On 2 September, Elder Tes Sorae, Chief Executive of Tomline Industries Nigeria Limited, who was abducted in a bloody encounter last Sunday was freed unhurt in Benin City, after spending five nights in the custody of his captors.
His son, Noguese, who confirmed the release of his father to newsmen said he regained his freedom in the early hours of Friday. The Police Public Relations Officer in Edo State, ASP Peter Ogboi, also confirmed Elder Sorae’s release, saying efforts were still being intensified to apprehend the kidnappers.
Sorae, who is also a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, was attacked and kidnapped on 28 August, on arriving home from a church service. His wife (Deaconess Bridget Sorae), two orderlies and a driver were killed during the attack, while his daughter was shot and wounded critically. Three days later, on 31 August, the kidnappers contacted his family and demanded the sum of N100million as ransom. It is not known whether any amount was paid to the kidnappers before they released him.
Receiving the Edo Deputy Governor, Dr Pius Odubu, who came to console him over the killing of his wife, orderlies and driver, Sorae thanked God for saving his life. He appealed to governments at all levels to create jobs for the nation’s youths in order to reduce the level of crime in the country. Showing great spirit in spite of his harrowing experience, he indicated that he would personally be setting up a job creation foundation for the youth.
Sorae said: “We should do everything possible to create job opportunities to our graduates. The only way we can stop this crime problem, kidnapping, is to give jobs to youths. When that is done, 90 per cent of our problem is solved. In my own capacity, I will make sacrifice by setting up a job creation foundation, because when only one man is rich and others around him are hungry, there will be no peace in the society”.
On 31 August, the gunmen who kidnapped Elder Tes Sorae, Chairman/Managing Director of Tomline Industrial Company Limited and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benin City, Edo State, contacted his family and demanded N100 million (about 667,000 USD) as ransom for his release.
Reports say Elder Sorae’s abductors allowed him to speak with his family when they called. This must have brought some relief to the family, following the rumours which spread through the city the previous day, that he may have died at the hands of his captors.
Reports citing unnamed family sources said the family and friends were making frantic efforts to secure his release.
It will be recalled that Elder Sorae was abducted in front of his residence last Sunday morning, as he arrived home from a church service. The armed men who came to seize him shot and killed his wife, Bridget Sorae, his driver and the two police orderlies attached to him to protect him. They also shot and wounded his daughter, who has since been in a critical condition at a hospital. Many residents have described the kidnap incident as the most heinous ever experienced in the Edo State capital.
On 29 August, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. David Omojola, told newsmen in Benin City, that no effort will be spared towards tracking down the kidnappers.
On 28 August, two heavily armed men, suspected to be kidnappers, abducted the Chairman/Managing Director of Tomline Industrial Company Limited, Elder Tes Sorae, popularly known as ‘Tomline Engineering’, in Benin City, Edo State
In the process of seizuring him, the gunmen shot and killed his wife (Mama Ufumwen), his driver and two mobile (anti-riot) policemen. The gunmen are also reported to have shot Elder Soare’s daughter and a female friend of his family.
There are two accounts of the circumstances leading up to the attack. One reports that the armed men had laid siege at Elder Sorae’s Textile Mill residence, while he and his family were away to church. Another said the gunmen, who operated with a Toyota car, trailed their target from Wire Road where he had attended Sunday church service.
As the Elder and his family arrived from church in their black Toyota Jeep and were awaiting the gateman to open the gate and let them in, the gunmen opened fire. After they had killed his wife, driver and orderlies, the gunmen then dragged Elder Sorae away to their own operational vehicle, shooting indiscriminately as they fled.
Sorae’s wounded daughter was rushed to hospital and is reportedly still in a critical condition.
Family sources said some police police officers had visited the house and commenced investigations, but there had been no formal statement. The abductors had also not made any contact with the family.
Sorae is also a leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Sources said gunmen invaded her residence on Ondo road in the Old Bodija area of the city, overpowered the securitymen at the compound, before they got into the house and killed her. The gunmen made away with her car.
The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Moses Oniteri, who confirmed the assassination to some newsmen, said the command was investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing. He said it was “a case of murder”.
Justice Oyetunde was appointed acting Chief Judge by former Governor Rasheed Ladoja in 2005, to succeed Justice Isaac Olukanmi. She served for three months, but her appointment was not renewed thereafter.
Soremi was attacked in Olodo village in Ogun State, along the Abeokuta/Ibadan road, on his way to Ibadan, around 8.30 pm. The gunmen shot and killed his driver, Mr Kunle Onigbinde.
