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Year of tears and sorrows – The Sun Nigeria

Year of tears and sorrows – The Sun Nigeria

Christopher Oji

The yr 2018 might aptly be described as a yr of tears and sorrows. It stays probably the most difficult yr in Nigeria’s historical past, notably within the space of safety. The degree of insecurity was so alarming, such that terrorism, armed theft, kidnapping and herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, amongst others, turned half of the system.

On the political scene, it appeared as if the police drew a battle line with lawmakers with the likes of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Professor Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Hamman Misau coming beneath police ‘heat.’

On April 5, armed robbers attacked some banks in Offa, Kwara State. The incident led to the dying of over 30 individuals, together with a pregnant lady, in addition to 9 policemen. The killing shocked the nation and police launched a high-powered investigation. Preliminary investigative stories by the police turned controversial following allegations that the mastermind of the theft operation had was linked to the Senate President, Saraki, former governor of Kwara State.

From the alleged confessional assertion of the suspects, Saraki or somebody near him, was the spine of the theft gang. That led to a courtroom in Abuja summoning Saraki to seem earlier than it to elucidate what he knew concerning the suspects, who have been linked to the Offa theft.

Justice Abdullahi Garuba Ogbede of the Grade 1 Space Courtroom, ACO Property, Lugbe, FCT, Abuja, issued a legal summons and ordered its service on Saraki, following a legal grievance towards him by an Abuja-based lawyer and rights activist, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, appearing beneath Part 89(5) of the Administration of Legal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

When the case was referred to as, the complainant’s lawyer, E.S. Marcus, informed the courtroom that the defendant was absent in courtroom, regardless of efforts made by an official of the courtroom to serve him with summons issued on July 31.

Following Marcus’s grievance, Justice Ogbede invited the courtroom’s official, Abdullahi Umar Kutigi, who knowledgeable the courtroom that he was prevented by safety personnel on the Nationwide Meeting from serving the defendant when he visited the place. The decide stated, since there was no proof that the defendant had been correctly served, it was troublesome for the courtroom to take any additional step on the case. Consequently, the matter was adjourned to September 10 for point out.

Ojaomo’s rivalry, within the grievance marked CR/196/2018, was that Saraki’s alleged refusal to honour an invite purportedly despatched to him by the police, in relation to the Offa theft investigation, amounted to “obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility.”

For Senator Melaye, he was arrested for alleged homicide, amongst different costs. Melaye was alleged to have been concerned in a homicide case and provision of help for felony parts in his residence state of Kogi, consequently of which he was declared needed. He was picked up on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Worldwide Airport, Abuja.

“I have just been arrested at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on my way to Morocco for an official engagement, sponsored by the Federal Government after checking in,” Melaye stated on his official Twitter deal with.

He stated he was informed that the police had positioned him on its ‘no-fly’ listing and that he was, subsequently, barred from travelling out of the airport. The senator had equally informed the press that he escaped from kidnappers, whom he suspected have been policemen in mufti, and bumped into the bush, the place he hid on tree branches for over 10 hours.

On the airport, Melaye stated he “snatched back” his passport from the official who confiscated it and made to proceed to board his flight: “But I was then circled by police officers trying to hold me and saying I am on Interpol’s wanted list. We have called Interpol and they said it is a lie. Someone has also mentioned to me that my name was placed at the airport by a police commissioner. So, here we are; a standoff at a public place at our international airport. We are here,” he stated.

The spokesperson of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Sunday James, stated the senator was with immigration officers on the airport however couldn’t instantly affirm whether or not it was based mostly on a request by the police.

Melaye had on March 1, 2018, held himself up at a federal courtroom in Abuja because the anti-robbery squad of the police made to arrest him. The stand-off got here hours after the senator secured bail on perjury expenses. He was arraigned on allegations that he offered false info to the police in an try and indict a senior official of the Kogi State authorities. He was granted N100,000 bail.

Nevertheless, he stayed again contained in the courtroom to keep away from arrest. Statutorily, a suspect who has been granted bail by a courtroom and met the circumstances can’t be arrested inside the courtroom premises by safety personnel. The police group later left the courtroom that night time after Melaye escaped by means of a again channel. The police have since then craved for a chance to take the senator in.

As a climax to months of hide-and-seek and courtroom maneuvers between Melaye and the police, the yr ended on a tense notice for the senator. On December 30, the police once more requested Melaye to give up himself for arrest and investigation for tried culpable murder. Police authorities adopted the directive with a declaration that Melaye can be arrested to face the regulation. His home was surrounded by police to make sure he didn’t get away. The police said that the operatives deployed to his home with an arrest warrant wouldn’t depart his Abuja residence till they apprehended him.

The police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, stated in a press release on Monday, January 1, that Melaye had repeatedly spurned invites asking him to report for an investigation into the alleged capturing of Sgt. Danjuma Saliu, hooked up to 37 Police Cellular Drive, whereas on stop-and-search obligation alongside Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Street, in Kogi State. He alleged that Melaye and his “armed thugs” shot and injured Saliu, who’s now on admission on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

On the terrorism entrance, the counter-terrorism conflict within the North-East made many positive aspects however suffered heavy setbacks within the final weeks of 2018, with the resurgence of Boko Haram assaults via full-frontal struggle with troops. It began within the Lake Chad area and later unfold to different areas, with probably the most pronounced being the assault on Metele village in Guzamala Native Authorities Space of Borno State, the place the Nigerian Military confirmed that some troopers have been killed when the terrorists attacked troops stationed at a army base within the space.

