Ex-militants, militiamen invade Lagos

There are strong indications that jobless Ijaw/Ilaje ex-militants as well as militiamen may have invaded Lagos, and are responsible for the various recent acts of kidnappings, robberies and other criminal activities in the state.

Impeccable sources in the police and the Department of State Services, who spoke with Saturday PUNCH on the condition of anonymity, said available intelligence suggested that some of the ex-militants, whose source of livelihood was lost after President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled their pipeline protection contracts, were responsible for the recent upsurge of crime rate in the state.

A senior DSS official told Saturday PUNCH that the police and other security agencies had been finding it difficult to control the proliferation of firearms in the possession of the ex-militants.

It was learnt that some of the ex-militants and militiamen responsible for protecting pipelines during former Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had turned to kidnapping and robberies to make money.

He said, “Since abduction seems to be profitable and less risky, jobless ex-militants and militia group members seem to have found a lucrative business in the kidnapping of hapless citizens.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had awarded contracts to six companies to guard pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The pipeline security and surveillance contract, said to have been worth N9.3bn, was carried out between March 15 and June 15, 2015.

The pipeline surveillance contract was awarded to companies owned by former Niger Delta militants, self-determination groups and prominent Nigerians including Government Tompolo Ekpumopolo, Mujaheedin Asari-Dokubo, Ateke Toms, Bipobiri Ajube and Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf).

Others are the company of the founder of Oodua Peoples Congress, Fredrick Fasehun and OPC national co-ordinator, Gani Adams.

The operational areas for the companies were: Egbe Security River One (Bayelsa), Gallery Security (Mosinmi-Ore), Close Body Protection (Edo), Adex Energy Security (Rivers), Donyx Global Concept (Lagos and Ogun), Oil Facilities Surveillance (Delta) and New Age Global Security (Mosinmi-Ibadan).

However, President Buhari did not renew the pipeline protection contracts awarded to OPC and other militia groups by the Jonathan administration.

Lagos State has witnessed series of robbery attacks between last year and now.

There have also been cases of kidnapping, the latest being the abduction of three schoolgirls from the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, on Monday.

A gang of robbers on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, attacked two new generation banks in the Ikorodu area of the state.

The robbers were said to have trailed a bullion van to the premises of one bank in the Ogolonto area of the town before moving to another bank after they were done with the first.

The police reportedly engaged in a gun battle with the robbers but they managed to escape via a speedboat after burning the vehicle which conveyed them to the scene of the crime.

Also, no fewer than 40 armed robbers invaded two commercial banks in Festac Town, Lagos, on October 13, 2015, reportedly carting away a huge sum of money.

About 20 armed robbers, wearing military camouflage also attacked five banks in Agbara Industrial Estate in Ogun State in November last year.

Also, detectives attached to Igando Police Station on Iba Road, Lagos State, recently arrested two men who they alleged had just arrived from Niger Delta via the waterway to carry out a bank robbery. The suspects, identified as Chinedu Okoro and Keme Patrick, were said to have been planning the robbery for Friday of that week.

According to security sources, one of the strong points of the development is that the assailants are heavily armed because of the proliferation of arms in the country.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, could not be reached for comments on the efforts being made by the police to apprehend and disarm ex-militants and other crime gangs across the country….

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Abductors of Lagos students behind past killings of security operatives, bank robberies

Last Monday’s abduction of three female students from their hostel at the Babington  Macaulay Junior Seminary (BMJS), Ikorodu,  has exposed the inability of security agents in Lagos State to curb the activities of pipeline vandals operating in the Arepo, Ogun State, close to Ikorodu, Lagos.   The vandals who are mainly militants from the Niger Delta, had held sway for a long   time in the area and it’s environ as they masterminded the vandalism of pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and siphoned the contents within Arepo. They are also behind the incessant bank robberies in Lekki, Ikorodu, Festac and Agbara areas of Lagos and Ogun States, during which they carted large sums of money and killed   several residents including policemen.

Impenetrable camp 

Security sources disclosed to Crime Guard that the vandals led by one General Ossy, may be keeping the school girls in one of    their camps, known as Fatola camp in Arepo which   has served as a fortress to the militants for a long time. Security agents including policemen, DSS NSCDC, Navy etc who had attempted to invade the camp in the past were ambushed and killed in the process   thereby making it a no-go-area for security personnel.

Investigations conducted by Crime Guard revealed   that the vandals had resorted to kidnapping following the recent clamp down on top members of the gang by operatives of the Inspector- General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT,   after they carried out series of bank robberies.   They were said to have invaded the school which is owned by the Lagos Anglican Dioceses, shooting indiscriminately  before abducting the school girls who were in their hostel preparing for test.     The vandals who left the scene in an SUV were said to have also abducted a middle-aged staff of MTN   within Arepo on the same day and a ransom of N4.5million was paid before he was released by 3am, two days later.

