On 16 January, Army authorities presented Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa to newsmen, alleging that he had been involved in gun running and in supporting a terrorist group in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State. Also accused was one of his sons, Musa Nuhu Mohammed. Another son, Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, was declared wanted for allegedly shooting at security personnel and then fleeing with his weapon.
Alhaji Marafa is a former chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in Kaduna State.
Addressing a press conference, the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Lt Col Abubakar Edun, on behalf of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj Gen Joseph Shoboiki, said the principal suspect was arrested after a search was conducted on his compound.
Narrating the circumstances of the arrest, Col Edun said Marafa’s activities, bordering on issues of national security, had attracted the attention of the Nigerian Army. Those activities, he said, specifically had to do with gun running and suspected association and support of a terrorist group. After intensive surveillance, troops from the Kaduna-based 1 Division, on the night of 13/14 January, were sent to search his compound, located at Trikania area, opposite IBBI, in Kaduna.
The army spokesman said: “Before troops could gain entrance into the house, there was a gunshot fired at soldiers from the compound. It was later revealed that the shot was fired allegedly by Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, the son of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa. Yusuf escaped with the weapon by scaling the fence of the compound”.
He further disclosed that when the troops finally gained entrance into compound, several weapons and other incriminating items were discovered.
The items found included, “nine number of 9 MM ammunition, five number of 6MM ammunition, 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, 11 number of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 17 barrel gun cartridges”.
“Others include one pump-action gun, two double-edged special axes, three machetes, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) bomb in a Mirinda bottle which, if ignited, can cause serious collateral damage to lives and property”.
“Also recovered were two metal bows, three long wooden clubs, one black army belt, one camouflage belt, two dog tags belonging to the Nigerian Army D2004/1/55/1899 S Adamu and US Army 84637857 Rambo RH and Nigerian Army camouflage trousers”.
“Other items recovered include two mobile phones, 10 pairs of vehicle number plates and three single vehicle number plates, one whistle, one passport of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa and his son, Mohammed Yusuf Nuhu, GSM SIM packs, among others”.
It was on the basis of these discoveries that Alhaji Marafa and one of his sons, Musa, were arrested. The Army spokesman added that Marafa’s other son, Yusuf, who shot at the troops during the search operation, “is hereby declared wanted”.
The Army appealed to law-abiding citizens to assist law enforcement agencies with information that could facilitate arrest of the wanted man. They said investigations were still ongoing and that the suspects will eventually be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
However, Alhaji Marafa’s lawyers who also addressed the press after he was paraded by the military, said their client was a law-abiding citizen. Barrister Sani Katu, who spoke on behalf of the three-man legal team said: “The gun was legally acquired alonside the bullets. The plate numbers are also his property”. Other residents said a lot more explanation may be needed, regarding the other items that were recovered from Alhaji Marafa’s residence.
On 3 January, protests against the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy, which raised the price of petrol by over 100 per cent overnight, spread through several cities of the country, claiming a first casualty in Ilorin, Kwara State.
In Lagos, the protesters were addressed by leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the labour union’s secretariat in Yaba. Thereafter, led by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and labour officials, they marched through some major streets, carrying unprintable placards against the Federal Government.
The protest disrupted traffic for several hours, especially along the multi-lane Ikorodu Road, a main drag into the metropolis. The march was however disrupted after policemen had tear-gassed protesters. Commercial drivers, fearing their vehicles would be damaged, withdrew their services from the streets, leaving commuters trekking to their destinations.
In Ilorin, protesters set up bonfires in several areas, including those around the Emir’s Palace, Oniyangi, the Taiwo Road -Niger Road junction, Alore, Sango, and the Oloje Ipata market. The spokesman of the Kwara State police command, Mr Ezekiel Daboh, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the protesters attacked two petrol filling stations around the Post Office area, destroyed their fuel pumps, and also damaged two vehicles they found inside the premises of the filling stations as well as a bullion van.
Daboh confirmed that a protester was killed around the railway station, but he said the wound on the man was not inflicted by a police bullet, and so he might have been stabbed by his colleagues. But the NLC insisted the protester was shot dead by the police, and said it was holding President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration responsible for the death. Some of the protesters were arrested by security agents.
