By Emma Emeozor, Molly Kilete, Fred Ezeh, Ndubuisi Orji and Okwe Obi, Abuja and Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Less than 20 days after attacking the Kuje Correctional Facility in Abuja and freeing scores of its members, terrorists, late Sunday, stormed Bwari, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ostensibly to attack the Nigerian Law School, but were repelled by troops from the Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army in a battle that saw three soldiers injured.
It was not immediately known if there were casualties or any arrest of the bandits by troops.
Bwari Area Council is where the Nigerian Law School and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) are located.
Daily Sun had reported that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) had first planned the attack on the Nigerian Law School Bwari before it later bombed the Kuje prison on July 5.
Sunday’s invasion of Bwari is said to have been nipped in the bud by soldiers who were on routine patrol on the Dutse Alhaji/Bwari road in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).
It was learnt that the soldiers had ran into an ambush laid by the terrorists while on patrol of the area, but fought back to prevent their mission into the area.
The guards’ soldiers, it was learnt, have been carrying out patrol in the town following intelligence report of an impending attack on the Nigerian Law School.
It was learnt that soldiers injured in the battle were evacuated to the 7 Guards Medical Centre where they are receiving treatment.
In recent week, most residents of the Abuja and suburbs have expressed fears over the safety of lives and property, especially students in boarding schools, as the terrorists appear to be emboldened following the successful attack on Kuje prison.
A cryptic message on the attack titled ‘Ambush Attack Against Own Troops Of Gds Bde’ obtained by Daily Sun indicated that the terrorists target was the Nigerian Law School.
It read: “At about 241620A Jul 22, own tps of 7 Gds Bn on routine ptl along Rd Kubwa – Bwari were ambushed by suspected terr. 3 x sldrs were injured during the attk. The sldrs have been evacuated to 7 Gds Bn MRS for med attn. Details on the extend of their injuries still under cfm. The ambushed attk happening within the gen area of Bwari shows that the terrs are actually within the loc and possibly to carry out their plans of attacking the law schl in Bwari as earlier reported.”
The Guards are in charge of the security of the President, his family, the Vice President, Very Important Personalities (VIP), the Federal Capital Territory and its surrounding states.
Guards Brigade Public Relations Officer, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa, confirmed the attack but declined to give details.
•FG orders security beef-up in FGCs
Federal Ministry of Education has asked Principals of all Federal Government Colleges (FGCs), otherwise known as Unity Schools, to beef-up security to forestall any form of breakdown of law and order.
It suggested to the principals to liaise with the police and security agencies in their locations, as well as in-house school security outfit and adopt other measures to protect their schools.
The suggestion was, perhaps, in response to the recent report of security breach at the Federal Government College (FGC), Kwali, Abuja, at the weekend, which has been directed to close down and students vacated immediately.
Kidnappers, who invaded Sheda village in Kwali area council, Abuja on Sunday amid sporadic shooting, released Mrs Janet Odoma Ojarume following a firm instruction that she should go and source money for the release of her husband, Sunday Odoma Ojarume.
Narrating her experience to journalists, yesterday, Janet said the kidnappers jumped over the fence and whisked her and her husband away.
On how she regained freedom, she said: “While they were moving us out of the community, the leader of the kidnappers ordered that they should allow me to go back home so that I will go and source for ransom.”
She explained that the kidnappers had access to their house after she stood up from bed out of fear to open the door, adding that at that point, the kidnappers forced the door opened.
She said the kidnappers could not enter the room where her two children were sleeping. “That was what saved my children.” As at press time, she said contact has not been established with the kidnappers.
Following the tension, the sporadic gunshots set off among students of the Federal Government College (FCG) Kwali, who were in their hostels, the college has been shutdown and the students evacuated by their parents.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in a statement by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, yesterday, confirmed earlier reports that indicated that there was a security threat in FGCs in Abuja.