The driver was said to have been shot while trying to make a quick U-turn and escape, after the gunmen had blocked him and his boss. The attackers made away with the vehicle – a Lexus SUV – as well as Soremi’s cell phones, cash and other valuables.
The Acting Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr. Semiu Sodipo, said the attack was a case of armed robbery and ruled out any political motives.
However, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Nicholas Nkemdeme, said the police was still investigating the incident. He said he could not yet say categorically, whether the attack had political undertones or not.
Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed was born in Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State on 9 October 1945.
He started his primary education in Birnin Kebbi. For his secondary school, he attended the famous Government College (now Barewa College), Zaria. In 1966, he proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), also in Zaria, where he studied veterinary medicine. He is a Fellow of the College of Veterinary Surgeons of Nigeria (FCVSN).
Mohammed started work as a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, but he was soon summoned to responsibilities beyond the ivory tower. In 1977, he was appointed Commissioner for Agriculture under the military government in the then Sokoto State (the state was later split into Sokoto and Kebbi States in 1995). He was subsequently redeployed as Commissioner for Education under the same government.
In 1979, when the military was first stepping back to barracks, Mohammed joined the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP), contested Deputy Governor of the old Sokoto State, but his party lost to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Thereafter, he remained the GNPP’s Secretary for Sokoto State until 1983 when the army again ousted the civilian government.
As the military government had also banned party politics, Mohammed turned to the private sector, becoming the Managing Director of Alpha & Beta Merchants Ltd, a general merchandise company. From there, he moved on to the post of Assistant General Manager, and later General Manager, of the Rima River Basin and Rural Development Authority, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
In 1988, he was appointed, by the then military President, Gen Ibrahim Babangida, to head the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as its Comptroller General. He held that post until 1994, when Gen Sani Abacha as head of state, appointed a Military Sole Administrator (Brig Gen S. O. Ango) to run the Customs Service.
During Gen Abacha’s ill-fated transition programme from 1995 to 1998, Mohammed was a founding member of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN). After Abacha’s death and the disolution of the DPN and other parties, he then became a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), having participated in the landmark meeting at which it was decided that the political association then known as G-38, should transform into a broad-based political party. He was in fact one of the four ‘conveners’ selected to form the PDP in Kebbi State in 1998.
After the PDP’S victory in the 1999 elections, President Olusegun Obasanjo in September of that year, appointed Mohammed as a Commissioner on the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), an agency which monitors accruals into, and disbursements of revenues from, the Federation Account, and also reviews the country’s revenue allocation formula periodically, in order to ensure conformity with changing realities. He was one of 37 commissioners representing each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory on the Commission. Less than two years later, in June 2001, Obasanjo appointed him as Minister of Communications, a post he held till May 2003.
Soon after he left the cabinet, Mohammed again returned to the party bureaucracy. In June 2004, he was elected National Vice Chairman of the PDP for the North West Zone comprising the seven states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa and Zamfara.
In March 2008, he was elevated to the office of Deputy National Chairman of the party. In January 2011, he emerged as the PDP’s seventh National Chairman. Meanwhile, he was also the chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), a 20-member body which oversees and supervises the activities of the Corporation and also approves the award of contracts up to certain limits.
Dr Mohammed is married and has six children.
On 27 June, four workers of a telecommunication company were kidnapped by unknown armed men in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The kidnapped men, working with a telecommunications support company, JMG Limited, comprise of an engineer and three others. The armed men pounced on them while they were working at the base station of a GSM service provider and took them to an unknown destination.
Shortly after the kidnappers took them away, they also seized their phones and then used them to contact members of their captives’ families. Oladele Adesokan, who is a brother of one of the victims, said the kidnappers were demanding N25 million as ransom from each of their hostages.
A message sent to him through his abducted brother’s phone said: “l and other victims are being kept at one of the camps of the kidnappers”. Adesokan said the kidnappers had seized the phones of the victims, but still left the phones on, allowing the captives to receive in-coming phone calls.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer for Ondo State, Mr. Adeniran Aremu, told inquiring newsmen that the police had not yet received any report of the case. Aremu said the relations of the victims should have reported to the police at Ore promptly, instead of trying to negotiate with the kidnappers.
This kidnap comes barely two weeks after Mrs. Mariam Oke, 82-year-old mother of the National Legal Adiviser of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, was kidnapped at nearby Igbokoda. Prior to that, the mother of the prominent businessman Jimoh Ibrahim, had also been kidnapped in Igbokoda.
