Kidnappers Demand N10m Ransom For Kogi Student

A statement by the National Association of Kogi Students (NAKOSS) on Monday said that Adetutu, a HND 1 student was kidnapped on Friday at Itakpe junction, on Lokoja-Okene road.

It disclosed that she was travelling to Ogun State in a commercial bus when the abductors stopped the vehicle at gunpoint and abducted her.

Mr Salihu Lukman, NAKOSS Director of Student Affairs who signed the statement, said that the abductors had reduced the ransom to N500,000 after negotiations.

“As I speak to you, negotiations are still on going. Today makes it the 4th day now and the poor mother of Adetutu who happens to be a widow can’t afford the ransom.

“We are pleading with the government and the public to come to the aid of this poor student so that we can secure her release,” the statement said.

While confirming the incident, the Public Relation Officer of the state police command, ASP William Aya said that the police was working hard to rescue the student.

Aya said that the command had already deployed a special squad which was on the trail of the kidnappers.

He, however, said that he was not aware of the demand for a N10 million ransom by the abductors.

Italian Priest Kidnapped In Edo State

Maurizio Pallu who is an Italian priest, has been kidnapped by gunmen in Edo state. The 63-year-old priest was snatched last Thursday in broad daylight by armed men just outside of Benin City.

“Pope Francis has been informed about the Italian priest Maurizio Pallu kidnapped in Nigeria and he is praying for him,” chief Vatican spokesman Greg Burke wrote on Twitter on Friday evening.

Vatican Radio said Pallu, who had been stationed in Nigeria for three years, was travelling with a group of four other people when they were attacked and robbed by armed men who took Pallu but let the others go.

Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, who confirmed the incident to TV2000, an Italian Catholic TV channel, said that the security forces are doing everything possible to find him.

“For the moment, we don’t have any good news but we are confident and will continue to hope that Father Maurizio will be freed,” he added.

Police Kills Two Suspected Kidnappers, Rescues Victim

The Police Command in Anambra said it has killed two suspected kidnappers and rescued a victim.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mrs Nkeiru Nwode, made this disclosure on Saturday in Awka while addressing newsmen.

Nwode, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said the victim, simply identified as Nnamdi, was kidnapped on Oct. 11, in a filling station at Obosi, near Onitsha, by four armed hoodlums.

According to her, N20 million was demanded as ransom but the detectives attached to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the command trailed them as they were coming to collect the ransom on Oct. 13.

“As the hoodlums got to know that they were being trailed, they started attacking the police but two of the kidnappers were killed, while others escaped with bullet wounds,” Nwode said.

She said exhibits recovered from the suspects included one locally made pistol with two live cartridges, one cut to size single barrel gun, one unregistered Q-link motorcycle and a cell phone.

Nwode assured members of the public of the relentless efforts of the police in securing lives and property in the state.

Insecurity: Man Declares 30-Day Hunger Strike In Edo

Over the incessant killings, kidnapping and insecurity in Edo state, a middle-age man, Roy Oribhabor, has declared 30-day hunger strike to drive home his rejection for the unrest.

Addressing newsmen in Benin City under the aegis of ‘The voice of the commoners in Nigeria’, Oribhabor said the rate of insecurity in the state was alarming.

According to him, urgent steps must be taken to curtail the ugly trend through the establishment of Neighbourhood Security Agency.

Oribhabor, who lamented the helplessness of Edo residents, said: “He is seriously worried about this development in our society, therefore it has become pertinent to call on Edo State government to establish Neighbourhood Security Agency to tackle the ugly trend. ”

“To this effect, I, Roy Oribhabor, hereby declare hunger strike from today, October 9, 2017 to November 8, 2017 to call the world attention and also government to provide adequate security and unconditional release of Amb. Osayomore Joseph and Mr. Andy Ehanire”, he said.

Oribhabor recalled that few months ago, the immediate past chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Johnson Afegbua, was killed by unknown gunmen along Benin-Auchi road while recently, Mr. Andy Ehanire, Managing Director of Ogba Zoo and Gardens and musical icon, Amb. Osayomore Joseph, were kidnapped in the state.

