On 28 December, about 15 people were injured in an explosion at a hotel located on the outskirts of Gombe, capital of Gombe State.
Reporting the incident which occurred at around 10.30 pm, the manager of Tumfure Resort, Mr Ojiego Nelson, said: “Three gunmen came and an argument ensued between them and the security guards at the entrance”.
He said the gunmen “manhandled” the security guards and made their way into the premises. As two of them fired shots into the garden where some guests were drinking, the third threw two gas cylinders into the hotel – one to the reception area and the other under cars parked by guests. He said the cylinder thrown into the reception exploded and damaged the building, forcing staff and guests to flee through the back fence. He said 15 people were injured but that none of the injuries was life-threatening.
Nelson said immediately after the attack, all the guests hurriedly vacated their rooms in the hotel and fled. He said the incident was promptly reported to the police.
Addressing newsmen later, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Tumfure, Mr Hassan Bappa, said he came to the scene with his men, but that the gunmen were already gone before he arrived. The DPO said no one was killed and nothing was stolen from the hotel, but that he was still awaiting the arrival of bomb experts before the debris could be cleared.
He also said no arrest had yet been made, but that investigations were continuing. The authorities could not yet say whether the attack was staged by the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram, or by a group of common bandits.
On 2 June, two men were arrested in the process of collecting the ransom they had demanded, as condition for releasing the four-year-old daughter of a hotelier, whom they had kidnapped, in Ughelli, Delta State.
The two men were severely battered by an angry crowd which mobbed the police investigation team that had brought them for fact finding, at the hotel where the girl was kidnapped.
Local sources said the little girl was quietly taken away from the premises of the hotel last Wednesday by two men, one of whom was a staff of the hotel. When her parents raised an alarm at not knowing her whereabouts, neighbours said they saw the worker taking her away.
In the evening of the same day, the kidnappers who had taken the girl to their forest hideout a few kilometres from Ughelli township, contacted the girl’s parents, demanding a ransom of N4 million. The parents alerted the police who advised them to play along with the kidnappers. Once the negotiation had settled at the amount to be paid, the kidnappers then told the girl’s parents where to drop the money. The parents did as they were told.
However, when the kidnappers stepped out to pick what was supposed to be their winnings, they were shocked as policemen encircled them with blazing guns and handcuffs.
The hotel staff who identified himself as Jimmy Benson, said it was his colleague who conceived the crime and persuaded him to assist in bringing out the girl from the hotel, on the assurance that he would be paid N1 million at the end of the operation. The colleague who allegedly masterminded the kidnap, turned out to be a pastor in his 40s. He said it was the devil that led him into the crime.
On 16 April, two people were killed and several others injured as a bomb exploded at a hotel in Kabala West area of Kaduna metropolis, Kaduna State. The blast, on the same day as the nationwide presidential election, occurred around 7.40pm at a hotel variously identified as Jimmy Hotel and Happy Night Hotel.
Confirming the incident, the Deputy Commissioner of the Kaduna Police Command, Mr Ekeh Nwodibo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the police had arrested one person, who is alleged to have planted the bomb. He said the police had cordoned off the hotel restricting movements in and out of the area, while bomb experts had been deployed to commence investigations. Nwodibo also said the injured persons had been rushed to hospital.
The Director of the State Security Service (SSS) in Kaduna, Mr. Abayomi Zamba, also reportedly confirmed that the suspected bomber had been apprehended. He said the suspect, who himself was also wounded, is now receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital. Zamba gave an assurance that the security agencies were on top of the security situation in the area and appealed to people in the state to be calm.
It would be recalled that barely a week earlier (7 April), two explosions had occurred in the Mahuta suburb of Kaduna, killing one of those who were in possession of the explosive devices. However, that incident had no noticeable effect in terms of discouraging voters from coming out to vote at the 9 April parliamentary elections.
This latest incident, on the same day as the presidential election, occurred well after voting had been concluded, and therefore similarly had no impact on the polls. Said one local resident who had voted earlier in the day: “If these mad bombers were trying to frighten us and sabotage the elections, then they have clearly failed, because the election is already a success”.
On 4 April, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, issued a two-week ultimatum to all hotel operators whose activities are currently not regulated by relevant regulatory bodies, such as the Nigeria Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), to register with such bodies or face criminal prosecution.
The warning, according to the statement by the Commission, followed its findings that many of the hotels that had failed to provide information about their operations were being used as havens for criminality, especially cyber crime and money laundering.
The statement said: “Investigations by the Commission revealed that over 3,000 hotels across the country are either not registered or regulated by NTDC, or are without signboards, thus making enquiries from relevant regulatory bodies in the course of investigation a near impossibility”.
The statement said that of late, enquiries sent to NTDC for specific information about some hotels have been returned void, a development that hampers investigation of criminal activities involving such hotels or their guests. It said that the Executive Chairperson of the Commission has therefore mandated a team of operatives to comb for such hotels at the expiration of the two weeks ultimatum.