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Travelers Panic As Terrorists Sow Sorrow, Tears And Blood On Kaduna Roads, Rails



Kaduna State, particularly some of its villages, has been greeted with very violent attacks by bandits and terrorists for several months amidst efforts by the government to address the concern.

But the recent dimension and shift of these attacks to strategic transportation routes have assumed worrisome levels and increased fears among citizens intending to visit or travel to the state.

The Abuja-Kaduna road has been notorious for kidnappings, as bandits on several occasions have attacked motorists, seized passengers, and caused severe havoc on that route.

This made many passengers shift to the use of the Abuja-Kaduna train service, despite the fact that the cost of going by train from Abuja to Kaduna is higher than what one pays when traveling by road.

But on two occasions, terrorists have attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train service, destroying parts of the rail tracks during both attacks, while the most recent attack led to the loss of lives, injuries, and the kidnap of passengers.

Aside from attacking travelers on roads and rail service, the bandits also struck at the Kaduna airport recently, disrupting the take-off of two flights from the facility and killing a security guard.

These attacks on the road, rail, and air transport by bandits have continued to increase fear in the minds of citizens planning to embark on trips to Kaduna State.

“Travelling on that Abuja-Kaduna road is now a nightmare because you perpetually remain in fear until you get to your destination,” Haruna Idris, a passenger at the Zuba Motor Park located along the Abuja-Kaduna road, stated on Saturday.

Idris told our correspondent that though there was increased security presence on the road, the fear of being attacked had refused to leave travelers who plied the route.

“It is true that security agencies have increased their presence on that road, but we still hear of kidnap cases on the road by bandits and this has made the fear remain,” he stated.

He added, “Now they’ve (bandits) successfully attacked and destroyed part of the train tracks and some coaches and also kidnapped many passengers who used the last train service heading to Kaduna from Abuja recently.”

Another resident of Abuja who frequently visited Kaduna for business, Joyce Maduka, said she had to suspend her activities after the train was bombed recently.

“It is frightening to travel to Kaduna nowadays because is like there is no safe route to that state currently,” she said.

Maduka added, “You can’t fly, the (Kaduna) airport was attacked the other day. You can’t go by road because of the fear of kidnappers. Now they (bandits) have bombed the train, killed passengers, and kidnapped many others.”

A lady, who identified herself simply as Mayowa, for instance, told our correspondent that her sister’s husband was among those who boarded the train and that nothing had been heard about him.

As Mayowa struggled to hold back tears while narrating her story, she said, “He couldn’t get a flight from Lagos to Kaduna and had to join Air Peace to Abuja.

“His flight was delayed and he missed the 2 pm train after I’d bought the ticket for him, which was why he joined the 6 pm train on that fateful Monday. His wife, my sister has been crying since that incident happened.

“We’ve not heard from him. No one has contacted us about him and no one is telling us anything here about him. What are we to do now?”

After the Kaduna airport was attacked on March 26, 2022, two indigenous airlines operating in the facility had to suspend their operations in the state, hence, limiting air travel options into Kaduna.

Terrorists numbering over 200, had on Saturday, March 26, 2022, invaded the Kaduna International Airport located in Igabi Local Government Area in Kaduna State, disrupting the operation and killing one security personnel of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

Following the attack, both Air Peace and Azman airlines confirmed in separate chats that they had suspended their operations at Kaduna airport due to insecurity in the state.

A spokesperson for Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, in a response to our correspondent on why the airline was no more going to Kaduna, had said, “Yes, Kaduna flights suspended due to insecurity.”

Also, the management of Azman Air had informed the general public that it would be halting its operations at Kaduna airport for a few days.

“We understand the security situation around the airport has been handled and normalcy has been restored accordingly, but it is imperative for the management to re-evaluate its operational procedures in the airport to ensure maximum safety of equipment, staff, and passengers are fully guaranteed,” it stated in a notice.

The airline added, “The bedrock of our operations is safety and we will continue to explore every option to aid its delivery to the highest standard.”

Meanwhile, before the recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, some part of the rail track had been bombed by suspected terrorists in October last year.

Precisely on October 21, 2021, the Nigeria Railway Corporation had to stop services on the Abuja-Kaduna route after a part of the train track was bombed by bandits.

The bandits struck again on Monday, March 28, 2022, as they attacked the last evening train, AK9 on the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service with explosives, leading to the death of about eight passengers and the destruction of the train and track.