“Also, my car was stolen. On September 30, 2017, popular DJ MOG was robbed and shot. Mr. Andy Ehanire was kidnapped as if that was not enough, a prominent local musician, Amb. Osayomore Joseph also kidnapped and his wife shot. A university don, Prof. Paul Otasowie, of the University of Benin, was killed. This is just to mention a few.

“We can no longer sleep with our two eyes closed. I hereby condemn the activities of criminal elements and their behaviours to undermine the security of the state,” he noted.

Declare State Of Emergency On Kidnapping, Ritual Killings – Osun Muslims Clamour

Osun State Muslim community has urged the Federal and State Governments to declare ‘a state of emergency’ on kidnapping, ritual killings and social injustice.
According to the Muslim community, kidnapping, ritual killings and social injustice are rampant in the society, hence there is the need by the FG and state governments to take drastic steps in combating the menace.
The call was made at the 1439 A.H Hijrah celebration held at the Osogbo City Stadium, Osogbo last Sunday.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who was the Chief Host of the event, called on Muslims to imbibe Hijrah lessons by intensifying prayers for the state and the country against all manners of afflictions like economic hardship, insecurity and social injustice.
Aregbesola who was represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Adebisi Obawale said Prophet Muhammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina signified his commitment to promoting peace, tolerance and propagation of Islam, urging the Muslims faithful to ensure peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims.
Delivering his Hijrah message on the theme of the programme tagged: ‘Kidnapping and Ritual Killings in Nigeria; Islamic Perspective, the Vice-Chairman of the Muslim community, Alhaji Mustafa Olawuyi said the recent ritual killings in some part of Osun state called for concern and proactive measure from the government and security agents.
Olawuyi stated that Islam forbids unjust killings, quoting from the Quran that, “If anyone slays a human being, unless for murder or for spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had killed all mankind; whereas if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.”
He traced the causes of kidnapping and ritual killings to security inadequacies, social injustice and greed, calling on members of the public to embrace the teachings of Quran for a safe, just and friendly society.
In his address, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Musibaudeen Adelasoye said, “the trending kidnapping and ritual killings was alarmingly disgraceful and abhorring, saying that it posed threat to the dignity, sacredness and virtue of human life”.
The guest lecturer, Sheik Musbaudeen Orimadegun accused political leaders, government functionaries and religious leaders of sponsoring kidnapping and ritual killings, saying that was why it is difficult to curtail the criminal acts.
According to Orimadegun, the insincerity of security agents and corrupt judicial system had been frustrating efforts to combat kidnapping and ritual killings, saying that majority of culprits arrested for the offences have been eventually freed by either the security agents or court.
He said for Nigeria to be a safe society, individuals must shun greed, lust for power and ‘fast way to get rich’ without stress.
Aregbesola said the state government was not relenting in maintaining and sustaining the status of Osun as the ‘most peaceful state’ in Nigeria, vowing to tackle petty crimes and social injustice across the state.
The governor said his administration has taken security matter with utmost seriousness and that it is committed to a secured, safe and crime free state by providing vehicles to all security agencies in the state and as well supporting them with other logistics to aid their effectiveness and operations.
He commended the security agents in the state on their efforts in combating kidnapping and ritual killings, just as he challenged them to totally kick-out the criminal act to enhance the security of lives in the state.

Three Police Officers Killed, Zoo Attendant Abducted In Edo

Suspected kidnappers have reportedly killed three police officers who were posted to provide security for fun seekers at the Ogba Zoological Garden and Nature Park, in Oredo Local Government of Edo State.

Osun Defender learnt that the gunmen also abducted the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ogba Zoo, Dr. Andy Ehanire, and taken to unknown destination.

Andy Ehanire is the younger brother of a former Senator of the Federal Republic and wife of a retired army General, Mrs. Daisy Danjuma.

The hoodlums who reportedly stormed the Zoo at about 6 pm on Sunday, were said to have made away with the service rifles of three policemen after killing them.

The incident disrupted activities at the Zoo as fun-seekers scampered for safety and hurriedly left after the attacker had whisked away the Director.