Unofficial studies put the casualty determine on the half of the military at 118 troopers, whereas an nameless supply within the Nigerian Military stated that 153 others have been but to be accounted for. In line with a police supply, many troopers who have been wounded in the course of the assault have additionally been evacuated to Borno for remedy.

Based on the Nigerian Military, such studies of large-scale losses within the assault have been unfounded. The military insisted that the quantity of casualties being bandied in most mass media was false: “It is important for the public to note that the Nigerian Army has laid-down procedures for reporting incidents that involve its personnel who fall casualty in action. Out of respect for the families of our gallant troops, the NOKs (next of kin) are first notified before any form of public information, so as to avoid exacerbating the grief family members would bear were they to discover such from unofficial sources,” a press release from the Military stated.

On September three, in Zari space of northern Borno State, the demise toll from a Boko Haram assault on a Nigerian Military submit on the border with Niger Republic was put at 48. Army sources advised our reporter that scores of Boko Haram fighters stormed the publish in vans and briefly seized it after a fierce battle.

On December four, in Buni Gari, Yobe State, Boko Haram attacked troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.

“Six soldiers were brought in on Sunday. We have another two soldiers that were brought in yesterday from the attack, making a total of eight soldiers,” a hospital supply stated.

On December 5, the Nigerian Military confirmed that eight troopers have been killed in a Boko Haram assault. The Military stated eight troopers have been confirmed lifeless in an assault on a army base believed to have been carried out by the self-styled Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram. Army sources initially stated two troopers and six terrorists have been killed, however later informed AFP the determine had risen to eight.

On November 24, Boko Haram kidnapped 15 women from a village close to Toumour in Niger’s south-eastern area. In line with a army supply, the incident was confirmed by the mayor of the city, Boukar Mani Orthe, who stated: “About 50 unidentified armed men seized the girls in a village about nine kilometres away from the town centre.”

On Might 1, two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at a mosque and a market within the city of Mubi, Adamawa State, killing at the very least 86 individuals and injuring 58 others. The blasts have been carried out by younger boys. Though no group claimed duty for the assault, it was attributed to the Boko Haram extremist group.

In response to a United Nations report, 43 youngsters have been utilized by Boko Haram terrorists as bombers between January and June 2018. The United Nations Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) condemned the continual use of youngsters for suicide bombings by Boko Haram terrorists.

Nevertheless, the story continues to be the identical within the south. On December 18, the Lagos State Police Command shocked Nigerians with the invention of a pretend wine manufacturing unit in Ikorodu space of the state.

One other unlawful brewery was uncovered in an uncompleted one-storey constructing in Aboru, Oke-Odo, the place pretend wine and assorted drinks have been brewed.

Recovered from the manufacturing unit have been four,000 bottles of adulterated wine of totally different manufacturers, and 1,000 empty bottles of widespread wines. The police promptly arrested the producer, 48-year-old Uju Daniel Ughanze, an indigene of Anambra State. Equally, the police uncovered a pretend drug manufacturing unit in Lagos, and arrested 4 suspects.

In Benue State, North Central Nigeria, New Year’s Day 2018 was a bloody day as some suspected Fulani herdsmen unleashed mayhem in some communities, burning farms and villages and killing over 73 individuals.

The state had witnessed a number of clashes between farmers and herdsmen over grazing rights and the “deliberate” destruction of farmlands by cattle. This led to the enactment of the Benue State Anti-grazing Regulation, prohibiting open grazing within the state. Nevertheless, the herdsmen, underneath the umbrella of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Affiliation of Nigeria, rejected the regulation. Quickly after, assaults on farming villages turned extra frequent within the state.

The victims who died in the course of the New Year’s Day assault on villagers and farmers in Guma and Emblem native authorities areas of the state got a mass burial on a website on the Industrial Format, alongside Naka Street, Makurdi.

Since then, hardly would every week move with out assaults, killings and sacking of communities within the state by suspected herdsmen, particularly in localities the place the individuals are recognized for his or her prowess in agricultural manufacturing. The assaults have additionally left of their wake an enormous humanitarian disaster, with near 500,000 native farmers and their households dwelling in Internally Displaced Individuals (IDPs) camps created by the state authorities in eight places in Guma and Emblem LGAs.

On Might 22, family members wailed ceaselessly in the course of the burial of 17 worshippers and two Catholic clergymen, who have been allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen in Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East District of the state.

The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi confirmed the killing of two of its clergymen, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, in an early-morning assault on St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor, Mbalom, in Gwer West LGA of the state. A press release by its director of communications, Rev. Fr. Moses Iorapuu, stated that the assaults have been perpetrated by herdsmen who stormed the Mbalom group and killed the 2 clergymen in the course of the morning mass on the church.