“There was security breach on Sheda and Lambata villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council, which also threatened FGC Kwali. It was the timely intervention of security agencies that saved the situation, hence the decision for immediate closure of one the school until calm is restored.”
He, however, directed that arrangements should be made for final year students to conclude their National Examination Council (NECO) examinations.
•Zamfara kingpin: Govt major beneficiary of loot
A 50-minute British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary titled ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’ has exposed the modus operandi of bandits and the chain of beneficiaries of their loots as one of the leaders revealed that insecurity has become a business everyone benefits from.
Abu Sanni, who spoke on a range of issues, including the genesis of insecurity in Zamfara State, explained why banditry will not end and how 279 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Jangebe, Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state.
Explaining how kidnapping has become a lucrative business for both the kidnappers and government officials among other beneficiaries, Sanni alleged that government was a major beneficiary of the horrific attacks they unleash on the society.
The documentary ‘BBC Africa Eye’ was recorded by a journalist, Yusuf Anka who toured remote bandit camps in a forest in Zamfara. Yusuf also interviewed other bandit leaders in the camps he visited.
It was, however, not clear if Sanni was referring to the Federal Government or the Zamfara State Government or both. But he insisted that kidnapping has since become a lucrative business for all the actors.
On 279 kidnapped schoolgirls in Jangebe, Sanni revealed it was a revenge mission to teach government a lesson following military attack on his group.
“When the rainy season ended, they sent the military after us. We decided to show the government they should not interfere in our problems. We went to Jangebe and took the students. We wanted to get the government angry. We demanded N300 million but after negotiations, N60 million was paid for their release.”
Curiously, Sanni made a ‘doomsday’ ruling for Nigeria when he stressed that blood splitting would continue. And that is because everybody is benefitting from their loot and therefore the beneficiaries do not want the kidnapping to end soon.
“Because it has become a business. Everyone wants money. That is why things are deteriorating, from the top to the bottom. They say when there is insecurity, the government gets money. Everyone is benefitting. We also get money. Though for our money, blood is split, so it continues.”
•There won’t be election in North if…. –Northern group
A group, Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), has threatened that there would be no election in the North in 2023 if Nigerians in the captivity of terrorists were not freed and the region liberated from attacks.
Speaker of the group, Mohammed Danlami, in a statement, yesterday, lamented the continuous incarceration of victims of the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna bound train.
He said it was unfortunate that terrorists holding the innocent Nigerians captive had the guts to celebrate their nefarious activities in a video depicting how they were molesting their victims while the Federal Government kept giving flimsy directives and excuses without results.
The group said the growing audacity of non-state actors, which led to the invasion of Kuje Prison, Abuja and subsequent release of numerous arrested Boko Haram commanders showed that President Buhari and the Presidential Villa were not safe.
•PDP knocks Buhari over worsening insecurity
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, berated President Buhari over the spate of insecurity across the country, lamenting that his administration has irretrievably failed the people.
Spokesperson for the party, Debo Ologunagba, at a press briefing claimed President Buhari was insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
He spoke against the backdrop of the plight of victims of the Abuja/Kaduna train attack who in a video on Sunday were being flogged and dehumanised by terrorists who captured them on March 28.
“At such a time, in other climes, the president directly leads the charge and takes drastic measures to rescue and protect his citizen.”
Olagunagba said claims by the Presidency 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…” is an admission of incapacity and failure by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
“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.”
On torture of the train attack victims, the PDP spokesperson said: “It is indeed heartbreaking to watch fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, helpless children, compatriots and citizens of Nigeria in captivity and being tortured, brutalised, humiliated and crying in pain, agony and anguish just because we have the misfortune of being under the All Progressives Congress (APC) government that have proven to be derelict, irresponsible, unconcerned and completely numb to the pains and sufferings of our citizens.
“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.”
Ologunagba charged Nigerians, irrespective of political, ethnic and religious affiliations to come together, and resist the alleged “fascist-leaning tendencies” of the government. He said the only solution to the current security situation in the country is to hold the APC led administration accountable.