Terror scare in FCT-FGC Kwali shut 20 days after Kuje jailbreak, troops foil attack on Law School Bwari
Following a terror scare around Abuja, the nation’s capital city, the federal government Monday announced the immediate closure of the Federal Government College (FGC) Kwali in the Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over threat of attack by terrorists.
The announcement came amid report that troops of the Guards Brigade repelled the planned attack by suspected terrorists on Bwari, a suburb of Abuja.
21 days after Kuje jailbreak
The scare is coming on the heel of the attack on the Kuje correctional centre some three weeks ago by those believed to be members of the Islamic West African Province (ISWAP).
A major fallout of the attack was the escape of about 68 Boko Harma members serving different jail terms in the facility.
Although some of the escapees were gradually being rearrested at different locations across the country, there are still fears among residents that a couple of them were still within the FCT.
Past attacks on schools
For some time now, the nation’s schools had come under series of attacks, particularly in the northwestern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina among others.
The geo-political zone is believed to be the hotspot of banditry and kidnapping for ransom by bandits, who were later classified as terrorists by law.
The closure directive
Announcing the closure order in a statement by the director of press at the ministry, Mr. Ben Goong, Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said: “The closure became necessary following a security breach on Sheda and Lambata villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council which also threatened FGC Kwali.”
It said with the decision, the ongoing third-term examination in the school and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) by the National Examinations Council (NECO) has been abruptly stopped.
Nevertheless, the ministry assured it would communicate to the students how and when they would be writing their missed examinations following the development.
In the statement, Goong quoted the minister as saying the timely intervention of security agencies saved the situation.
Goong said the minister also directed that arrangements be made for final year students to conclude their ongoing SSCE examinations.
The statement further directed “principals of unity colleges across the country to liaise with security agencies within their jurisdictions in order to forestore(sic) any security breach in our schools.”
Failed Bwari attack
In a related development, three soldiers were reportedly injured in a late Sunday ambush by suspected terrorists in Bwari Area Council of the FCT.
The soldiers, said to be from the elite Guards Brigade, were on patrol of Bwari Area where the Nigerian Law School (NLS) and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) are located.
The elite Guards are charged with the responsibility of providing security around the President and his family, the Vice President, Very Important Personalities (VIP) and the Federal Capital Territory as well as the surrounding states.
Following intelligence report on a possible attack on the NLS, the soldiers from 7 Guards Battalion, swung into action and carried out patrol in the Abuja suburb.
The criminal elements however laid ambush and opened fire on the unsuspected troops around the Kubwa-Bwari road, during which three of the personnel were reportedly injured.
It was further gathered that the troops engaged them and successfully repelled the attack.
A top military source who spoke to Blueprint said the injured personnel were currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed Abuja hospital.
“The troops of the elite Guards Brigade were ambushed along Bwari-Kubwa road. But the ambush was forcefully repelled by the Brigade of Guards troops.
“The troops were on routine patrol of the area when they were attacked. However, three soldiers were wounded in the attack and they are already being treated at a military hospital in Abuja.
“The attack happening within the area of Bwari showed that the terrorists are actually within the location and possibly to carry out their plans of attacking the law school in Bwari among other targets in the area,” the source said.
Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Guards Brigade Abuja, Captain Godfrey Abakpa, who confirmed the attack, said troops were currently combing the area to apprehend the criminals.
“They were attacked and the attack was successfully repelled. We had a few wounded in action who have been taken to the hospital and are receiving treatments.
“At the moment our troops are still combing the general area to get rid of the criminals that have been threatening the general area. It is advised that residents go about their lawful businesses and keep cooperating with us by giving us timely information to enable us win the fight against the criminals,” Abakpa said.
Drama over victims of train attack
Meanwhile, a mild drama played out Monday when families of the train attack victims gathered at the entrance of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to block staff members of the ministry from accessing the office complex.
The protesters who were at the entrance of the ministry as early as 7am lamented the prolonged silence of the government despite their outcry.
The renewed protest was sparked off by a viral video where the victims were being flogged with a stick while the women and children were watching and crying.
