Despite State of Emergency, car snatching thrives in Maiduguri

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents

A vehicle belonging to the Red Cross was nearly snatched Monday.

Despite the State of Emergency declared in Borno State, gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram, have defied the heavy security presence in Maiduguri, to snatch cars from unsuspecting motorists.

In the past one week, about five posh cars have been snatched from owners in broad daylight, residents have said.

The latest incident happened on Monday when three gunmen driving a Volkswagen Golf car attempted to snatch a sub-urban vehicle belonging to the Nigerian Red Cross at a filling station.

According to a witness, the Red Cross vehicle was saved by an inbuilt security device that caused the car to come to a stop after the snatchers had moved about 600 meters.

“They were three in number that came to the filling station and parked watching the two red cross vehicles taking fuel at Metro Filling station along Baga Road,” said a witness called Adamu Shafiu.

“When the first Red Cross “jeep” took fuel and left, two of the young men, about 18-years-old, came out with guns and asked everyone to lie down. One asked for the keys to the second Red Cross jeep, which the driver handed over to them. They entered the vehicle and drove off towards Bolori, while the Golf car followed them.

“After they had driven for some 600 meters, the car stopped. They tried starting the car but it seemed to have anti-theft security device installed on it. They had to abandon the Red Cross jeep and escaped in the Golf car.”

The spokesman of the Red Cross, Nwakpa Nwakpa, said he had not been briefed on the incident and would contact the officials in Maiduguri for details.

Security sources told PREMIUM TIMES that gunmen, believed to be Boko Haram members, have snatched over 500 cars between January and May this year.

“The cars were to be used in organising massive attack on Maiduguri and surrounding cities in June to commemorate the June 2009 killing of their spiritual leader and hundreds of their members,” said a security source who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on anonymity.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday last week declared a State of Emergency in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States, to check the activities of the Boko Haram and other criminal groups in the states.

Several insurgents have been killed since the declaration with scores of other arrested. The military said it is succeeding in its task to rid the states of the criminals.


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  • uae

    Oh Allah bring back peace to Borno and others,Ameen

  • Laxus

    How can they do such and claim the religion is all about peace

    • Bala R

      Kill all the Muslims. May be with that there wont be any troubles in this world. You silly.

  • sharpEyes

    “How Boko Haram Beheaded My Husband”
    (Nigerian Compass, May 21, 2013)

    FOUR years on, the tears have refused to dry. First noticed was a tear,
    followed by streams of it. Intermittently, she dabbed her face with a
    white handkerchief, but the tears refused to stop.

    For Veronica
    Ojih, the unending trauma is not just about the death of her husband,
    but the cruel manner in which it came: He was beheaded.

    At a
    point, she was lost in thoughts. When nudged and brought back to the
    present, she forced a smile. It was followed by another round of tears.

    The interview was brought to an abrupt end. By then, however, Veronica had said more than enough.

    No
    thanks to religious intolerance, Boko Haram members demanded that her
    husband and scores of other abducted persons renounce their religion for
    Islam. Pastor George Ojih refused.

    On 28 July 2009, after being
    brought before their leader Mohammed Yusuf who was later killed in
    Police custody, Pastor Ojih was decapitated.

    His widow, Veronica, recalled the circumstances that led to the killing in an interview with the Nigerian Compass yesterday.

    As
    a 20-year-old, Veronica got married to Ojih of the Good News
    Evangelical Ministry, Maiduguri, Borno State in 2001. She could not have
    known that she would become a widow just eight years after.

    Sadly, she became one on July 28, 2009 when Boko Haram’s Yusuf, and his deputy ordered that he be beheaded.

    The
    late George, who hailed from Orokam, Ogbadigo Local Government Area of
    Benue State, had spent most of his life preaching Christ. Though death
    was staring him right in the face in Yusuf’s camp at the Railway
    Quarters, Maiduguri, he held steadfast to his faith.

    He paid for his ‘intransigence’ with his life.
    Ojih left two children and his wife carrying a seven-month old pregnancy.

    “I
    met him in church in 2000 when I went to stay with my elder sister in
    Maiduguri,” Veronica, who was born in Kaduna but hails from the same
    local government as her late husband, told the Nigerian Compass.

    “He
    proposed to me in February 2001. By March we did our engagement. July
    was the traditional wedding and September 29, 2001 was the church
    wedding in Maiduguri.”

    The couple, who lived at L18, Low Cost
    Estate, Abbaganaram, Maiduguri, did not have their first child, a girl,
    until four years later. The second, a boy, came in 2006.

    Veronica was heavy with her third child in 2009 when tragedy struck.

    Her
    husband, who was doing a Masters course in Theology at the ECWA School
    in Jos, Plateau State, returned home on a Saturday for the weekend.

    They
    went to church the following day and were relaxing at home in their
    sitting room when a neighbour called to inform them that Boko Haram sect
    members had taken over the neighbourhood.

    She continued with
    what happened: “We started hearing gunshots. We peeped through the
    window and Yusuf’s sect members had surrounded the Low Cost building. We
    could see two or three standing in front of a flat but we were able to
    stay till the following morning.

    “On Monday morning, the tension
    was much; people had already started leaving so I called my husband and
    told him we had to move out

    “It took my husband some time to
    agree. He asked a neighbour that happened to be an elder in our church
    to drive me, the kids and his family to a safe place. My neighbour took
    us to a police station. But the place was already burnt and they didn’t
    really have arms again.

    “The sect members were approaching the
    Police station so since there was nothing the {olice could do, we had to
    jump over a fence. That Monday and Tuesday we slept in Jerusalem, in
    the house of one of our pastors.

    “On Tuesday, my husband and
    neighbour left to see what was happening in town. Shortly after they
    left, we started hearing gunshots. I started trying his number but it
    wasn’t connecting. None of their numbers was connecting. I was able to
    connect my neighbour on Wednesday morning.”

    It was the neighbour
    that later informed Veronica that they were apprehended by Boko Haram
    members when they returned to the Low Cost Estate.

    “They took
    them to the camp of Mohammed. On reaching there, they collected their
    phones, tied their hands and legs and laid them on their backs facing
    up. They were telling them to denounce Christ and accept Islam. My
    husband being who he was, stood his ground and said he was not going to
    accept Islam.

    “He was preaching to the Christians not to deny Christ. Some people could not stand the torture so they recanted.