Bandits Kill Katsina Chief Imam, As Police Raise Concern Over Gang Murdering Women in Makurdi

By Kingsley Omonobi, Peter Duru, Joseph Erunke, Dirisu Yakubu & El-Zaharadeen Umar

After the mutilated corpse of an unidentified young lady, whose internal organs were reportedly harvested by her killers, was yesterday found by the Makurdi bridge in the North Bank Area of the town, Benue State police command has raised concern over the activities of a criminal gang that specializes in murdering young women.

Meanwhile, gunmen in the early hours of yesterday attacked the staff quarters of the University of Abuja, UNIABUJA, kidnapping six persons, including two professors and four others.

Those abducted included Professor Obansa Malam and his son; Professor Oboscolo, his son and daughter; and Dr. Tobins.

Vanguard gathered that the gunmen struck at about 1:00, and made their way to the staff quarters located at Giri, in Gwagwalada, about 30 kilometres away from the nation’s federal capital city, FCT.

News of the invasion first surfaced on the university’s social media page some few hours after the development.

“Suspected bandits attacked the staff quarters of the university in the early hours of today (yesterday). Our Safety officers, in conjunction with security personnel, mobilised to secure the quarters.

“We have reported that four of our staff and their children were, nevertheless, abducted by the evil men.

“Efforts are being made to ensure their safe return. A sad day for us, indeed!” the university’s Facebook handle had posted.

Although the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Habib Yakoob, who confirmed abduction did not give details of the number of persons taken away and their identities, it was gathered from sources that the abductees were six in number.

Also confirming the attack yesterday, the chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, UNIABUJA chapter, Dr Kassim Umaru, identified those abducted to include Professor Obansa and his son; Professor Oboscolo, his son and daughters, and Dr Tobins.

“Please, we need your prayers for their safe return,” the ASUU chairman said in a message.

An eyewitness told Vanguard at the scene of the incident that the invaders forced their way into the houses of their victims through the windows before abducting them.

In one of the houses, the ceiling and windows were broken, while books, clothes, and other wares littered the floor.

A colleague of one of the abductees, who preferred anonymity, said the operation lasted over two hours, with heavy gunshots.

Speaking on the development, FCT Police Command spokesperson, DSP Adeh Josephine said: “The Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, CP Babaji Sunday, has dispatched additional tactical and conventional policing resources to UNIABUJA, main and satellite campuses as well as the staff quarters and other affiliate formations of the university, to fortify security, improve public safety and protect citizens in and around the university community.

“The CP gave the order, following a report that some yet-to-be-identified armed criminals invaded the UNIABUJA Staff Quarters located at the GIRI area of the FCT in the early hours of Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

“The CP noted that a combined team of the Police and personnel of the Nigerian Army 176 Guards Battalion were swiftly mobilized to the area to protect the citizens.

“Preliminary investigations, however, revealed that six persons were allegedly abducted and taken into the forest by the criminals on sighting the security operatives.

“The CP, while calling for calm, further noted that the security forces are already working with the locals in the area toward rescuing the victims. He assured that the perpetrators would be arrested and brought to book.

“On this note, the command pledges its undeterred resolve to ensure lives and properties of residents within the FCT are protected.”

Reacting to the incident yesterday, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described it as cowardly and demanded an unconditional release of the victims to reunite with their families members.

PDP reacts

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP described the banditry “which occurred within the precincts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s immediate security purview, just 16 kilometres from Aso Presidential Villa, as shocking and further shows the helplessness and failures of his administration.”

The statement read: “With this act of banditry in Abuja, Nigerians expect President Buhari, in line with his promise to lead from the fronts, to straightaway give himself a ‘marching order’ to rescue the victims, just as he gives to others whenever there are cases of security failures in commands outside of his security precincts

“The PDP however charges the security agencies not to relent in the face of the failures of the Buhari administration but rise up to the occasion, track down the bandits and rescue the victims.

“The party laments the persistent insecurity in the nation and urged all the citizens to be at alert and assist security agencies in their genuine efforts to secure the country under an incompetent administration.”

Similarly, gunmen, suspected to be bandits yesterday stormed Sabon Garin Bilbis area of in Faskari Local Government, killing two persons.

‘I would rather die than follow you’

One of those killed in the attack was a religious leader, identified as Malam Adamu, who is the Chief Imam of Bilbis village.

It was learned that the attack lasted about an hour, without any response from security Recall that telecoms service had been shut down in the area by the state government.

An eyewitness told Vanguard that the bandits came in large numbers, shooting sporadically to scare the villagers who fled into the bush to avoid being hit by stray bullets.

Another witness, who identified himself as Lawal Mamman, explained that the bandits met the Chief Imam in his farm with his labourers, dragged him to the bush but put up resistance due to leg injury.

Mamman said the bandits gave him the last warning to follow them or be killed instantly.

It was gathered that the Chief Imam said he would prefer to die than follow the bandits into the bush.

This was said to have led to an argument between him and the bandits who subsequently shot him dead on his farm.

Some of his labourers were also said to have sustained various degrees of injuries.

Spokesman of Katsina police command, SP Gambo Isah, could not be reached for comments yesterday but a senior officer attached to the command confirmed the attack.

Benue murderous gang

Meanwhile, after the mutilated corpse of an unidentified young lady, whose internal organs were reportedly harvested by her killers, was yesterday found by the Makurdi bridge in North Bank Area of the town, Benue State police command has raised concern over the activities of a criminal gang that specializes in murdering young women.

The development is coming on the heels of a similar incident when a 24-year-old graduate of Mass Communication was murdered and her remains dumped by the roadside in the same North Bank Area of the town.

The remains of the latest victim was picked by men of the State Police Command by the foot of the River Benue bridge.

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of the command, DSP, Catherine Anene, said the recovered corpse of the young lady was taken to the Makurdi Federal Medical Centre for autopsy, while the matter was being investigated.

The PPRO in a statement also advised parents and guardians to watch over their children and wards to save them from falling victim to the criminal elements.

The statement read: “the attention of Benue State Police Command has been drawn to a new trend of crime where some criminal elements deceive young women into hidden places and eventually kill them for reasons best known to them.

“The command is on a trail of these persons and will definitely apprehend them but this will be made easier by the cooperation of members of the public.

“Parents and guardians are also advised to watch over their children/wards to avoid such cases.”


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