The families lamented the demand, via a voice note, for N100million ransom by the terrorists for the release of the captives.
But unfortunately, the negotiator, according to the victims’ relations, said he had handed off from the matter due to insincerity on the part of the government.
They knocked government for delaying to rescue their loved ones, saying the demand for ransom wouldn’t have come up if if the government had been proactive.
They demanded to know why Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife, considered to be the mother of the nation, has not commented on the unfortunate incident since it happened.
Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed said: “What is the first lady doing? Is she not a mother or even grandmother and she has not for ones come out to speak on this matter rather she is their canvassing for women to come out to contest?”
“Ma, do you know that the two little children that were running after their mother when their father was been flogged by the the bandits are my niece and nephew,” she further said.
Addressing the protesters, the Permanent Secretary, Magdalene Ajani, said she felt their pain because her sister was also kidnapped in the ill-fated train.
But she was countered by the protesters who said her sister had since been released.
She however pointed out that the ministry was in constant talks with the security agents and the negotiators in the past three weeks.
She also dispelled the rumour that the female victims were being sexually abused, saying following interaction with people that were released, no such cases were reported.
Addressing the protesters, the minister, Sambo Mua’zu, said: “But I want to beg you for one thing. I have just resumed and I’m going to receive the necessary briefings this morning. I want you to give me some time.
“In the meantime, I want contact names and addresses with telephone numbers that I can reach, I can assure you that we’re going to be in constant engagement until this matter is sorted out until every single person in captivity goes back home to his family members.”
…4 hostages released
And less than 24 hours after releasing a video where they were seen flogging their captives and threatening to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai, terrorists who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, released four of the remaining 43 hostages.
Security agents and the Kaduna state government were yet to react or issue any statement regarding the development.
The four captives released, according to the negotiator who recently facilitated the release of 11 victims, Malam Tukur Mamu, are Gladys Brumen, Oluwatoyin Ojo, Hassan Lawal and Pastor Ayodeji Oyewumi.
It was gathered that the hostages were released by the terrorists at a location inside the forest along the Kaduna – Abuja highway and they were picked up from there by their relatives.
The terrorists had recently demanded a ransom of N100 million on each of the remaining 43 hostages. It was however not clear whether the victims paid ransom before they were released or not.
A relative of one of the freed victims told BBC Hausa that the victims were on their way to a health facility for medical examination and treatment.
With the release of the four victims, the number of the train passengers still in captivity now stands at 39.
The terrorists had March 28 blown up the rail track on the Abuja-Kaduna train corridor, killing nine passengers and taking 63 other passengers captive.
Catholic Church parishioner in Sokoto
Also, bandits have abducted a popular business, Tony Udemezue, in Tambuwal Town, Sokoto state Monday morning.
Udemezue, a member of the Catholic Church of Sokoto Diocese, was abducted at his residence.
Director of Communication Catholic Diocese of Sokoto Father Christopher Omotosho confirmed the abduction Monday afternoon.
He solicited prayers for the safe release of the businessman and his family.
Omotosho said Udemezeu was abducted by the bandits around 2 a.m.
A short statement by Mr Omotosho read: “One of my parishioners in Tambuwal, Sokoto State – Tony Udemezue, has just been kidnapped in his own house (home town of the Executive Governor of the State – Aminu Tambuwal).
‘”No police has responded in the last 1 hour (since 2 a.m.) despite they were called by him before he was taken away. Please let us keep him and family in prayers.”
The Sokoto Police Command spokespers
on, Sanusi Abubakar, didn’t respond to calls and SMS sent to him by Premium Times.
PDP urges Council of State
With the rising insecurity, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately and without further delay convene a special session of the National Council of State to find a lasting solution to insecurity.
PDP said it deeply saddened, alarmed and distressed by the video of terrorists mercilessly flogging, inflicting grievous bodily harm and threatening to sell into slavery and kill traumatized victims of the bloody Abuja/Kaduna train attack who have been held in captivity since March 28, 2022 exactly 120 days today.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba said this Monday at a media parley in Abuja.