In Lokoja, Kogi State, protesters blocked vehicular movements along the ever-busy Lokoja-Abuja highway, creating a massive traffic gridlock. The protests also disrupted economic activities in Lokoja town, as petrol stations, banks and even government offices remained closed all day. Some sources report that one protester was shot while several others suffered other injuries, as policemen battled to disperse them and re-open the highway.
In Kano State, students from universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the state marched peacefully through the city. They started from the gate of Bayero University, Kano, and ended up at the Silver Jubilee Square. Their leader, Comrade Mohammed Hamisu Sheriiffa, said they were protesting the increase in fuel prices as well as the month-long strike by university lecturers nationwide. Nine protesters were arrested by security agents, but later released.
In Kaduna State, mostly youthful protesters, under the umbrella civil society movement, Occupy Nigeria, converged at the Murtala Muhammed Square, where a register was opened for people to indicate their opposition to the government’s removal of fuel subsidy. Policemen, who barricaded the gate to the Square, barred the protesters from gaining access inside. The register was later made available at the gate, where an unknown number of protesters signed against the government’s policy.
In Ibadan, Oyo State, protesting youths led by the University of Ibadan students’ union president, Mr Tokunbo Salako, marched through the areas around Agodi, Agbowo, Gate, Dugbe and Challenge and the Governor’s Office. The march paralyzed businesses as banks and many other commercial houses remained shut. However security agencies, deployed to protect public assets and control motor traffic, were able to maintain peace, in spite of the generally chaotic situation.
The protesters demanded the immediate resignation of President Jonathan, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Information, Labaran Maku; and Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke. They also demanded that members of the National Assembly immediately call off their recess and reconvene to resist the increase in fuel price.
At the office of Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the students submitted a formal letter of protest. The Governor assured them of his understanding and urged them to press their demands peacefully. “What you are doing today is part of democracy”, he said. “Whatever message you have brought will be delivered accordingly”.
On 9 September, retired Group Captain Usman Jibrin, former military governor of the defunct North-Central State and later the old Kaduna State, died in his hometown Marmara in Nasarawa State.
His younger brother, Senator Walid Jibrin, told newsmen that the late Jibrin died in his sleep in the early hours of the day. Some family sources said he had been ill. He was aged 69 years.
Jibrin was born in 1942 in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. He attended Abuja Middle School and Government College, Kaduna, and started his working life with the radio and television station in Kaduna.
In 1963, he joined the Nigerian Air Force. Rising to the rank of Group Captain in 1975, he was appointed military governor of the then North-Central State by the then Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. After Kaduna State (then comprising the present Kaduna and Katsina states) was carved out of the North-Central State in February 1976, he was appointed its first military governor and continued in that office under General Olusegun Obasanjo, who became Head of State following the assassination of Mohamed. He retired from the military in 1978, amidst policy disagreements with Obasanjo.
Jibrin settled into retirement as a private businessman, but was also appointed to several boards, by successive federal governments. In the early 1980s, he was appointed a state Chairman of the Green Revolution Programme under the Shehu Shagari administration. He was later appointed to the chairmanships of the Nigerian Productivity Research Institute, Ilorin, Kwara State; Jos Steel Rolling Mill, Plateau State; and Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank. He was a member of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), under the Gen Sani Abacha administration, and also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Ahmadu Bello Foundation. In 2010, he was Chairman of Nasarawa Community Bank.
In his later years, Jibrin devoted himself mostly to Islamic activities. He was treasurer to the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (the umbrella Muslim organization in the country) and also a member of the board of directors of Jaiz International Bank, an Islamic financial institution.
News of his death drew tributes from several quarters. In Kaduna, a Government House statement said the State Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, received the news of Jibrin’s death with great shock. Yakowa described Jibrin as “a responsible elder statesman, who contributed immensely towards the development of Kaduna State in particular, the North and Nigeria in general,” adding that “his demise was a great loss to the north and the nation’’.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a pan-northern Nigerian political organization, said it was saddened by the news of Jibrin’s death. A statement by the ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Anthony Sani, observed that in his public life, Jibrin “demonstrated easy grace, public intelligence and patriotic courage in his unwavering pursuit of peaceful coexistence and prosperity of Nigerians and the North in particular”. It concluded that: “The best way to remember Group Captain Jibrin, therefore, is to live up what he stood for: common good”.