However, ex-militant leaders in the area who held a meeting on the issue recently, had condemned kidnapping in the state, and called on the state government to set up a task force to curb it.
On 23 June, Madam Mariam Oke, 83-year-old mother of the National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, was released by her abductors.
Madam Oke was kidnapped by five gunmen at her son’s country home in Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State on 13 June. She was released in a riverine community near Warri, in Delta State, after 11 days in captivity. The kidnappers reportedly phoned members of her family to pick her up, after they had dropped her at a jetty.
There had been no confirmation of the woman’s release from police authorities in Delta State. But Chief Oke himself told some newsmen that he was happy that his mother had been released.
The kidnappers had reportedly demanded N130 million ransom before the release of the aged woman, but Chief Oke has offered no indication as to whether any part of that demand was met before she regained her freedom.
On 17 August 1988, about 140 people died, 200,000 were displaced, 18,000 houses were destroyed and 14,000 farms were ruined when the Bagauda Dam in Kano State, collapsed, following a flash flood. Damage to houses and infrastructure was put at N650 million.
Eight children died and 250 villages in 15 local government areas were submerged as a result of increased water on Siroro Dam in Niger State.
About 200 people died and tens of thousands were rendered homeless as a result of vast floods in Jigawa and Kano States. The Nigerian Red Cross reported 180 dead, 800 injured and 35,500 displaced in Jigawa, with 28 dead and 48,500 displaced in Kano.
On 30 September, about 1,000 families were forced out of their submerged homes in Zamfara State, after torrential rain had brought the water level behind a dam past critical level, forcing it to burst.
August – September 2010
Scores of people were killed and thousands displaced by floods that overran villages in about six states – Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi – after unusually heavy rains had swollen rivers and streams.
In Sokoto State, about 50 villages were submerged, 2,000 houses destroyed and more than 100,000 people were displaced across 11 local government areas, after heavy rains led to a dam failure on the Rima River, close to Goronyo town. Vast amounts of farm produce and farmlands were also washed away.
In Katsina State, hundreds of houses were destroyed, with over 1700 persons displaced in Dutsema Local Government Area alone. An executive member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Surajo Audu, drowned while trying to cross a river to his village, Gwanamarde.
In Kano State, 3,000 people were displaced by floods, with Shanono and Gadasawa local government areas worst affected.
In Jigawa State, about 25 villages were submerged, 7,000 people displaced and 3,000 hectares of crops washed away, after a river burst its banks following torrential rainfall.
In Zamfara State, over 2000 acres of farmland were washed away in Gummi Local Government Area.
In Kano and Jigawa States, more than 2 million people were displaced after flood gates on two dams – the Challawa and Tiga – located in Kano, were opened to release rising waters along the Niger River. The flooding also left 97 hectares (about 240 acres) of farmland water-logged and caused other damages estimated at 4.5 billion naira ($29 million). Umar Kyari, director of press affairs in the government of neighbouring Jigawa State, blamed the flooding on “poor management” of the dams.
On 21 June, at least six children were killed while many other persons were injured after several hours of torrential rainfall led to the collapse of about 27 houses in the Fagge area of Kano, capital of Kano State. About 300 people were rendered homeless.
(COMPILED BY SAFER NIGERIA INFORMATION RESOURCES)
On 20 June, a one-year-old baby girl, Dada Akingboye, was seized from her home by unknown men and found dead the next morning, in Igbokoda, headquarters of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Narating the incident, the girl’s father, Mr. Akin Akingboye, said the men stormed their house at Omotehinse Street in Igbokoda around 11pm that (Monday) night, grabbed the baby and escaped into the night, heading to an unknown destination.
He said: “We were preparing to sleep when unidentified people invaded our house and took away our baby. The following morning, we discovered her corpse near the bush without her eyes”. Some residents believe the poor girl must have been used for ritual purposes.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ondo State, Mr. Adeniran Aremu, who confirmed the incident to newsmen, said the corpse of the unfortunate child had been deposited at Ayemafuge Private Hospital in Igbokoda.
He also said the command had arrested three suspects in connection with the crime, and that the State Police Command had directed its officers to intensify the search for criminals in the state, in order to ensure safety of residents.
Igbokoda is the hometown of prominent businessman, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, and National Legal Adviser of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, whose aged mothers were both kidnapped recently. Ibrahim’s mother was later released in Sapele, Delta State. Oke’s mother was yet to regain her freedom as at 21 June.