On 15 February, the State Security Service (SSS) declared an ex-soldier, Habibu Bama, wanted.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said Bama is “wanted by the Federal Government in connection with crimes against the state”. The terse statement, which did not give further details, said that the wanted ex-soldier is a Kanuri, from Bama in Borno State.
The SSS said that Bama was known by other names such as ‘Habib Bama’, ‘Shuaibu Bama’, and ‘Habib Mamman’.
It implored members of the public with any information that could lead to his arrest to immediately contact the nearest police station, military formations or other security agencies.
On 1 September, unknown gunmen kidnapped a traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, King Godwin Igodo, the Ebeni Ibe of Atissa Kingdom, in Obogoro, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. The royal father is a First Class Ruler in the Traditional Rulers Council in the state.
According to local residents, a group of armed men came in a speedboat to Obogoro, a riverside settlement near the state capital, Yenagoa. Around 9.45pm, they got to King Igodo’s residence. The sources said the royal father, well into his seventies, had retired for the night, but the armed men woke him up forcefully and dragged him out. They marched him to their waiting boat at the waterfront and sped off into the creeks.
At the time of this report almost 24 hours later, the kidnappers had not established contact with the King’s family, but the state police command had dispatched a team of investigators to the areas around the community. The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Eguavoen Emokpae, told newsmen that the police was making frantic efforts to ensure the release of the monarch.
This is the second time a First Class monarch from Bayelsa State is being kidnapped in the last three months. On 26 June, King Oweipa Jones-Ere, the Ebenanaowei of Ogboin Kingdom, was kidnapped at a dredging site in Emohua LGA of Rivers State. The kidnappers demanded N25 million ransom. He was freed seven days later but it was not known whether any ransom was paid.
On 24 August, students of Lagos State University (LASU) who were protesting the death of one of their colleagues in a motor accident, clashed with policemen on the multiple-lane Ikorodu Road in Lagos, leading to the death of a second student.
Reports said trouble started when a vehicle killed a student at LASU’s satellite campus in the Anthony Area of Ikorodu Road.
Protesting the death of their colleague, many students trooped out and barricaded the ever-busy road, causing a massive traffic hold-up. The city’s ubiquitous hoodlums soon joined the chaos. As motorists struggled to escape the hold-up, the students and hoodlums attacked them, wounding some of the fleeing drivers and damaging their vehicles.
Alerted of the degenerating situation, the police quickly drafted its men to the area to stop further violence and restore order. Those policemen walked into a chaotic environment, and soon clashed with the students and hoodlums.
The Police Public Relations Officer for Lagos State, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, told some newsmen that the only student who died was the one killed in the accident that sparked the trouble. But some other sources said another young man, believed to be a student, was also killed in the clash, with several others wounded.
Jinadu however said the situation had since been brought under control.
On 22 August, Mr Michael Obi, father of Nigerian soccer star and Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi, was found alive in Kano, the largest commercial city in northern Nigeria and about 235 km from Jos, capital of Plateau State, where he was kidnapped 11 days earlier.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr Olusola Amore, reports that police detectives had traced the kidnappers to Kano. He said the police raided the area where Obi was held, freed him and arrested a number of his captors. Amore said the police would disclose further details of the rescue operation soon.
Mr Obi, a Jos-based transporter, was last seen on 12 August, when he left his office at close of work but never made it home. On 17 August, his car was found at a spot in Jos, where it had been abandoned. There had been conflicting reports from members of his family and from the soccer star’s representatives – Sport Entertainment & Media Group (SEM) – over contacts with the abductors and demands for ransom.
After his release, the elderly Obi said he was “very stressed”. Sources in Kano said there were apparently no indications of major physical injury to his body, but the BBC’s Yusuf Ibrahim Yakasai said his face showed signs of the beatings he had endured through his days in captivity.
Police Public Relations Officer for Bauchi State, ASP Mohammed Barau, said a team of soldiers and policemen was on patrol in the city when their van ran into an ambush in a populated area around 10.30pm.
He said as the police returned fire, the attackers fled, seeing that they could not engage the security operatives in a gun duel. “Our policeman was shot on the leg and a civilian was injured, and both of them were taken to the hospital”, Barau said.
The PPRO said no arrest was made, but that security had been firmed up, especially through surveillance as well as stop-and-search operations. He appealed to the public to help security agencies with useful information that could lead to arresting the criminals.
Local sources said Ekpo was kidnapped while away to his usual Saturday morning keep-fit exercise; but beyond that, there are conflicting accounts of where and how he was abducted.
One account said Ekpo was kidnapped by five unknown gunmen who disrupted a football tournament in which he was participating, and took him away.
Another account said the abductors accosted Ekpo’s moving vehicle, shooting in the air to force the car to halt, before they seized him. In both accounts, the sources said the gunmen killed his police orderly, apparently when he attempted to stop them from abducting his boss.
Family sources said the kidnappers later called and demanded a ransom of N300 million (about 2 million USD). A family member said the amount was “shocking”.
The Public Relations Officer of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, ASP Onyeka Orji, confirmed the incident to newsmen, including the fact that Ekpo’s police orderly was killed. He said the police were making all efforts to free the local government chairman and apprehend the kidnappers.