The yr 2018 additionally witnessed excessive incidence of kidnapping-for-ransom, which took much more scary dimension and turned the order of the day, particularly alongside Abuja-Kaduna Expressway.

The actions of bandits alongside the Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna street, the place scores had been killed and many kidnapped, hogged the information headlines. Travellers recognized three main spots on the Kaduna-Abuja freeway as probably the most lethal. They have been the parts of the street that border Kakau, Rijanah and Jere communities.

4 individuals, together with a professor, have been killed by bandits alongside the risky Abuja-Kaduna freeway. One of the victims, a former commissioner of schooling in Katsina State, Professor Halima Idris, was killed whereas travelling to Abuja, between Jere and Kateri, about 85 kilometres from Kaduna. She was buried in Kaduna.

The Kaduna State police public relations officer, DSP Mukhtar Aliyu, confirmed the killing however added that no army officer or policeman was concerned within the incident. In a press release he later issued, the police picture maker stated 4 individuals have been killed within the assault, whereas 5 others have been injured.

On July 18, 2018, police gunned down one of probably the most needed robbers in Ondo State. Bukola Adeoye, notoriously referred to as Agbara, which means ‘power’, was killed in a gun duel with the police throughout a theft in Ore, Ondo State.

Adeoye was one of the suspects who escaped from the custody of the Particular Anti-Theft Squad (SARS) of the Ondo State Police Command weeks earlier than his finish.

Six individuals, together with three armed robbers, have been killed when gunmen attacked a business financial institution and a police station in Igara, headquarters of Akoko-Edo Native Authorities Space of Edo State.

Edo State Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Johnson Kokumo, stated the robbers have been killed in a gun battle with the police guarding the financial institution and one other one close by.

Additionally in 2018, there have been a number of seizures of firearms that shocked the nation on account of their quantity and the violence they might have prompted if that they had discovered approach into the Nigerian market.

At Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos, the Nigerian Customs Service intercepted a container-load of firearms, principally rifles and ammunition. The container was found on the ports and cargo terminal of Tin-Can Island Port.

A Turkey-based Nigerian businessman, Ifeuwa Moses, and a Lagos-based clearing agent, Umeh Festus Emeka, allegedly tried to ship into Nigeria a consignment from Turkey, however customs officers at Tin-Can Island command found that the 1×20 container was loaded with firearms. The officers, throughout examination, discovered 2,671 pump-action rifles rigorously hid behind metal doorways.

In 2016, the United Nations raised the alarm that over 350 million small arms and mild weapons (SALWs), about 70 per cent of the estimated 500 million of such weapons circulating in West Africa, have been domiciled in Nigeria.

Director, UN Regional Middle for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Mr. Anselm Yabouri, who launched the figures, expressed concern that Nigeria was being flooded with illicit weapons. He lamented that such weapons have discovered their approach into unauthorised arms, which he stated posed an ideal menace to the nation’s existence in addition to to the lives and property of Nigerians.

However, because the 2019 basic election attracts nearer, eminent Nigerians have renewed their name on the management of the Nigeria Customs and different businesses that man the borders and ports to take very pressing steps to deal with the issue.

The name turned extraordinarily crucial following the renewed assaults by terrorists within the North East and the bloodletting which engulfed Kaduna metropolis after the physique of a first-class monarch was discovered.

Gunmen had in October kidnapped Maiwada Galadima, the paramount chief of Adara Chiefdom in Kachia Native Authorities Space of Kaduna State. The gunmen additionally kidnapped his spouse alongside the Kaduna/Kachia street. The physique of the monarch was discovered a couple of days later.

In October, the police in Kano State stated they recovered 47 firearms with 819 rounds of ammunition and 1,117 cartridges between January and August 2018, consistent with the IGP’s directive on retrieving unauthorised firearms within the possession of Nigerians nationwide. Comparable recoveries have been made in different states.

A army officer hooked up to Operation Lafiya Dole within the North-East, who most popular anonymity, stated that the seizure of weapons at Tin-Can Island was simply one other scratch on the floor. In line with him, smugglers transfer giant portions of arms in sacks of onions into the nation by means of the land borders.

He revealed that hundreds of vans cross into Nigeria utilizing Jibia in Katsina, a border city with Niger Republic, to move items and providers. The improvement makes it onerous for the safety brokers to know which of them have weapons and ammunition of their cargo.

He stated that whereas he was serving in Jibia, his workforce as soon as recovered greater than 1,135 weapons and a number of thousand rounds of ammunition being transported into the nation hidden inside sacks of onions.

A senior military officer serving in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, stated that 99 per cent of firearms smuggled into Nigeria find yourself in Onitsha, Anambra State, from the place the weapons are redistributed on the market, relying on the disaster area.

He stated that Onitsha was the hub of unlawful firearms and ammunition and criminals go there from far and close to to purchase weapons. The senior military officer, a serving Colonel, revealed that weapons have been additionally smuggled into Nigeria in luggage of yam flour.

Nigerians from all walks of life have condemned the spate of killings and bloodletting that characterised the yr 2018, and referred to as on authorities in any respect ranges, notably the Federal Authorities, to make sure that 2019 does now witness such ugly safety lapses.