He described as “heartbreaking to watch fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, helpless children; compatriots and citizens of Nigeria in captivity and being tortured, brutalized, humiliated and crying in pain.”
“The emotional toll of this sad incident on the victims, their families and the entire nation cannot be quantified, particularly on the younger generation who witnessed the humiliation of their parents and breadwinners in such gruesome circumstance.
“This will certainly have a generational consequence on the emotional and psychological makeup of our young persons with the possibility of losing faith in our nation and the capacity for empathy.
“Indeed, as a Party, our hearts bleed! The APC government has irretrievably failed our nation. Under the APC, Nigeria is fast sliding into a Hobbesian State where Rule of Law, Order and leadership are absent and where cruel, inhumane and insensitive bunch of human beings in government have abandoned our citizens to killers, terrorists and bandits.
“This disquieting video is a heartrending testament of the reported complicity and failure of the APC government to take decisive actions to rescue the victims since the gruesome train attack in which very promising Nigerians including a 29 years old female medical doctor was brutally killed and others taken captive by terrorists since then.
“It is a painful commentary on the continuing mass killing by terrorists in various parts of our country as well as a confirmation of the agony of hundreds of our citizens including students, who are being tortured and executed in countless terrorists’ dens enabled by the APC government.
“Nigerians can recall how the PDP on various occasions alerted that the APC government has ceded sovereignty over a large portion of our country to terrorists, many of whom were imported into our country by the APC.
“From the video, in a brazen manner, terrorists as non-state actors boldly showed their faces, boasting, admitting and confirming their participation in the Kuje Prison break, some of whom were former prison inmates who were either jailed or awaiting trial for their previous terrorism act against our country.
“Nigerians can equally recall the confession by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the APC government knows the plans and whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act.
“Between 2020 and 2022 about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists who continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.
“This is not politics; this is about humanity and leadership, which leadership sadly and unfortunately is missing in our country at this time”.
The PDP is appalled by the lame response by the apparently helpless, clueless and deflated Buhari Presidency, wherein it told an agonizing nation that President Buhari “has done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander in Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military…,” the party said.
Nation on the brink – Kachikwu
Weighing in on the developments, the presidential candidate of the Africa Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, said Nigerians can’t bury their heads in the sand and pretend all is well.
In a statement issued Monday in Abuja, he said: “I know you are probably as worried as I am about the state of our nation. Earlier today, our Government shut down the unity schools in the Federal Capital as they are unable to ensure their security in the face of terrorist threats.
“A few weeks ago, the Kuje prison was attacked and scores of terrorists freed. We also saw a video making the rounds yesterday showing the beating of the Kaduna bound passengers who were captured several months ago. We can no longer deny the fact that our government has failed on all fronts but what’s interesting is that most of us are in denial about the seriousness or severity of our situation.
“We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well with our country. We can no longer live in fear of our government and be afraid to tell them their failings. This is what got us here in the first place. Fear. Our parliament was too scared to impeach our President. We were also too scared to call for the resignation of our entire government.
“Why should we live in fear of those who we pay to serve us? Those who swore an oath to protect our lives and properties but now preside over our funerals. How much more can we take as a people before we die to our fears and collectively call on this government to resign?
“At the current exchange rate, lifesaving drugs will soon be out of the reach of the masses and critical spares unavailable to our industries. The inflation we talk about now will be much worse as food becomes more expensive and scarce. Airfares have gone through the roof while our roads remain unsafe. Many now live on charity. This is heart-breaking.
“We have seen nations whose people looked the other way as a few ran their nation aground suffer similar fates. We don’t need our nation to completely collapse before we defend our nation.
“If you really believe this government can safely handover a united and peaceful Nigeria in 2023 then you need not worry but if like me, you are worried that our nation is on the brink of disaster and that this government no longer has anything to offer then join me in calling for the immediate resignation of the entire APC government.
“We no longer have the luxury of time for them to continue to fumble and womble their way from one disaster to another. You might not have your voice tomorrow but you have it now; use it. President Buhari you and your entire government should resign in the interest of the Nigerian people. Thank you.”