Edo State Police Command Spokesman, DSP Moses Nkombe, who confirmed the incident said the situation has been brought under control.

Nkombe said security has been beefed up in the area, adding that the attackers would soon be arrested as police have begun manhunt for them.

He assured members of the public that the Zoo is safe for fun seekers, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, has ordered deployment of more officers and patrol van to the area.

 

Gunmen Abduct 2 Catholic Priests

According to The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) says gunmen kidnapped two Catholic priests in an area at the center of over two years of massacres by unknown assailants.

The two priests, Charles Kipasa and Jean-Pierre Akilimali, were taken from Our Lady of the Angels parish in Bunyuka, located between the towns of Butembo and Beni, by a group of around 10 assailants just before 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Sunday.

“Priests are men of God who devote their lives to the good of the population without a political agenda. To hurt them is to harm the community they serve,” CENCO said in a statement.

CENCO called upon the security forces to do everything possible to free the men. Three other priests, abducted in the same area in October 2012, still have not been freed.

Congo’s mineral-rich eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of ethnic tensions, has for more than two decades been the theater of successive wars and rebellions. Beni has been among the most volatile zones in the last two years.

 

Kidnappers Of Delta Students Nabbed

The leader of a four-man kidnap gang, Austine, alias Lion, that recently abducted five secondary school students at Ughelli, Delta State, has been caught by the anti-kidnapping unit.

The kidnappers, identified as Joseph, Onos, Omojevbe, Tina and Stella, were arrested by the Committee on Peace and Security, Delta State House of Assembly. Three members of the kidnap gang are, however, on the run.

 

Chairman of the anti-kidnapping unit, Austin Opunbor, said: “Immediately we received the report of the kidnap of the school children, our committee mobilised its men to be on their trail. “While some of our personnel were on the streets monitoring events, others embarked on a thorough search from forest to forest and uncompleted buildings. “The arrest of the self-confessed gang leader was quite tasking,” adding that when the gang discovered that the committee was closing in on them, it quickly released the victims. Opunbor disclosed that the children have been re-united with their families, while the committee has launched a manhunt for the three fleeing suspects.

Parents Of Kidnapped Lagos Pupils Pay Ransom

The parents of the six abducted pupils of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla Epe, have paid N31m ransom to the criminals who kidnapped their children. About 53 days ago 10 Senior Secondary School pupils were taken from their hostel by gunmen, 3 days after the men informed the school of their plans. The gunmen eventually released 4 taking 6 with them.

Investigations revealed that some parents were assigned to take the money to an undisclosed place, where they paid to some members of the gang in two tranches.

The parents were, however, worried that their children had not been released since last week when their abductors promised to set them free. The kidnappers last Sunday promised to release the children.

 

Sources, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said many parents sold their property and borrowed from friends and relatives to pay the N31m ransom.

A source said, “We don’t know what else these people want. The parents are stranded. The first time, three parents met with them somewhere and gave them N10m.

“They demanded another N21m ransom. The parents took the money to the place and gave it to some gang members. They told the parents that they had done all the necessary things and promised to release the children in the next two days. They have been expecting the children since last week.”

One of the parents said his quest to reunite with his child had increased tremendously in the last few days as a result of the assurance by the abductors.

“We gave them N31m cash. We didn’t send it through a third party and they confirmed the money was complete. They promised to release our children soon.

“We were confused when we heard that they demanded another N1.5m before the children could be released,” the parent added.

 

Army Lieutenant Goes Missing In Lagos

Lieutenant Davou Mwankon Gyang an army lieutenant has reportedly disappeared in Festac area of Lagos during a military operation.

The father claimed in a Facebook post that his son was kidnapped, but the authorities are yet to comment on the missing officer.

The incident is, however, shrouded in mystery as the Army is yet to contact the parents of the missing officer and most importantly locate him.

The missing officer’s father in his post stated: “I Da. Price Gyang Mwankon of Turu Village Vwang District of Jos South Local Government of Plateau state. My son graduated from Nigerian Defense Academy on the 13th September, 2014 as a second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army.

“He was posted to Lagos State, 149 Battalion Ojo Barracks. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2015 at the same Ojo Barrack 149 Battalion.

