In its determined counter-terrorism efforts to consolidate on the gains it has made in the sustenance of offensive against identified criminal gangs, kidnap syndicates and terrorist elements across the country, the Department of State Services (DSS) has recorded major successes to further degraded the capacity of these elements to operate in the county.
Tony Opuiyo of the Department of State Services in a statement issued yesterday, noted that on January 1, 2017, at Mutum Biyu in Gassol council area in Taraba State, Bale Kolomi Grema and Kolomi Adba AJI were arrested in a mosque after they had fled Marte in Borno State, where they were involved in Boko Haram terrorist activities.
Also, it was learnt that on the same day, a kidnap suspect, Amadu Bello, was apprehended at Hotoron Arewa, Nasarawa council area of Kano State for his involvement in a kidnap operation at Zomo village, Ningi council area of Bauchi State from which he got a share of N3million from the ransom.
In a related development, on January 6, 2017, one Paul Ali (aka Simplee), a high profile leader of a kidnap syndicate, was arrested at Hill Flower Hotel, Asaga Ohafia in Abia State. Ali, who operates camps at Ikot Abasi and Mbo council area of Akwa Ibom State, is responsible for notable kidnap incidents across the Niger Delta region.
He, according to Opuiyo, is also a member of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) which has carried out attacks on oil installations in the area. At the time of his arrest, Ali, with his associate, Chidiebere Kanu, was planning the kidnap of a federal lawmaker and an expatriate. Kanu is presently at large.
According to the source, in another incident, two suspected Boko Haram terrorists, Ibrahim Mala and Abdallah Modu, were arrested on January 6, 2017, at Amba and Gudi villages of Kokona council area of Nasarawa State.
The suspects who are indigenes of Maiduguri, Borno State, had fled the military action in the state and were regrouping in the state under different trade covers.
While Modu sells children’s wears, Mala, who trades in perfumes, confessed to his membership of the sect and disclosed that he (Mala) joined the Yusufiyya faction in 2007. Similarly, Abdulkarim Dahiru, a key terrorist commander and an indigene of Okengwa, Okene council area of Kogi State, was arrested at the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja. The suspect was identified as the main coordinator of several kidnappings as well as other robbery activities in Kogi and Edo States.
Furthermore, the statement said security operations conducted from January 3 to 7 across some flashpoints in Lagos State led to the arrest of seven kidnap suspects, six of whom, namely; Gilbert Koku Nelson, John Nelson, Adekoya Kazeem, Muhammad Lawal, Abu Yahro and Kelvin Nwanaji, were arrested in connection with the kidnap of a management staff of Dangote Group.
The two other suspects, Abdullahi Bello, a Customs officer, and Bello Gumel, were apprehended at Navy Town, Ojo council area and Naval Base, Alakija, respectively, in connection with the kidnap of another Customs officer, on December 20, 2016.
Members of the above gang, the source stated, specialised in spying on senior company executives and laying ambush for kidnap and robbery operations for huge ransoms.
On January 7, one Muhammad Auwal was arrested at Andaza village, Kiyawa council area of Bauchi State in connection with Boko Haram terrorist activities. Auwal who was arrested with the sum of N300,000 on him, is believed to be a drug supplier to the sect in Sambisa forest.
Also on January 7, the Service said it also arrested the trio of Elijah Awua, Joseph EjakA and Hope Nathan, at Kanshio, Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State. The suspects are members of a notorious kidnap syndicate that has been responsible for several kidnap operations in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau States.
Their most recent venture was the gang’s abduction of a staff of Radio Benue, Makurdi on December 2, 2016. Suspects were arrested with a silver coloured Toyota RAV4 vehicle marked ABJ AQ 720 KUJ. Two other members of the syndicate identified as Gabriel Joshua and Timothy are currently on the run and being trailed.
On January 8, 2017, one Bello Mohammed (aka Awilo), the leader of a syndicate that specialised in car theft and burglary in Gombe State was arrested at Jekadafari area of Gombe metropolis. Mohammed confessed to being the kingpin of the syndicate in the state. His confession led to the arrest of an associate, Abdullahi Ibrahim (alias Dibal) who is seen at the arrowhead of the gang in the Northeast. Ibrahim also disclosed that he has stolen 10 cars in Gombe. Based on his confession, two buyers of the stolen cars identified as Surajo Ali Gombe, and Danjuma Baka, have been arrested.
The Service also arrested four suspected fleeing members of the boko Haram, Fanayi Bukar Hassan, Butame Hassan, Kologoni Bukar, and Amina Abubakar on January 10at Oko-Oba, Ifako-Ijaiye council area of Lagos State.
They are suspected to have fled to the state to evade arrest in the ongoing military offensive in the Northeast. Same day, at Okene town in Kogi State, the leader of the sect in Okene, Abdullahi Mohammed aka Huja, was arrested. He had been responsible for the coordination of the sect activities in Okene axis of the state.
The Tony Opuiyo of the Department of State Services stated that “it is important to state that these successes were recorded as a result of proactive and credible intelligence offered by patriotic citizens, and the effective cooperation of sister agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
“This Service wishes to restate its determination to sustain the tempo within the provisions of the law as part of its drive towards ensuring the security of lives and property of all law-abiding residents and citizens in the country.