Jibrin’s remains were buried later in the day, at the cemetery in Marmara. He is survived by four wives, 22 children and several grandchildren.
On 26 August, an Islamic cleric, Malam Ja’afaru Ibrahim Tanimu, popularly known as Sarki Jafaru by his followers, was shot and killed by four gunmen in the Unguwar Jushi area of Zaria, the second largest city in Kaduna State.
Sources said the unidentified gunmen had apparently trailed the cleric and shot him at his residence at night, shortly after returning home from the mosque, where he performed the Tarawi prayers.
Narrating the incident, his younger brother, Muhammad Bello, said the four killers had come to the house at about 4pm and asked of Malam. They were told he was not in and they went away with a promise to come back later.
Bello said the killers came back in two Jeeps at about 8.30 pm, shortly after the breaking of Ramadan fast and evening prayers. They requested to see Malam who was sitting among other people in his compound. Acting as though they wanted to have a private chat with him, they took him to one corner not far away from the house.
According to Bello, the men suddenly asked him to hand over the keys of his Toyota Matrix car, which he gave them immediately. They asked him to leave, Bello said, “then the next thing we heard as he turned toward us was a gun shot from the killers and he fell down and died instantly”.
Neighbours and other residents say it may have been a robbery case, as the killers fled with the victims’s car. But his younger brother suggests otherwise. He said they could be hired killers, simply sent to kill.
The spokesman of the Police Command in Kaduna State, DSP Aminu Lawan, told newsmen that investigation was underway; but he said the incident was being treated as a robbery case, since the killers had fled with the late Malam’s car.
Local sources said about 10 gunmen attacked the residence of the District Head, Mr. Andrew Kazah Allahmagani, around 12.30am, killing a security guard.
They then moved to the house of the district head’s late brother where they shot and killed a five-year-old boy. They also injured a 65-year-old grandmother and two young men. The sources said the injured persons were later taken to Zonkwa Medical Centre for treatment.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Aminu Lawan confirmed the attack and the number of casualties to some newsmen, but he said it was a case of culpable homicide. DSP Lawan said the police had commenced investigations and had already arrested one person while still searching for some other suspects.
On 11 August, Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State advocated that policemen should undergo psychological and psychiatric checks every six months, as a means to curtailing the incidence of extra-judicial killings by the police.
Opening a workshop on Police Abuses in Nigeria, jointly organised by Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the National Committee on Torture (NCoT), Yakowa said it was unfortunate that innocent citizens were sometimes killed by those who were paid to protect and defend them.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Jonathan Adamu Kish, argued that there was a need to re-orientate the police on how to handle crime situations, so that they do not end up as murderers.
He said that: “The orientation should involve experts in psychology, psychiatry, sociology and other human behavioural sciences. I can go further to suggest that every policeman should be subjected to psychological and psychiatric test every six months”.
He urged police authorities to take a cue from President Goodluck Jonathan’s policy of adhering to the rule of law and respecting due process.
On 9 August, the Kaduna State governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, donated six Hilux operational patrol vehicles, equipped with modern communication gadgets, to the Kaduna State Police Command.
Handing the vehicles to the police at the command headquarters in Kaduna, Governor Yakowa said they were meant to boost the mobility of the police in their operations in the state.
The governor, represented by his Special Assistant on Security, Mr Gideon Dogara Mamman, further said his government had also approved funds for complete overhaul of police vehicles damaged during the presidential election and in post-election violence in the state. He assured the police of his government’s continued support in protecting lives and property.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ballah Magaji Nassarawa, expressed appreciation to the governor and said the vehicles would be distributed to the three area commands in the state, to strengthen their operational capabilities.
