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Kidnapping Of Five Sisters Sparks Outcry In Nigeria

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Kidnapped five sisters with their father

The violent abduction of five young Nigerian sisters near Abuja has sparked a national outcry and raised fears about insecurity in the country’s capital.

The sisters were kidnapped at the start of the year by armed men who burst into their home just 15 miles (25 kilometres) from Abuja city centre, a family member told AFP.

She said the attackers killed one of the sisters, 21-year-old Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, when a ransom deadline passed. Negotiations were ongoing for the release of the others.

Kidnapping for ransom has been a major problem in Nigeria with criminal gangs targeting highways, apartments and even snatching pupils from schools.

After public outrage over the sisters’ case this week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu condemned what he called the “recent spate of kidnappings and bandit attacks”.

First Lady Remi Tinubu also voiced concern, while politicians and the media questioned the government’s strategy after gangs targeted parts of the heavily guarded Federal Capital Territory, which is as big as some states but run by a minister rather than a governor.

One tabloid declared at the weekend that Abuja was “under siege”.

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The Nigerian risk consultancy SBM Intelligence told AFP it had documented 283 people abducted in the Federal Capital Territory alone over the past year.

Some experts believe the country’s economic crisis is driving a rise in kidnappings as desperate Nigerians turn to crime for income.

SBM analyst Confidence MacHarry said insecurity around the capital has been growing for years.

“It’s been getting worse for some time,” he said, citing a 2022 attack on a prison on the outskirts of Abuja as a landmark moment.

Gunmen bombed their way into Kuje jail and freed hundreds of inmates in the raid claimed by Islamic State-allied jihadists.

The minister for the Federal Capital Territory has urged residents not to panic and promised to find a solution.

MacHarry said the government needed a consistent approach and warned periodic crackdowns on criminals in Abuja’s satellite towns were not working.

“All the bandits have to do is lie low and buy themselves time,” he said.

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Nigerian law bans paying ransom to kidnappers, but many families have little faith in the authorities and feel they have no choice.

On the night the sisters were abducted, they were at home in Bwari inside the Federal Capital Territory, according to a cousin.

Asiya Adamu, 23, described how the attackers known as “bandits” in Nigeria struck at around 9 pm on January 2.

They demanded cash but the sisters’ father Mansoor had nothing to give and offered his belongings instead.

The attackers rounded up his daughters along with a cousin and tied their hands. They also took Mansoor captive and beat the seven family members before leading them away, Adamu said.

They shot Mansoor’s brother dead when he tried to help, and several police officers were killed in a gun battle, she said.

Mansoor was released on condition he raise a large ransom within days but the struggling family could not meet the deadline and the bandits killed Nabeeha, returned her body, and increased the fee, Adamu said.

The family is still trying to negotiate, even after raising the new total thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign and the intervention of a former minister.

Adamu said the youngest of the sisters is just 14.

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Her account has been confirmed by politicians. Police acknowledged the “abduction of six young girls” and said a rescue was underway, but told AFP they could not provide details for security reasons.

Tinubu came to office last year vowing to tackle Nigeria’s insecurity, including jihadists in the northeast, criminal militias in the northwest and a flareup of intercommunal violence in central states.

But critics say the kidnapping crisis is out of control.

Opposition politician Peter Obi said, “The fact that these kidnappings, killings and other reported cases of armed robbery and violent attacks are now taking place in Abuja, the nation’s capital, is a clear pointer to how insecure the rest of the country now is.”

“The trauma being experienced by this family and the blood of this innocent child should prick our conscience as leaders,” he said.

The president said he plans to address the root causes of the violence through education, but did not outline a precise strategy.

Abductions became a major problem in Nigeria in the 2000s and are now a lucrative industry.

The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram jihadists made global headlines in 2014, but daily abductions rarely gain attention.

“Every day now you hear about a new kidnapping, even whole families,” said Adamu.

She described Nabeeha as “smart, sweet and kind,” saying she had just finished university and was looking forward to her graduation.

“Nobody deserves this,” Adamu said. “It shouldn’t be happening to anyone.”

AFP

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JUST IN: One Missing, 15 Rescued In Boat Accident 

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Not less than 15 people were rescued this evening from the scene of a boat accident in Lagos, where a passenger ferry collided with an unexpected shoreline concrete at a construction site near the power line corridor at the Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge.

Although one person was still missing as of the time the report was filed.

In a statement by the management of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), one of the passengers was said to have sustained an injury, while another is yet to be accounted for.

In a statement signed by Wuraola Alake of the Public Relations Unit of LASWA, said officers from the Search and Rescue Unit of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Police Force and other relevant agencies were still at the incident location carrying out further rescue Operations.

