Gunmen invade church, kidnap woman, Rev Sister


The spate of insecurity in Imo state worsened at the weekend when two women, including a Reverend Sister, were Sunday morning kidnapped at various points across the state.

At one of the scenes, a reverend sister was abducted at Dim na Nume, Isu in Nwangele local government area of the state, just moments after a kidnap incident took place at Ohii.

The yet-to-be identified Reverend Sister; Blueprint gathered, was driving when her captors dashed into the middle of the road and halted her car.

It was further learnt that the captors pulled her out of the car and bundled her into theirs, with one of them boarding hers and driving same from behind.

In yet another scene,  worshippers at St Philip’s Anglican Church, Ohii Parish in Owerri West local government area of the state were thrown into fear as some hoodlums hit the church at about 7:45 am, kidnapping one Mrs. lkenna Onwusoroaka.

Unlike the previous scenario, the abductors drove her out in their car leaving hers behind.

There was some level of confusion as Orogwe Archdeaconry youth holding their camp/conference at the church premises, ran in different directions for safety.

The twin events happened as the whereabouts of one Chimezie Okpara, kidnapped Friday at his Umudurunna home, continued to remain a source of worry to his relations.

The abductee was picked up by his captors on his way from the market where he was reported to have gone to buy things for the burial ceremony of his brother’s father in-law.

Spokesman of the state police command, SP Bala Elkana, could not be reached for comment as at the time of this report.

 Police confirm Zaria kidnap

 In a related development, Kaduna state Police Command has confirmed the kidnap of 12 persons in a new residential area of Kofar Gayan/Kofar Kona axis of Zaria of the state. 

 The incident, according to information available to Blueprint, took place between Saturday night and early hours of Sunday, barely three days after the killing of a student and kidnap of 10 students and lecturers of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic in the same Zaria.  

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Mohammed Jalige, who confirmed the development in a telephone interview said: “Yes, there was an incident in Zaira and some of the victims were rescued.”

Asked whether the kidnappers had reached out for ransom, Jalige said, in most cases the families of the victims usually choose not to disclose the dealings between them and the kidnappers.

 He, however, said efforts were on to secure the release of the remaining people in captivity.  

 It was gathered that eight people, mostly males, were kidnapped from one house.

How it happened

 An eyewitness and a daughter of one of the abductees, Hafsat Habib Kusfa, said the bandits broke into their home around 12am and went from room to room bringing out all the occupants and thereafter assembled them in the compound of the house.

 She explained that the gunmen, who invaded their house carrying guns and machetes, spoke Fulani language among themselves and Hausa language when they wanted to talk to their captives.

 She further said, after some arguments, the gunmen told her to go back into the house to take care of the children along with a nursing mother, who is her step mother.

 “Thereafter, they took away my father, mother, sister, and my brothers. In all, they took eight people from our residence. We also saw some of their colleagues bringing out other people mostly males from our neighbourhood and later went away with them.

 “About seven gunmen stormed our residence, those that I saw with my eyes and two of them outside were about 30-year of age while those that came to pick us from our rooms were between ages 15 and 20,” Hafsat said.

Speaking further on Sunday morning, Hafsat Kusfa confirmed the release of her father and mother, whom she said were immediately hospitalised because none of them could speak.

 “From their condition, it is evident that they received severe beating from their abductors which made them ill,” she said.

 Unconfirmed report, however, has it that a former bank manager was also abducted at his residence at Graceland area of Kwangila, Zaria, at about 9pm Friday night.

N30m ransom on Ekiti farmer

Also, kidnappers of a successful farmer at Iyemero Ekiti in Ikole local government area of Ekiti state, Alhaji Jimoh Olodan, have demanded N30 million ransom for his release.

Olodan was abducted Friday night when suspected herders invaded Elegure farm settlement, some few kilometres to Iyemero-Ekiti.

It was gathered that his captors, who wielded guns, had contacted the Olodan family and demanded a N30million ransom.

“The people who kidnapped Alhaji Olodan had contacted the family asking for money that has caused a serious problem for the victim’s relations.

“They were asking for a sum of N30 million, which the family found to be too outrageous and they were not comfortable with such demand.

 “The family and the entire town are very cautious of the safety of the man, because of his role in the community. He is a successful farmer and one of those people looked up to in the community.

 “They are running around to be able to raise some money so that the man can be freed. The negotiation is still on with the abductors,” said a source.

But spokesman of the state police command, Sunday Abutu, said the police were not aware of any negotiation.

“We are not aware that they had contacted the family and asked for ransom. But I know that our men are combing the surrounding bushes in collaboration with local hunters and Amotekun corps,” Abutu said.

 Niger on education

Meanwhile, the Niger state government  has said it would  continue  to  give  priority  to the provision  of high quality  education  and motivation  of teachers despite  the  insecurity  and attacks  on educational  institutions by  bandits.

The state’s Deputy Governor,   Mohammed Ahmed  Ketso stated this at the weekend  in Minna. 

 Speaking  at the  Teachers Award  Day  ceremony  organised  by  the  State  Universal  Basic  Education  Board  (SUBEB), the  deputy  governor said  such situation  won’t  deter the  administration  from sustainable development  of  the  education  system in the  state. 

 He said: “The empowerment  of  teachers is a priority to us because  we  cannot  raise  the  quality  of  students  without  first standardising  the quality  of  those  to impart knowledge  and  character  on them.”

He explained  that  government  had  taken adequate measures  to provide  security  in schools  and  also secure  lives and  property,  adding  that teaching  and  learning  can  only  flourish  in peaceful  atmosphere. 

Speaking with  journalists,  chairman  of  the  board,  Dr. Isa Adamu, said  pupils  displaced by bandits  have been  placed  under special  learning  arrangements whereby  they  receive  lessons  from  teachers. 

Under the arrangement, he said,  pupils  have contacts with  teachers and  “this is made possible  by the  fact  that  most of them  are in the IDPs located  in  other school.” 

 He said  the  board  decided  to  honour some of  the  teachers with excellent  records  of performance  as motivation, adding  that  some head teachers,  principal  and education  secretaries were also honoured. 

About Chidiebere Iwuoha, Owerri,AbdulRaheem Aodu, Kaduna and Aideloje Ojo, Minna

View all posts by Chidiebere Iwuoha, Owerri,AbdulRaheem Aodu, Kaduna and Aideloje Ojo, Minna →