10 suspected killers of Islamic cleric Mada nabbed, troops neutralise IPOB gunmen, rescue 15

Following the killing of over 50 people in fresh attacks on some communities in Benue state by suspected terrorists, and the seeming unabated security challenges across the country, the leadership of the National Assembly has urgently sought a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

This resolution was adopted by the Senate Wednesday after an exhaustive debate on fresh killings in Benue state.

The planned meeting, as resolved by the red chamber, is to find lasting solutions to the mindless carnages in the land.

It also urged the Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, deploy security personnel to address the continuing and ongoing attacks by armed terrorists parading as herdsmen on communities in Kwande, Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala local government areas of Benue state.

This is with a view to flushing them out and restore normalcy to the affected communities, and invest in surveillance technology and equipment to detect and prevent future attacks.

The proposed meeting with the president and other resolutions which are coming after an earlier one by the Red Chamber, is to intimate him with the reports of security summits in the 8th and 9th Assemblies as well as the far -reaching resolutions of its recent engagements with the security chiefs.

…Udende’s prayers

The resolutions followed a motion brought under matters of urgent public importance pursuant to Orders 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders 2023 (as amended) by Senator Emmanuel Udende (APC Benue North East) as a result of fresh attacks on the Benue communities.

Leading debate on the motion, Senator Udende lamented that no fewer than 50 persons were killed in fresh attacks in the affected communities, adding that as at Tuesday, March 5, those attacked include Tyuluv, Borikyo, Kundav, Ugbaam, Uyam, Udedeku, Yaaiwa, Nyihemba, Tomatar, Menakwagh, Yiase and Agura, all in the Benue North East Senatorial district of the state.

He said: “The residents of the villages and communities now find themselves targeted on a daily basis by heavily armed terrorist-herdsmen, and the toll continues to be staggering as they bear the brunt, with reports of marauders butchering several villagers, leaving many homes completely burnt down and numerous residents still missing while the perpetrators, however, remain elusive and have not been apprehended.

“This pathetic situation and development has inflicted untold hardship on women, children and the elderly, who are trekking long distances in search of a safe haven and awaiting the intervention of security operatives.”

Udende further lamented that the situation, in addition to the loss of lives and property, had already impacted negatively on the economic lives of the people and led to the shortage of farm produce, resulting in the astronomical rise in the prices of foodstuffs and inflation in the country.

He wondered that despite the public outcry and previous resolutions of the National Assembly as regards the criminal activities of these terrorists parading as herdsmen, there seems to be no visible action on the part of government to curtail, abate or totally stop their criminal activities.

The lawmaker maintained that “the purpose of government is the security and safety of lives and properties in line with Section 14 (2) b of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and there is need to act urgently.”

…Contributions

In his contribution, Senator Osita Ngwu (PDP Enugu West) advised the federal government to seek what he referred to as political or cultural solutions to solve the security problem just Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP Kebbi Central) expressed disappointment that despite huge budgetary allocations to security, there seems to be little or nothing to show for it, blaming it squarely on poor oversights of relevant Senate committees.

The lawmaker lamentably declared that he was already tired of coming to mourn the loss of innocent lives due to attacks by criminals.

Speaking in the same vein, Senator Sadiq Umar (APC Kwara North) said he’s equally tired of going round the issue without meaningful solutions even as he faulted the legislative oversights by relevant Senate committees.

He said what Nigeria needed is to return to the basics, strengthen local communities and trust them enough to address the issues. 

In his contribution, immediate past Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who currently serves as defence committee of the Senate, in his contribution, advised the leadership of the Red Chamber to meet with President Tinubu, pointing out that huge budgetary allocations were always made available for security agencies and they should ensure efficient service delivery.

…Other resolutions

The Senate, in other resolutions, called for the review of security architecture in the affected areas to forestall the continuous attacks. 

It also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately mobilise relief materials to the people displaced by these attacks in Kwande, Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala local government areas of the state.

 …Troops neutralise 5 gunmen, rescue 15 in Zamfara

In a related development, the combined troops made up of army and navy Tuesday killed five armed men in a fire exchange at identified Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB)  and Eastern Security Network (ESN) camps in Ejemekuru in Oguta local government area of Imo state.

The ESN is the paramilitary group of the IPOB, a pro-Biafra separatist movement.

Director of Army Public Relations Major-General Onyema Nwachukwu said this in a statement Wednesday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the troops overpowered the armed separatists’ resistance with overwhelming firepower and recovered a significant cache of dangerous weapons.

He listed the weapons recovered from the separatists to include one AK-47 rifle, two pump-action semi-automatic rifles, one locally fabricated gun, two magazines and three rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

The army spokesman also said the troops recovered two motorcycles, two mobile handsets and a camouflage jungle hat.

Similarly, he said troops deployed for counter-insurgency operations in the North-west successfully rescued 15 kidnap victims in the Tsohuwar Tasha area of Kaura Namoda local government area of Zamfara state.

The vigilant troops, according to him, responded swiftly to a distress call and immediately mobilised to the scene of the incident, where they engaged the kidnappers in a shootout, following which the criminals were overpowered, abandoned their victims and fled into the forest.


Nwachukwu said: “All abductees were rescued unharmed. The Nigerian Army remains resolute in its commitment to mitigating security challenges in troubled areas.


”We urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to security agencies as we continue in our efforts to ensure peace and security in the country.”

…Killers of Islamic scholar nabbed

Meanwhile, about 10 suspected members of a vigilante group have been arrested over the murder of an Islamic scholar in Zamfara state, Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Mada, who was extra-judicially murdered Tuesday by a suspected group of vigilantes in Mada town, Gusau local government, on Tuesday.

A statement by the governor’s spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, said the suspects apprehended by the authorities were vigilantes and not members of the state’s Community Protection Guards (CPG).

It said the arrested vigilantes were not authorised by the state government to carry out any form of security operations, as they were not part of the CPG.

Idris said: “Zamfara State Government has received the heart-wrenching news of the extra-judicial murder of Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Mada in Mada town. It is indeed an unfortunate incident that could have been prevented.

“The security operatives have successfully apprehended all suspected vigilantes behind this heinous crime.

“The Zamfara State Government has taken this matter seriously and is committed to ensuring that all the culprits behind this unfortunate murder are brought to book. Every effort will be put in place to ensure that justice is served without compromise.

“We want to clarify that the suspected vigilantes behind the extrajudicial murder were not in any way related to the Zamfara State Community Protection Guards.

“The Community Protection Guards, a local community-based security outfit, was established to protect communities and not terrorize people in the state.

“This clarification is expected to put to rest the confusion that arose over the identity of the arrested culprits behind the extra-judicial murder. We will never compromise on the protection of the lives and properties of the people.

“We want to inform the public that the Zamfara Community Protection Guards has a modus operandi which prevents them from engaging in an operation without the guidance of relevant security operatives.

“Based on the preliminary investigation conducted by the police, it has been discovered that one of the vigilantes who was arrested was a former student of the murdered Sheikh. This information can help the authorities better understand the situation and take appropriate actions.

“Zamfara Government will share the outcome of the police investigation with the public once it concludes.

“During this trying time, we sympathize with Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Mada’s family and the entire community. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

About Taiye Odewale, Paul Okah, Abuja and Muhammad Sanusi,Abuja

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