“We have been communicating with him via phone, since February 2017. Over 3 weeks we have have been trying to reach him and his number was not going through.

“I decided to go with one of his younger brother named GWONG GYANG MWANKON, to his office at 149 Ojo Barrack to visit him, on reaching the office on the 13th March, 2017, we met the adjutant, and we introduced ourselves to him and he told the Commanding Officer that we are around, then the Commanding Officer Lt Col Archibong (07069353889) came and directed us to his office. I introduced myself to him as the father of Lt Davou Mwankon Gyang, he told us that Lt DM Gyang went for operation on 18th February, 2017 with five other soldiers (other ranks) at Festac Village a few kilometers away from 149 Battalion Ojo Barracks, Lagos state.

“He told us he heard some gun shots, after a while a Captain called him and told him that Lt D M Gyang was kidnapped and he immediately called the adjutant to confirm if it was actually true, the adjutant confirmed it was true and that the other soldiers that went with him came back sound and safe. Lt. Col. Archibong also told us that he immediately went down to the office and he met the soldiers went with Lt. DM Gyang for the operation, and he asked them what actually happened, and the soldiers responded that they went for operation with Lt. DM Gyang at Festac Village Lagos. On reaching the operation ground, Lt. DM Gyang gave one of the soldier his phone and 1050 Naira that was in his pocket to return back to office.

“After a while the militants started shooting at them and they were running to escaped, and that they took different routes and that was how they escaped back to the Barracks and Lt. DM Gyang was kidnapped.

“Lt. Col Archibong further explained that he was not satisfied with their statements, and he locked them up in the guard room for further interrogations. After then the Commanding Officer took 300 soldiers with snuffing dogs to where the operation took place, and they could not trace Lt. DM Gyang and one of the snuffing dogs died in the process.

“Lt. Col. Archibong gave me his phone number (07069353889) that he was going to get back to us immediately. Since then he did not call us and whenever I call him, he doesn’t pick up my calls.”

The father of the missing officer pleaded with the authorities to come to his aid and help locate the whereabouts of his son.

Fr. Okwuidegbe: My harrowing 3 Days With Kidnappers

Fr. Samuel Okwuidegbe, a Jesuit priest recalls his horrific three days in the hands of kidnappers, who plucked him right on Benin Asaba Highway, leaving his car.He was on his way to Onitsha for a retreat

He is lucky as he survived to tell his story:

It was supposed to be a quiet retreat weekend last April for Fr. Sam Okwuidegbe, a Nigerian Jesuit priest and director of a local spirituality centre.

Before he left, he chatted with his new provincial, Fr. Chuks Afiawari, who joked with Fr. Sam: “Make sure where you are going they don’t kidnap you.”

“We laughed about it,” Fr. Sam recalled.

Little did the priests know that the joke would be an unfortunate foreshadowing of what was to come. In a testimony posted on the website of the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar, Fr. Sam recalled how his faith carried him through a traumatic and harrowing experience of kidnapping.

On his way to the retreat, which was to be in Onitsha, in the state of Anambra, Fr. Sam took a familiar, seemingly safe highway on which he had travelled many times.

That’s why he was so surprised when he heard gunshots.

“On glancing back I saw all the vehicles behind me stopping, and trying to reverse … that’s when it hit me that there was something dangerous ahead of me,” he recalled.

“On looking up I saw masked men with AK47 rifles shooting. I was so scared. I also stopped my car abruptly and began to reverse, but as I was trying to do that, a man suddenly appeared … and said, ‘If you don’t get out of the car I’ll shoot you.’”

The priest could see behind him that the men had also stopped another car, a black Mercedes, and was forcing two men out of the car. In a hurry, Fr. Sam left his phone in the car.

He quickly identified the armed kidnappers as Fulani herdsmen, a notoriously violent group whose clashes with farmers have killed thousands of people in Nigeria over the past two decades. According to the Global Terrorism Index, they were the fourth most violent militant group in the world in 2014.

Violence against Christians has also significantly increased in the country in recent years, particularly in Muslim-majority areas. In 2016, one Nigerian bishop lamented that Christians had essentially become “target practice.”