Attack at Owutu Model school   Residents   of the area told   Crime Guard that the vandals had, a week ago, invaded Government Senior   Model College in Owutu, Ikorodu , and attempted to kidnap some students but   were repelled   by the   house master who refused to allow them gain access into the student’s hostel.     It was reliably gathered that the boys were asleep when the armed men invaded the premises and were making frantic efforts to gain access into the hostel through one of the windows when the house master identified simply as Mr. Hector, came out from his room to challenge them.

Attack on House Master

He was said to have initially mistaken the suspects to be students of the college from the main hostel block until he was ordered to open the hostel for them “to choose the number of boys” they wanted. Sensing danger, the house master reportedly refused but little did he know that the invaders were more in number. According to our source, “the house master was subsequently manhandled and mercilessly beaten up with plank and other weapons during which his hands were tied with rope. He was abandoned on the suspicion that he was dead.

However, the male students in the hostel who had earlier been woken up by his cry of anguish during the encounter with the invaders made attempts to unlock the door and troop out, but it was gathered that even in his state, the house master was shouting and asking the students not to come out. The suspected kidnappers later left the premises through the same route they had come in without the school security men at the main gate knowing what was going on. Few seconds after, the fleeing invaders reportedly fired gun shots possibly to ward off any confrontation.

Difficulty in stemming operations of vandals

The renewed efforts by the vandals to abduct defenceless civilians for ransom has exposed the inability of security operatives to completely stem their operations.   Some security operatives   who spoke with Crime Guard   highlighted that vandals could no longer carry out large scale bank robberies   like what they did in   March 2013, when they raided a bank in Lekki, killed three policemen and two civilians and carted away large sum of money.  In November, 2015, the same gang struck at a bank in Agbara area of Ogun State, killing two mobile policemen and carting away large sums of money. In June 2015, the vandals raided banks in Ikorodu, carting away unspecified amount of money.

It was   gathered that the robbers attacked the banks located at Ipakodo- Ebute, near Ogolonto in Ikorodu. They were said to have used speed boats in accessing the community after which they raided the two banks in the area. While the police were busy spreading their dragnets to track the fleeing bandits, no fewer than forty members of the gang invaded two banks at 4th Avenue, Festac area of Lagos state few weeks later and carted away huge sums of money. A nursing mother and her child were killed during the operation.

Previous encounter

Crime Guard investigations revealed that previous clashes between security operatives who had attempted to invade the strong hold of the vandals recorded many casualties on the part of the security operatives. In May 2014, nine Policemen attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Anti  Vandalism were kidnapped and killed by the vandals when they attempted to visit the scene of a pipeline explosion in Arepo pipeline, Ogun State.   The policemen were said to have boarded a canoe and were last seen heading into the creek. Their corpses were yet to be recovered as at the time of filling this report.

 Litany of woes

In the same vein, in January 2015, three officials of   Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, were killed while 10 others sustained severe injuries when they had a confrontation with the vandals in Abule Ishawo and Tappa areas of Ikorodu, close to Arepo. The 10 officials who survived the attack were rescued by a reinforced team comprising the military and NSCDC   operatives. After that incident, the vandals chased some NSCDC officials who escaped from the scene to Owutu Police Station where they ran into and opened fire on some policemen on guard, killing two on the spot while two other civilians were also killed.   The vandals were said to have carted away four Ak47 rifles from the police station before escaping.

Massacre of SARS, DSS teams

Few days after, the vandals struck at four banks in Ijede and Ipakodun areas of Ikorodu.  Some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, were deployed to Ikorodu to combat the menace of the robbers, but in one of their operations, four of it’s operatives were ambushed and killed and their corpses were taken away.    Subsequently,   in September 2015, nine operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, were killed while they attempted to rescue a kidnapped victim from the hands of the vandals.

The vandals were said to have ambushed the operatives at Konu, a border town Arepo, Ogun State while tracking a telephone number used by the vandals in negotiating the ransom between the victim’s relative. The corpses of the operatives are yet to be recovered as at the time of filling this report.

Futile efforts

So far, efforts by both the state government and security agencies in the state to end the activities of the vandals have been stalled owing to lack of proper synergy. Investigations by Crime Guard also revealed that the families of the abducted school girls may end up paying ransom for their safe release as it may be difficult for security agents to attempt to rescue the girls owing to the seemingly impenetrable camp the gang uses. They easily overwhelm security operatives who appear helpless.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/03/revealed/


As mind-boggling revelations of corrupt practices continue to dominate newspaper headlines and more of our stolen resources are being unearthed, I have become indifferent to news about corruption. I have also resolved not to listen to the depressing news of the mindless looting of our commonwealth.

