Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
A suspected major financier and armourer of the dreaded Basalube kidnapping gang in Kogi State,Â Lawal Mohammed, has been arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The suspect was arrested at Japama in Obajana, Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The spokesperson of the DSS, Mr.Â Toni Opuiyo, in a statement yesterday, said the suspect was apprehended with two other members of the gang, Mohammed Tukur and Abubakar Ibrahim, by the joint team of the service and the military during the operation. Tukur was identified as the chief surveillance officer of the gang who coordinated the gangâ€™s movement across Rivers, Edo, Delta, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi and the Federal Capital Territory, preparatory to the execution of their operations.
The operative said items recoveredÂ from the suspects included three cell phones and 25 bottles of psychotropic inducers.
In a related development, the DSS said it had also arrested five suspected members of the Basulube kidnap gang in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta.
The suspectsÂ are: Ali Abubakar, a top ranking member of the gang, Abubakareem Idrisa, Bashir Tsoho, Sanusi Abubakar, Nuhu Muhammadu and Abubakar Abdulhammeed.
â€œThis arrest was effected while Abubakar was perfecting plans to carry out kidnap operations in Obajana, Kogi,â€ heÂ said.
He added that in its determination to decimate the gang, the service on March 26 arrested Abubakar Danlansu, driver and weapon courier of the group at Dikko area of Niger.
â€œThe suspect was arrested enroute Edo from where he was to convey weapons toÂ Obajana in Kogi for the gangâ€™s planned kidnap operations.
He said Â the service had arrested Matthew Ekam, 39, in connection with the kidnap of Obianuju Onyema in Yenagoa on March 12 and later released by the kidnappers on March 18.
Opuiyo said the suspectÂ is a native of Ogoja, Cross River State and a driver of a heavy duty truck operating between Bayelsa and Rivers.
He said that on March 24, the service arrested a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Mohammed Bello, on the outskirt of Wudil Local Government Area of KanoÂ State.
He said Bello was believed to be carrying out surveillance activities for the extremist group in the area.
â€œAt the point of his arrest, several handsets, multiple identity cards including those of a Police Constable and neighbourhood vigilante memberÂ and N37,857.00 were recovered from him,â€œ he said.
Â â€œThe arrest of these suspects hold major significance for law and order and safety of persons.
â€œIt is instructive to note that the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers on the Lokoja-Okene and Abuja-KadunaÂ corridors have relatively reduced as a result of sustained counter operations of the service and sister security agencies,â€ he said.
Opuiyo said the recent arrest of Abubakar and other members of the dreaded Basalube kidnap gang would apparently resultÂ in the complete elimination of violent and other allied crimes in those regions.
â€œThe successes so far recorded by the service are geared toward providing a safe and peaceful environment for law abiding citizens to pursue their legitimate endeavours.
â€œWe wishÂ to reassure the public that the tempo of these operations will be continually reviewed, strengthened and sustained.
â€œThe service, therefore, wishes to reiterate its stance that all perpetrators of violence and criminality against the Nigerian state and itsÂ law-abiding citizens will be made to face the full course of law no matter how long it takes,â€ he said.