Because of the level of damage on the track and in honor of those that lost their lives, the NRC suspended train operations on the affected route.

The Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, explained that there were 11 coaches on the recently attacked train worked by Loco 2502,

He said Loco 2502 was made up of four SPA coaches with 56 sitting capacity per coach and seven SP coaches with 88 sitting capacity per coach.

“Thus, the total seat capacity of the train is 840 seats. You may also recall that the train manifest contained 362 validated passengers aboard the train,” Okhiria stated.

The NRC boss also confirmed in a very recent statement that 21 persons who boarded the ill-fated train were still missing as of Saturday, while 170 others were safe.

He said, “The corporation, in continuation of its concerted effort through repeated calls, has been able to confirm the safety of 170 passengers, while 21 passengers are reported missing by the relatives who made calls to us.

“The corporation is seriously collaborating with the security agencies who had already swung into action, in line with the directive of Mr. President to do everything possible to rescue all those that are still missing.

“The corporation is also not resting on its oars as she has heavily moved human and material resources to the accident site to make sure that train services resumed without further delays in order to reduce the stress that our passengers are currently going through.”

Okhiria further noted that a high-powered restoration team, led by directors had been working round the clock to re-rail the coaches affected by the bomb blast.

“There is a coordinated two-pronged simultaneous restoration approach. While Loco 2702 with re-railment and restoration materials departed Idu Station, Abuja to the bomb blast site, another team with Loco 2502 departed Rigasa Station, Kaduna with re-railment and restoration materials to the same site,” he said.

Okhiria stated that at the close of work on April 1, 2022, coaches SP00004, SP00009, SP00012, and SP00013 had all been re-railed and safely taken to the Rigasa Station in Kaduna.

The March 28 train attack sparked diverse concerns both among senior government officials, passengers, and many other citizens, for instance, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, recently stated that the Nigerian Air Force would start escorting the trains.

He said efforts were also on to install security sensors on the tracks.

The minister had said, “I will speak with the President. He is already giving directives. I’m sure by the time we finish the repair of the rail tracks, we would have got approval for the security equipment and we would possibly have installed it.

“But even if we didn’t install it yet, we have spoken with the management of the Nigerian Air Force to escort the trains. They were previously escorting the trains but recently the weather has been very bad and visibility dropped to below 500 meters so they couldn’t fly.

“So they’ve not been flying and this is why this (the attack) was successful. They have resumed flying and will escort the trains when we resume.”

The minister also stated that the President had approved that his ministry should employ people who would be working on the rail tracks for the next six to seven months until the security equipment was installed.

“We intend to employ villagers on the corridor so that they can report any suspicious movements to us and the security agencies,” he stated.

Also, in an aftermath of the recent train attack, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai, had to beg the Nigerian military to bomb and wipe out the terrorists, stressing that the situation was getting him frustrated as governor and that he was becoming helpless.

Speaking to journalists on the matter, El-rufai had said, “We have enough intelligence for us to take action. The Airforce undertakes enough ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and the SSS (State Security Service) has informants all over the place.

“We know what they (terrorists) are planning. We get the reports. The problem is for the agencies to take action. Don’t wait until they attack before they respond. The Army should go after their enclave to wipe them. Let the Airforce bomb them.

“Before they were categorized as bandits and if you bomb them, you will have issues with human rights organizations and international criminal courts and so on.

“But now that have been declared terrorists by the courts, they can be legally killed without any consequences to international human rights organizations.”

The governor insisted that the camps and phone numbers of terrorists were known by the military agencies, stressing that the Kaduna State was currently in a state of war.

“We know where their camps are, we know where they are, the SSS officials have their phone numbers, they listen to them, and they give me the report. We know what they are planning. We shouldn’t be waiting for them to attack, why can’t we go after them,” El-Rufai stated.

Credit: PUNCH


President Tinubu Confirms Adepoju As Substantive Immigration Comptroller-General



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has confirmed the appointment of Wura-Ola Adepoju as the substantive comptroller-general (CG) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

Adepoju reportedly disclosed the development to staff of the NIS during the comptroller-general’s parade on Wednesday.

“You may also wish to know, that through the grace of God and by the benevolence of the present government, I have been confirmed as a substantive comptroller-general of immigration,” she said.

She added that the date for decoration would be announced soon.

NIS spokesperson, Anyanwu Ifeanyi confirmed the development.

