep track of activities in local communities… Kano has unfortunately been reduced to an urban jungle”. The report further cited “the uncontrolled influx of foreigners” as a cause of insecurity. It called for “massive assistance” from the federal government to tackle the city’s staggering poverty and explosive unemployment.

Since 2010, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgent campaign with the goal of establishing Islamic government under strict and comprehensive Sharia law, in the northern parts of the country. While its attacks had been largely in the north-eastern states, the 20 January 20 gun and bomb assault on Kano, was the group’s bloodiest attack. On January 26, a security source said Nigeria had arrested some 200 foreign “Boko Haram ”, mainly from Chad, who may have been involved in the attacks.

8 shot dead in 4 attacks by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States

On 16 and 17 January, police and military authorities reported that eight people had been killed in four separate attacks, by gunmen suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect, widely known as Boko Haram.

On 16 January, the Field Operations Officer of the military Joint Task Force, Col Victor Ebhaleme, reported that two people were killed when gunmen invaded their homes in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Commissioner of Police in neighbouring Yobe State, Mr Tanko Lawan, reported that, on the same day, gunmen shot and killed three people from Chad in the state capital, Damaturu. Reports said gunmen had shot two Chadians dead in the town the previous day.

In the third incident on 17 January, a local source reported that the gunmen, each with an AK-47 rifle, came on a tricycle and attacked soldiers, at a military check-point in Ajilari-Railway Cross, a suburb of the Maiduguri metropolis. The Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Mr Simeon Midenda, reported that the two soldiers were distributing food to other soldiers on duty, when they were shot dead by the gunmen.

Also on 17 January, unidentified gunmen killed a police officer, Jubril Abdulkarim, in Mubi, Adamawa State. A local source reports that the gunmen shot the officer around 6am, as he was riding on a motorcycle, near the abattoir in the Wuro-Gude area of the town. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Adamawa State, Altine Daniel, said the policeman was on his way home after a night’s duty in a bank in the area. She said the police was investigating the incident.

Some security authorities however believe that members of Boko Haram were responsible for all the four attacks.

Nigeria Immigration Service arrests suspected human trafficker and 4 victims heading to Libya, in Borno State

Mrs ROSE UZOMA, Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service

On 14 March, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Borno State Command, reported it had arrested of a suspected human trafficker and four of her victims at the Banki-Darajamal border area of the state.

Parading the suspects to newsmen in his office in Maiduguri, the Comptroller of Immigration, Borno State Command, Alhaji Babayo Alkali, said the suspects were apprehended by his men as they were trying to set out to Libya by road, through Cameroun and Chad Republics. He said that four of them had international e-passports but none had any visa for entering Libya or employment papers for working there.

The Comptroller said on interrogation, it was found that Chinyere Charity Nwafor, with passport number AO2722637, was the trafficker. The four others – Ochomgba Anthony Erochukwu, 25; Nwazuzu Ogechi Martins 24; Genevive Otuorgh 30; and Ifeoma Mike 18 – were being trafficked to the North African country. Alkali added that the suspected trafficker, Nwafor, claimed she had lived in Libya for six years and came home in January 2011, for her mother’s burial.

Asked whether she was unaware of the hazards of travelling across the desert, the trafficker, Chinyere Nwafor, said she had never heard of any danger posed by travelling across the desert. She said: “I have been living in Libya for six years and I always buy my foodstuffs in Nigeria. Even now our vehicle is loaded with foodstuff”. She added that she found nothing wrong in assisting those who wanted to go to Libya to join their relatives.

Alkali said that when Nwafor was reminded that Nigerians resident in Libya were being brought back home on account of the crisis in that country, she said the fighting did not affect the area she lives and that those travelling with her would not be exposed to any danger in Libya.

The youngest of the victims, Ifeoma Mike, who said her parents were both dead, claimed she was accompanying the trafficker to Libya to assist her in her restaurant business.

The Comptroller said all the five suspects would be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) for further investigations and prosecution.

Police arrest 6 suspected armed robbers in Borno State

On 3 March, the police in Borno State reported that it had foiled armed robbery attacks on the Banki border road with Chad, arresting six suspects from whom it recovered nine double-barrel guns, a pistol and three knives. All the suspects are aged between 20 and 35.

Interrogated by the police, the suspects admitted that they had killed three people during their operations on the 75-kilometre Bama-Banki Road.

Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, said their arrests followed intelligence reports on the operations of the robbers as well as their hideouts along the border route.

He said: “Our officers and men worked on the intelligence reports provided by the residents in the border communities with Republic of Chad, before we arrested the suspects”.

Police arrest Boko Haram arms supplier in Maiduguri, Borno State

On 19 February, the metropolitan police patrol team in Maiduguri, Borno State, arrested Mohammed Zakaria, 24, in an unmarked Volkswagen Golf car, during a ‘stop and search’ procedure.

On interrogation, Zakaria confessed to the police that he was not only a member of the extremist Islamist sect, Boko Haram, but in fact a coordinator of the supply of arms and ammunition to its members. Zakaria also identified one Alhaji Salifu of Damaturu in Yobe State and Mohammed Goni of Gomari ward of Maiduguri, as the financiers of the sect, in terms of procuring arms and ammunition from Chad and Cameroon, and aiding their smuggling into the country.

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