The Fulani kidnappers led Fr. Sam and the other two men into the forest at gunpoint for eight hours, barely stopping for breaks. They eventually let one of the two other men go, because he could not keep up with the pace, but they first cut his feet so that he could not escape quickly, Fr. Sam recalled.

“The pace in the forest was jogging, jumping over tree trumps, going over leaves, which often cut through our skin. So it was quite brutal!” Fr. Sam said.

“I was so shaken, and began to ask myself, is this happening to me? What am I doing in this forest? What am I doing here? I felt extremely cold and in my confusion … I’d mutter to myself, this can’t be happening, God. This can’t be happening,” he said.

The captors started questioning Fr. Sam and the other man, and were suspicious when Fr. Sam identified himself as a priest; they thought he might be a government spy. They stripped him of all his belongings – his watch, wallet, and rosary.

When they questioned Fr. Sam about his phone, the captors were enraged that he had left it in his car – which was fortunate, the priest said, because he had saved financial information from his work on it.

The militants asked him if he could remember anyone’s number – someone to call who could negotiate for Fr. Sam’s life and pay off the herdsmen. Traumatised by his experience, Fr. Sam couldn’t remember one phone number.

“That triggered a series of beatings…they huddled me up, hands and feet tied to the back with a rope like a goat before a kill. They removed my cassock, then my shirt, threw me into the dirt on the ground, and began to beat me with the back of their guns, they’d kick me hard on my sides, slap across my face, push and pull me hard across the ground…one of them said ‘We are going to burn you alive!’” the priest recalled.

“I really believed that they were going to do it…I began to pray in silence…I said, ‘God, I commit to you, I commit my spirit’ and I resigned to the thought of my fate, that I was going to die that day.’”

Finally, the beating stopped. Fr. Sam said he remembers praying constantly through the whole experience.

“I hoped for a miracle…every minute I’d pray saying all kinds of prayers, I’d pray to Saint Ignatius, say the rosary and the Divine Mercy (chaplet)…at one time I found myself singing heartily but in the inside, a Ghanaian song that says ‘God speak to me…God, where are you?’ I kept humming in my heart…it gave me hope,” he said.

Eventually Fr. Sam was able to get the phone number of another Jesuit priest through the contact of the other man in captivity. This priest, Jesuit provincial Fr. Jude Odiaka, began negotiations with the herdsmen.

And while at times he prayed for death, Fr. Sam said he felt better once he had made contact with the Jesuits.

“I knew that word must have gotten around about the kidnapping, and that the sisters at the retreat centre and people who knew me all over, must have been praying for me.”

The other man who had been captured with Fr. Sam also was a great comfort, he recalled.

“…the guy I was kidnapped with…he was a grace for me, a gift from God. I hope I was too for him because we exchanged words of encouragement silently, as we were not allowed to talk to each (other).”

Finally, the captors seemed to have gotten what they wanted and started talking about letting the men go.

“I intensified my prayers and I prayed to God ‘Please God, make this end well,’” Fr. Sam said.

“I recalled a saying that ‘God will not bring you this far, then abandon you’, so this brought some assurance to my heart,”

When the militants decided to release the men, they were left to wander alone together through the forest, trying to find the pathway out. Eventually, they were able to make it to safety and back home.

While the experience was “painful and traumatising,” Fr. Sam said one of the best consolations upon his return was hearing from many people, near and far, that they had been praying for him.

“In all these things God revealed to me that I was never abandoned while in the forest, even if I was out of reach and in danger, that God heard the prayers and was with me,” he said.

“It has renewed my faith in God, my faith in people…the human person, God’s gift of friendship and that if what I do matters, then also those people I do it with are also very important.”

Fr. Sam said he also plans to use his experience to help other people in his work as a counsellor.

“This has also given me the understanding to accompany those who come to me for help seeking solace, encouragement, strength, hope, renewal…you know…maybe that’s why it happened,” he said.

“I’m going to use it in my work as a counsellor, psychologist and help those who come to me for help, because what support can be given to people that have been kidnapped? What help can we give such people? I think I have become part of that help with what I have received, and experienced.”