Nowadays, I flip newspaper pages or change TV or radio channels when corruption is mentioned. You can accuse me of living in denial of the reality of my country, but that is the only way to stay sane these days.

As a citizen, I have always known that corruption is a way of life in this part of the world- a part of our cultural DNA. We are so corrupt that we will need more than the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to remove this cankerworm that is threatening our existence as a nation.

We will have to live with the consequences of our corrupt ways. The tell-tale signs are already visible. With broken institutions and a faltering economy, this monster has come back to haunt to us.

As the Muhammadu Buhari administration continues its fight against corruption, the President must have realised that it will not be a walk in the park, after all. Corruption will not just go away because Buhari is at the helms of the affairs of the country. On the contrary, it will fight back because it has become a part of us.

A Dutch journalist, who worked in Nigeria some years ago, once painted a stark picture of corruption when he was asked to propose a solution to the Nigerian variant of the social evil. The journalist had said that the country could begin anew only if all Nigerians are wiped off this geographical space by a tidal wave. While his solution may be in the extreme or impossible, it portrayed the enormity of the problem and may just as well be the solution to a problem that seems embedded in our gene as a people. That is why I do not envy President Buhari.

As we have seen in the past, corruption fights back in such a way that it even consumes those fighting against it. It deploys different strategies to fight back. First, it uses its foot soldiers to start a campaign of calumny against those who want to dislodge it. If it does not succeed, it whips up primordial sentiments. Corrupt people will always claim that the current anti-corruption war is targeted at them because of where they come from or the religion they practice.

Soon Buhari will discover that he is standing alone in the fight against corruption. In the end, he will realize that the real enemies are those whom he thought were his supporters. Those who have robbed our country blind will not want to be picked up easily, prosecuted and hauled to jail. They won’t allow anyone to separate them from their loot, which they have stashed away in local and foreign bank accounts. But our country can win this war if we resolve to renounce our corrupt ways.

However, the President must begin the purge from his administration. Look at the issue of the budget, for example. The recent scandal around the budget has rudely awakened Nigerians to the reality that bureaucracy is still as corrupt as ever, even with Buhari in power. Will the civil service just change from its old ways overnight? Is the civil service establishment not peopled by the same characters that have supervised some of the worst and corrupt administrations since Independence? Even the Presidency, which should be at the forefront of the anti-corruption crusade, is not left out of the budget padding episode. This shows that corruption is alive and well.

Needless to say, the scandal has been a major embarrassment to the change mantra of the Buhari administration. I strongly recommend that the President speak to Nigerians about the budget fiasco. We need to know how the padded figures escaped his close scrutiny and were eventually presented to the National Assembly.

The bureaucracy is still enmeshed in corruption, it must be purged. To think that the Presidency also padded its budget, as reflected in its outrageous estimation, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Civil servants have mastered the art of budget padding and they have survived all governments in power. Even with Buhari in power, they are not willing to change their old ways. Why the estimates were not verified before being packaged as part of proposed budgetary spending for 2016 beats the imagination. And to think that the budget was even presented by the President himself makes the whole drama puzzling.

In Nigeria, old habits die hard. Corruption is not limited to the public sector. The private sector is also incurably corrupt. In spite of the financial regulations guiding monetary transactions, bankers still find a way to collude with politicians to defraud the country.

At a time in this country, almost all the bank executives had corruption charges leveled against them. Many of the cases are still pending today. The question that I have always asked is: Who is not corrupt in our country today? Isn’t it true that the reason why we defend corrupt persons is because we are in one way or another the beneficiaries of their loot? Are we not going to be better off if we all join hands to rid our country of corruption?

In today’s Nigeria, all institutions that should be in the vanguard against corruption are enmeshed in corruption. The judiciary has been accused of aiding corrupt individuals through different legal technicalities employed to block justice. Lawyers are in a dance of shame to procure justice by all means to clients even when they are guilty as charged.

Already, we have seen what the profligacy of the past years has brought us. All our public institutions that used to be enviable are now broken. Nothing demonstrates the impact of corruption on our country than the state of public education. Now Nigerians send their children to schools in neighboring African countries and universities abroad because our public schools are in bad shape. Health care, roads and other infrastructure have fallen to the scourge of corruption.

According to data from 2016 Best Countries ranking, Nigeria is perceived to be the most corrupt among 60 countries evaluated. The rankings are a characterization of 60 countries based on a survey of more than 16,000 people from four regions. How long can we continue when the wealth of the country is in the hand of only a few elite and more than 100 million or 70 percent of the population lives in abject poverty? As a country, we have paid a huge price already and it’s about time that we resolved the curse of corruption or we may just cease to exist as a nation.