On 31 July, a retired Army officer, Colonel Francis Aba Ogbeyi, and his younger wife, Stella, were both murdered by unknown persons at their home in the Sabon-Tasha area of Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.
Ogbeyi, who had been in private legal practice since leaving the Army, was reportedly shot in the face, while his wife was said to have been cut with a machete.
The circumstances in which they were killed are not clear. Colonel Ogbeyi’s senior wife was away to a Sunday morning church service when the incident happened. No one seemed to have noticed when the killers came in, struck and left.
Reports said the attention of other family members living in separate apartments, was drawn to the main apartment where Ogbeyi and Stella lived, only when the smell of burning food started coming from the apartment. Thinking someone must have left a pot on the cooker unattended for too long, one of the Colonel’s sons went over to alert whoever was cooking, to take the pot off the fire.
On getting to the apartment, he found the door firmly locked. After repeated knocks brought no response, he climbed into the two-bedroom flat. He found his father and wife had been gruesomely killed, and he raised alarm.
Policemen from the Sabon-Tasha Divisional Police Station later took the corpses to the mortuary at St. Gerald Hospital. Reports say the assailants apparently took away a laptop and three mobile phones belonging to the victims, as well as the key to their house.
Police authorities confirmed the incident and said they had commenced investigations. They said only the investigations will determine whether the killing was an assassination, an armed robbery or both.
[THIS REPORT MAY BE UPDATED LATER TODAY].
Akhwat Akwop, which recently distributed leaflets in the capitals of some northern states, identifies itself as a Christian counter-force against what it called Hausa/Fulani domination and Islamist violence across the central or Middle Belt states of the country.
In a terse statement titled “Past Time of Governors” and posted on its own website on 27 July, Boko Haram alleged that the three governors behind the group were Jonah Jang of Plateau State, Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State. It said: “We know the sponsors of Akhwat Akwop and are ready for them”.
Some analysts think the allegation should be discountenanced. For one, they said Boko Haram’s statement offered no details or explanations, whatsoever, of what any of the named governors had done in support of the group or in furtherance of its stated goals. Some have also pointed out that while Governors Jang and Yakowa are Christians, Nyako is a Muslim; they said it was therefore improbable that Nyako and the other two governors could ever have found a commom political or religious interest.
The most recent statement by the group also said: “Look at what your governors and their wives use their past-time to engage with, instead of serving the masses— planting flowers”.
A few pictures published under that statement were apparently intended to show how the named governors and their wives were dwelling on low priority issues instead of concentrating their energies on ensuring human welfare and development. However, the pictures show only flowers, with no images of the governors or their wives planting them.
On 25 July, five people were killed while eight others were seriously injured in an accident involving an 18-seater commercial bus and a trailer on the River Kaduna bridge, in Kaduna State.
Local sources said the commercial bus marked AE 262 DKA, was coming from Central Market and heading to Unguwar Romi in the southern part of the state. With 13 persons on board including the driver, the bus ran into the trailer which had broken down on the fast lane of the bridge, at around 9.30 pm. Witnesses say the bus was crushed under the trailer, killing four of the occupants instantly, while one more died later.
Personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reportedly swung into action immediately they were informed of the accident, rescuing survivors from the wreckage and rushing them to Saint Gerard Hospital in Kauri. They also took the corpses of the dead to the same hospital.
The Sector Commander of the FRSC’s Kaduna Sector Command, Mr. Harrison Pepple, blamed the accident on over-speeding by the bus driver. He said: “The driver was over-speeding and that was why he rammed into the trailer. There is urgent need for attitudinal change among road users in the country to avoid accidents”. Pepple added that: “Whenever a vehicle breaks down, the driver must report to us or police in order to evacuate it”.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Superintendent Route Commander Yunusa Ibrahim, added that the bus driver was not only on high speed, but may also have been under high influence of either drugs or alcohol, for him not to have seen the stationary trailer on the speed lane.
However, other sources further report that the bus was probably not roadworthy in the first place. They said it had failed to start on its own at the Central Market, until passengers pushed it to life. It also reportedly had no headlight, making it impossible for the driver to see into the darkness ahead, and thus avoid the broken-down trailer.