Insecurity: Eight killed as violent attacks across Nigeria last week drop

NIGERIA: Nigerian police force
Nigerian police force used to illustrate the story

Violent attacks reduced drastically across Nigeria last week. Eight persons were killed across the country while there were only four reported kidnap cases.

This is the lowest in the last 10 weeks that PREMIUM TIMES have been tracking the number of dead and kidnap victims in violent attacks across the country.

This newspaper reported how 282 were killed last month. However, there was no major attack, such as mass kidnap cases and bomb attacks by Boko Haram. In fact, states known for violence were relatively safe.

The major attacks last week claimed the lives of four police officers. Three of these officers were shot by soldiers who also allegedly rescued a kidnap suspect from the custody of the police.

While the Nigerian Army said the soldiers mistook the police for kidnappers, Nigerians are demanding answers to how the suspect arrested by police escaped.

There were also two cases of extrajudicial killings.

Sunday:

The traditional ruler of Obom Autonomous Community in Agbogugu, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, Sunday Orji, was kidnapped with his wife.

They were kidnapped along the Enugu-Portharcourt expressway near Ogbaku town on Sunday around 5 p.m.

The police spokesman in Enugu State, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the incident.

Also, kidnappers reportedly killed one Kaduna Living Faith Church Pastor, Jeremiah Omilewa, along Kaduna-Abuja highway.

The late pastor was returning from Abuja with his wife and his son on Sunday evening when the kidnappers forced their vehicle to stop and seized them.

The wife and son were also abducted.

Monday:

Gunmen on Monday shot dead a police inspector, identified as Lasisi, while he was on patrol duty along Isua-Ise Akoko Road in Akoko South East Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The attackers, whose identity was not known, emerged from a nearby bush and opened fire on policemen attached to Isua Divisional Police Station as they manned a checkpoint.

Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident and said the men of the command were already on the trail of the hoodlums while an investigation into the matter had begun.

Wednesday:

The police on Wednesday announced the killing of three officers and severe injuries on other personnel after Nigerian soldiers opened fire on a police team in Taraba.

The incident occurred along Ibi-Jalingo Road, police said. The officers were of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

Felix Adolije, an assistant police superintendent, led the officers to the state to arrest a suspected kidnap kingpin whom the police identified as ‘Alhaji Hamisu.’

The police officers “came under sudden attack and serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army,” police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said in a statement.

The officers were taking Mr Hamisu to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo when the soldiers opened fire on them “despite sufficient proof that they are police personnel on legitimate duty,” the police said.

A civilian was also killed alongside the inspector and two sergeants by the soldiers, while an undisclosed number of others sustained injuries.

“The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run,” the police said.

The police identified Mr Hamisu as a notorious kidnap kingpin who has been on the police wanted list for his alleged complicity in several high-profile kidnap cases, including the recent abduction of an oil dealer in Taraba State.

The oil dealer, who was not named in the police statement, paid N100 million to regain his freedom, police said.

Inspector-General Muhammad Adama has ordered an urgent investigation into “the bizarre and unfortunate incident,” Mr Mba, a deputy police commissioner, added in the statement.

In their defence, the Army said the soldiers who perpetrated the attack mistook the police for kidnappers. They were silent on how the suspect arrested by police with handcuff escaped.

Many Nigerians are demanding answers from the Army.

Ajayi Johnson, a soldier shot Chimaobi Nwaogu a motorcyclist of Umuokereke-Ngwa, Obingwa Local Government Area, on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson, a lance corporal, was said to be away without official leave when the incident occurred near a military base in Ohanze community, according to a spokesperson for the 82 Division, Aliyu Yusuf.

Witnesses accused the soldier of opening fire after Mr Nwaogu allegedly failed to pay a N100 bribe at the military checkpoint.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army on Saturday announced that Mr Johnson had bee arrested.

Saturday:

A 30-year-old tailor, Busayo Owoodun, was killed by a stray bullet on Saturday when police opened fire after they were attacked by hoodlums in Ijegun, Lagos.

The Anti-Kidnapping Squad attached to ‘M’ Command, Idimu, were said to be on the trail of some kidnap suspects when the hoodlums allegedly attacked them along Ijegun-Isolo road.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bala Elkana, said the Commissioner of Police, Muazu Zubairu, had order investigation into the incident.

“A stray bullet hit one Busayo Owoodun. The gang with the support of some notorious cultists in the area, attacked the police team and injured the leader, ASP Victor Ugbegun, and two others who are currently in critical condition at the intensive care unit of a hospital.

“With reinforcements from Operations Department, Rapid Response Squads, Task Force, and neighbouring divisions we were able to contain the situation and take the injured officers to hospital.”

“The command has launched a manhunt of the assailants with a view to bringing them to justice. The corpse of the victim of the stray bullet was taken to hospital for autopsy. The Commissioner of Police has ordered a full investigation into the case.”

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