The State Security Service (SSS) said on Tuesday some notorious kidnapping and terrorism suspects were arrested in separate operations across the country last week.
The first amongst those taken into custody was Lawal Mohammed (a.k.a.: Buba) who had been “a major financial and armourer” of a suspected kidnapping syndicate in Kogi State. He was arrested on March 23 in Japama, Obajana Local Government Area (LGA).
The SSS said the Basalube gang had been involved in several abductions in Rivers, Edo, Delta, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi and even the Federal Capital Territory for years.
Three mobile phones and 25 bottles of drugs were recovered from the suspects, the SSS said in a statement circulated by PRNigeria, a public relations firm for security agencies.
The operation, which was carried out jointly with the military, also led to the arrest of two other suspected members of the Basalube syndicate, it said. They were identified as Mohammed Tukur and Abubakar Ibrahim.
Mr. Tukur was identified as the coordinator of surveillance operations in the syndicate’s areas of operation.
The SSS also said a suspected reconnaissance operative for the Boko Haram was arrested on March 24 outskirts of Wudil in Wudil LGA, Kano State.
The agency said Sanusi Bello, believed to be carrying out surveillance activities for the extremist group in the area, was arrested with several handsets, multiple identity cards including those of a police constable and neighbourhood vigilante member and N37,857.
On March 23, in Lower Afesere, Ughelli North LGA, Delta State, another suspected kidnapper and senior member of the Basalube, Ali Abubakar was also arrested as he was “perfecting plans to carry out kidnap operations in Obajana, Kogi State,” the SSS said.
The secret police said a follow-up operation ended with the arrest of Abubakareem Idrisa, Bshir Uban Dawaki Tsoho, Sanusi Abubakar, Nuhu Muhammad and Abubakar Abdulhameed.
In Niger State, the SSS arrested Abubakar Danlansu in Dikko community. He was named as a weapon courier for Basalube. The suspect was arrested en-route Edo State on March 26 while conveying weapons to Obajana, Kogi State for the gang’s planned kidnap operations, the SSS said.
On March 23 at Skippers Fast Food, along Sani Abacha Expressway, Yenagoa, the SSS arrested Mathew Ekam for alleged complicity in the kidnap of Obianuju Onyema. The victim was abducted on March 12, 2018 and later released on March 18, the SSS said.
Mr. Ekam, 39, is a native of Ogoja, Cross River State and a driver of a heavy duty truck operating between Bayelsa and Rivers States, SSS said.
The agency said “the arrests of these suspects hold major significance for law and order and safety of persons.”
“It is instructive to note that the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers on the Lokoja-Okene and Abuja-Kaduna corridors have relatively reduced as a result of sustained counter operations of the Service and sister security agencies,” it said.
The SSS said the smashing and disruption of Basalube syndicate “will ostensibly result in the complete elimination of violent and other allied crimes in those regions.”
It appeals to citizens to continue to cooperate by providing information on suspicious activities anywhere they’re observed.
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