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Part of the statement reads: “At about 6.50pm today Wednesday 21, 2024, an Ibeshe bound passenger ferry named Tee Ben having departed from Addax jetty, had a collusion with an unforeseen shoreline concrete at a construction site around the power line corridor at the Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge.

“About 15 out of the 17 passengers said to be on board this boat have been rescued, with one casualty confirmed, while rescue efforts are still ongoing as at the time of writing this statement.

“Officers from the Search and Rescue Unit of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Police Force and other relevant agencies were still at the incident location carrying out further rescue operations.”

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Pastor, Five Others To Die By Hanging For Robbery

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An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital has sentenced six persons to death over their involvement in bank robberies which took place in Akure and Idanre in 2011.

The convicts include a pastor, Adewale Adelu, and five others – Ikechuckwu Maduagwu, Fayemi Olubusuyi, Ropo Adeleye, Dele Otopka, and Bayo Omotosho.

They were found guilty of robbing two commercial banks in Akure and Idanre on November 19 and December 8, 2011 in Akure and Idanre respectively.

They were arrested by the men of the state police command and were charged to court.

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The court delivered the judgement on Tuesday.

When the trial began, the convicts were arraigned before the court on four-count charge bothering on conspiracy, armed robbery, and illegal possession of firearms and were later remanded in Olokuta Correctional Centre.

The prosecuting counsel, F.K Salami, told the court that the convicts and others were “armed with AK 47 guns, dynamite, and other weapons at Oyemekun Road, Akure, conspired to attack and robbed a branch of Diamond Bank Plc, after which they went away with a sum of N30million and different brand of phones, including other valuable property.

“The convicts on December 8, 2011, at 2 pm, were also alleged to have robbed First Bank Plc at Yaba Road, Idanre, where they carted away another sum of N4million.”

According to the prosecution, “the offences contravene Sections 6b, 1 2a, and b of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R11, Vol. 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

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There were arguments from both the prosecuting and defence counsel at various court proceedings on the matter while witnesses were also invited to the court to testify.

In the judgment of Justice Yemi Fasanmi, on Tuesday, the court held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge also said the defendants were unanimous in their confessions and the role each of them played in the robberies.

To this end, Justice Fasanmi “sentenced all the defendants to death by hanging in each of the counts.”

A Court in Akure had earlier sentenced a man, Gbenga Akintola, to 21 years imprisonment for involvement in robbery.

Akintola was apprehended by the Amotekun command and the police in Ondo town in 2021 for using dangerous weapons such as cutlasses to rob three individuals of their money and valuables.

He was later charged and brought before the court on five counts, including conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery.

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Court Remands Anambra Lawyer For Brutalising Maid

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The Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court sitting at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Awka, has remanded a lawyer, Adachukwu Okafor, at the State Criminal and Investigative Department custody in Awka, for allegedly inflicting physical injuries on the body of her 11-year-old housekeeper.

Okafor, who resides at Chris Igwilo Street Akapka GRA, 3-3 Onitsha of Anambra State, was arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court presided by Genevieve Osakwe, in Awka, on Wednesday on two counts.

Okafor allegedly used various objects like a broken bottle, knife, and electric iron to harm her house help in response to an incident involving her daughter.

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The two-count borders mainly on willful infliction of physical injuries on the body of one Happiness Nwafor, an offence punishable under Section 4(1) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 2017.

The charge was read and interpreted to the defendant to the court’s satisfaction; the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Okafor, who was reportedly said to be on the run, surrendered herself to the Anambra Police Command in Awka, after the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, had placed an N2m bounty on anyone who knew her whereabouts.

Meanwhile, a bail application was made by the defendant’s counsel, Chijioke Nwankwo, but the bail was denied by the court and the matter was adjourned till February 28, 2024, for ruling.

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Speaking to journalists after the court’s session, the defendant’s counsel, Chijioke Nwankwo, when asked why it took his client time to report to the police, stated that he was unaware of any bounty placed on Okafor.

He explained that he was only contacted for the job and he immediately took the defendant to the police.

He, however, complained that the state Ministry of Women and Social Welfare is already doing trial by ordeal, which he noted is not in the best interest of the case.

The victim, an 11-year-old, had since been discharged from the hospital and made an appearance in court too.

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Reacting to the development, the Anambra State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, stated that she trusts the court to do justice.

Obinabo also revealed that her ministry would soon embark on media sensitisation programme, during which Anambra residents would be educated and fully enlightened about the dangers and negative consequences of child abuse.

She said, “We advise members of the public to shun all forms of social vices in the society, especially, those vices that endanger the life of a child; and we called on everyone to be agents of positive social change.”

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