Akwa Ibom State has witnessed an unfair incidence of kidnaps over the last two years. In one of the most recent instances, on 17 July, Obonganwan Imo Isemin, 76, widow of a former governor of the state (late Obong Akpan Isemin), was abducted on her way to church on a Sunday morning. The police found her hours later, tied up and blind-folded, and rescued her.
Just a day before Ekpo was abducted, there were reports that the Councillor representing Ikot Ekpene Ward 7, Mr. Gabriel Itiaba, had been seized by gunmen in Ikot Ekpene town. It is not yet known whether there was any connection between that incident and Ekpo’s abduction the next morning.
On 20 July, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Amisu Arogunrerin, was shot dead in an ambush laid by armed robbers at the Emure-Ile junction along Ekoro Road in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Local sources say the officer, popularly called ‘Abioye e’ and attached to the Emure-Ile police station, was leading a patrol team towards the scene of a robbery incident in Owo town, following a distress call he had received from members of the public. The robbers, apparently reckoning that a police team was coming from the Owo Area Command, laid ambush for the team. Well before getting to the area from which the distress call had come, ASP Arogunrerin and his team suddenly ran into the robbers’ ambush and intense gunfire.
The ASP, reportedly shot in his neck, died on the spot, before any medical help could get to him. Others on the team, who sustained injures, were rushed to hospital in Akure, the state capital.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Police Command, Mr Adeniran Aremu, confirmed the incident to newsmen, describing it as sad, but also confirming that investigations were underway. The slain ASP, survived by an aged mother, wife and children, has reportedly been buried in his home town, Auga Akoko.
On 15 July, 20 young men who had allegedly forced some female university students in their captivity to perform lesbian acts, which they then recorded for possible public distribution or blackmail, were paraded at the headquarters of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, in Enugu, Enugu State.
The arrested men are suspected to be members of violent student cults at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in Enugu; their unfortunate female victims are also believed to be students of the same institution.
How the suspected cultists were arrested
Briefing newsmen on the arrests and the case, the Assistant Director of Public Relations of the 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Lt Col Sagir Musa, said on 4 July, sporadic gunshots at ESUT drew the attention of a military patrol team, which moved to the institution and arrested one Franklin Anikwe, who was found with 5 rounds of ammunition.
Sagir said following that arrest, the General Officer Commanding the Division, Maj Gen Sarkin Yakin Bello, directed that the arrested Anikwe and the entire shooting incident be thoroughly investigated. He said preliminary investigations by the Division’s intelligence group led to the arrest of 19 other members of various student cult groups, in their hideouts in the Agbani area of the city, between 8 and 12 July. The raids also yielded 4 locally-made pistols, 10 AA cartridges and 10 telephone handsets, which the suspected cultists could not account for.
How the video of forced lesbian acts was uncovered
Col Sagir said it was during the raid that security personnel stumbled on the video recording of scenes, in which some female students were performing illicit lesbian sex. He said the tape showed that the poor girls were in captivity and had been forced, brutally, to perform the acts. He described the discovery as “nasty’ and “terrible”, saying the arrested cultists, who may also have been kidnappers, would be turned over to police for further investigation and prosecution.
[See also on this website: INSIGHT: Forced lesbian sex on campus: A new crime in schools already endangered].
On 7 July, unknown gunmen shot and killed two mobile (anti-riot) police officers and made away with a large amount of money, possibly millions of naira, along Wellington Bassey Street in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.
The police officers were in a bullion van conveying a large sum of money, coming from a bank and headed in the direction of the Government House. The money was believed to have been meant for paying commercial motorcycle service operators who were recently outlawed by the state government. Under an arrangement announced by the government, each operator is required to hand in his motorcycle to the government and collect the sum of N50,000 in exchange.
Local sources said in the incident which occurred around 1.30pm, the assailants had trailed the officers until they caught up with them at a point near the Government House, also about 40 metres away from the Police Area ‘A’ Command. The gunmen, variously reported to have come in a Toyota saloon car or a motorcycle, suddenly pulled up beside the police van, shot the two policemen at close range, and then snatched a large amount of money from the van.
There has been no official statement from the police, but the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Onyekachi Orji, told newsmen he would make details available as soon as preliminary investigations are concluded.
The murder of the police officers heightens the sense of insecurity in the city, particularly following other recent killings and kidnappings. Only recently, the daughter of a senior official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was kidnapped and held captive for several days. Barely seven days ago, a senior government official, Mr Bassey Udoema, was assassinated in the city.
On 5 July, a group of armed men, suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, invaded a Divisional Police Station in Toro, about 120 kilometres west of Bauchi city, capital of Bauchi State. No one was killed or injured, but the attackers made away with an unknown number of police guns and ammunition.
The men, whose number could not be estimated, stormed the station at about 8pm, shooting as they approached the building. By the time they got inside, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is great), they found it empty as the few policemen on duty, out-numbered and out-gunned, had fled. The attackers ransacked the station, taking away some guns and ammunition, and also freeing the lone detainee in the cell, arrested two days earlier.
A police statement on 6 July did not say how many guns the invaders seized from the station. The Public Relations Officer of the Police in Bauchi State, Mr Mohammed Barau, told the news agency, AFP, that: “Weapons were taken during the attack. We are working on an inventory, so we don’t have details”. Barau also said police suspect the attackers were members of Boko Haram.
The attack came barely 12 hours after the police killed three suspected members of the sect, in a gun duel at Jahun ward of Bauchi. Most local residents think the attack on Toro police station may have been a revenge mission.