“Yes, she has been confirmed as comptroller-general,” he said in a text message.

On May 29, Adepoju was appointed acting CG, replacing Isah Jere whose tenure expired on May 29.

Stakeholders had commended the appointment of Adepoju as the first south-western, female acting comptroller-general of the NIS, describing it as historic.

The stakeholders said the appointment will inspire female officers to give the best to their careers in hopes of reaching the peak.

The Yoruba Heritage Group had also lauded Tinubu for the appointment, commending him for “breaking the jinx” by allowing a Yoruba person in the position.

The group had also appealed to Tinubu to confirm Adepoju’s appointment as the substantive immigration CG, adding that she has the competence and capacity to push reforms that will transform the service.

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BREAKING: Gunmen Hijack Bullion Van In Ogun, Kill Finance Director Bureau Of Political Affairs



Yet-to-be-identified gunmen, on Wednesday, killed the Director of Finance to the Ogun State governor’s office, Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi.

According to Daily Post, the accountant was waylaid and shot dead on the popular Kuto Bridge in Abeokuta, less than three kilometres from a bank where he had withdrawn a lump sum of money for government use.

The unknown amount was also taken away by the gunmen.

Sources from the government office hinted that Oyekanmi was gruesomely killed a few days after he celebrated his birthday.

The sources further stated that Oyekanmi was rushed to the state hospital, in Ijaye area of Abeokuta, where he breathed his last.

It was further gathered that the news of his demise has been broken to his family and the Secretary to the State government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, as at the time of filing this report, was with the family of the deceased paying his condolence.

When contacted, Spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Omolola Odutola, confirmed the incident but insisted that nobody died at the scene.

But when the commissioner of police, Abiodun Alamutu, was called, he confirmed the incident and also admitted that Oyekanmi was killed.

The police boss said, “This afternoon, the accountant, the Director of Finance with the driver and one other person left for Fidelity Bank to make some withdrawal.

“They went with a homemade bullion van. They were supposed to have a police escort, but for certain reasons, the person was permitted to travel to attend to some issues.

“Consequently, he was not part of the movement today. According to the story, after making the withdrawal, and on their way back to the office, they were accosted.

“A vehicle blocked them on top of the bridge, five occupants of the vehicle came down, shot at the director and from their vehicle brought out a sledge hammer to force the receptacle where the money was kept open and they left with the money.

“The director that was shot was thereafter taken to Ijaye hospital where he eventually gave up the ghost.

“For our investigation, I have directed the area commander to get to the bank and request for the CCTV footage which will give us insight into the vehicle in question and possibility of identifying the culprits if they ever tried to step out of the vehicle or maybe they just maintained their position in the vehicle.

“I have reached out to Lagos and everywhere in the command to block all the exits out of the state, while we are trying to identify them because they said they were five and they were hooded.”

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We’ll Overhaul Nigeria’s Security Architecture — President Tinubu



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, says the nation’s security architecture will be overhauled on his watch.

Speaking on Wednesday while presenting the N27 trillion budget estimate before the joint sitting of the senate and house of representatives, Tinubu said the federal government will re-organise Nigeria’s entire internal security architecture.

Highlighting key issues in the appropriation bill, Tinubu said the budget seeks to achieve “job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability”, better investment environment, and access to social security.

“Defence and internal security are accorded top priority,” the president said.

“The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.

“Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritises human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.”

Tinubu said his government is committed to “improving the lot” of Nigerians and delivering on his campaign promises.

He said the 2024 budget has the potential to boost performance, promote the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, enhance security and public safety, and improve the general living conditions of our people.

“I am confident that these budgetary allocations and directives will set Nigeria on a transformative path towards a sustainable and resilient energy future, fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental preservation,” he said.

The president added that despite global headwinds, the Nigerian economy has proven resilient, maintaining modest but positive growth over the past twelve months.

In June, Tinubu appointed new security chiefs after he retired those who served in the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Last week, Christopher Musa, chief of defence staff (CDS), while speaking at a security debate organised by the house of representatives, said Boko Haram suspects plan operations and move funds from behind bars.

The defence chief alleged that some prison warders help high-profile inmates to move funds through their bank accounts.

On escalating insecurity in the south-east geopolitical zone, the general said Simon Ekpa, factional leader of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), is a menace to Nigeria, noting that his “utterances” and actions have caused significant harm to the country.

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