Follow me on twitter: @bayoolupohunda

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As Buhari battles treasury looters By Chris Okotie

These, certainly, are not the best of times for the grex venalium (the venal crowd) popularly known by ordinary Nigerians as treasury looters. The ongoing battle by President Muhammadu Buhari against this corrupt cabal who have held this nation hostage for years leaves no one in doubt that it is no longer business as usual for politicians of fortune.

It is a mistake to assume that this is President Buhari’s private battle to clean the Augean stable. Rather, it should be seen as a determined effort to right the wrongs of the bad leadership which has been the bane of Nigeria’s development for decades.

Previous attempts to fight corruption were somehow symptomatic but the present government has, apparently, adopted a strong, pathological approach that aims to get to the root of the matter, which is why every Nigerian should give the President a total support. What is being done now, if carried to its logical conclusion, would free the country from the labyrinth of a deeply entrenched tribe of Machiavellian politicians whose sole purpose for seeking power is to loot our common patrimony.

When former President Goodluck Jonathan emerged on the scene, he came across as a power-shy, harmless politician on whose shoulders Providence placed the leadership of this great nation at a critical period in our political evolution. His moving story of grass to grace, with the memorable line that he went to school like many Nigerians without shoes, caught the attention of the electorate who gave him the mandate in his first-ever quest to seek elective office in 2011.

Once on the presidential seat in that enclave called Aso Rock, we saw a different Jonathan altogether. Never has a President in this country come to power with such level of goodwill and blow it just as fast as Jonathan. Perhaps, overwhelmed by the demands of office, or ill-prepared for its challenges, the first president from a southern minority exhibited poor governing capacity and inherent weakness unbecoming of the leader of a huge country like ours. He had to be goaded to act with firmness when occasion demanded, which was why he virtually lost control of his Presidency to his cronies. His appointees and associates went about looting the public treasury with unprecedented impunity; not even the intermittent public outrage moved President Jonathan to sanction them. And when he did, it was either too little or too late. Corrupt ministers were relieved of their posts with slaps on the wrist, while nothing was done about their loot. With the current anti-corruption saga, we can now understand why Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party cohorts spared no expenses to buy themselves back to power. This time however, the fairy tale run of good luck failed them.

The hapless President was sent packing. Serendipity was out of the kilter!

That era of impunity ended suddenly, but we cannot just sweep what happened during the PDP government under the carpet. Regardless of who is involved, justice must be done to send a clear message that leaders must be accountable even after they leave office. I perceive that this is what President Buhari is trying to prove, that is why I support him.

The charge of selective prosecution and the ethnic or religious card being played by some to discredit this anti-corruption war is nothing but a mischievous charade. Those arrested for suspected corrupt practices cut across the party, ethnic and religious divides. Nigerians must therefore not fall for the antics of the venal rich, who are fighting back, using propaganda to win sympathy.

One is however, constrained to raise this point because of a public statement credited to Anthony Cardinal Okogie in which the Catholic prelate expressed reservations about the government’s philosophy in prosecuting the anti-corruption war vis-a-vis the rule of law and his perceived thinking that other governance issues were not being addressed as should. The Cardinal is entitled to his opinion, but there is no factual evidence to support this claim.

The venerable Cardinal is unappreciative of the dialectics of change within the Nigerian context. The Nigerian scenario is indicative of an aberration embedded in our political genes. Whereas politics and economics are sociological kinsmen, yet politics maintains an ascendancy over economics in practical realities. The hoi polloi determine the political leadership but economic superintendence is the prerogative of the elite. Nigeria’s existential bane is not lack of professors in mantled academia, nor is it a paucity of economic knowledge in the geopolitical arena. Rather, it is leadership, leadership and yet leadership. Ad nauseam!

Leadership is the terra-firma upon which the citadel of progress can be erected. If the foundation be destroyed by corruption, what then can the righteous do? It is my founded expectation that the respected cardinal would urge the government to probe the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and other pseudo religious organisations who acquired their fabricated titles under spurious Christian nomenclature.

If Attahiru Bafarawa was the accredited agent of the Muslim prayers welfare package, who then collected on behalf of the multitudes of Christians? Who? Who is that Christian proboscis whose insidious suction availed himself of billions of naira on behalf of the followers of Christ? Who is that Judas? Maybe, Judases? What about a prominent pastor’s one-plane airline becoming the surreptitious instrumentality for some covert military operations involving over $9m in South Africa? All sacred cows must become secularised.

Government must ascertain the scope of pecuniary inducement that informed their political alignments in the 2015 elections. What an irony that those who should scrupulously guide the people are themselves poisoning the water from which the flock will drink.

Corruption is a hydra-headed monstrosity that must be confronted by the gladiators of righteousness. For indeed, he who dares to face his Maker will not tremble before the sons of men. Satis verborum!

We must understand that even if the law is an ass, corrupt folks must not be allowed to ride it out of the dragnet of the law when apprehended.

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