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Tension grips Lafia residents over incessant kidnapping, banditry

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By our correspondent, Lafia

Tension has griped the residents of Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital following the persistence activities of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and others criminals activities that have continued unabated in the state.

Investigation by our correspondent indicated that recently gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have reportedly murdered, Mr. Daniel Umaru-Lagi, the father of the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the State, Barrister Innocent Lagi.

It was gathered that the late Lagi was abducted on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 in Wamba, the headquarters of Wamba local government area of the state by yet to be identified gunmen.

It was learnt that the late Umaru-Lagi was killed on Sunday June 2, 2024 after undisclosed amount of ransom was paid to his abductors.

A family source who didn’t want his name in print confirmed the unfortunate incident to our correspondent in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital on Thursday, adding that the diseased was killed by some suspected gunmen believed to be kidnappers.

The family source further told our correspondent that the elder statesman spent some days in the hands of his abductors, saying that the kidnappers had refused to listen to their appeal despite the huge amount of ransom paid to them and still went ahead to murder him.

A similar incident that took place recently again in Shinge, Lafia local government area of the where some unidentified gunmen also believed to be kidnappers abducted the Nasarawa State Chairman of Butchers Association, Mr. Yunusa Mohammed-Goma and one other persons in the state.

Mr. Ahmed Sale-Matasa, the Chairman Lafia cattle market, who confirmed the unfortunate incident in a telephone interview with our correspondent, explained that the victims were abducted in Shinge, Lafia local government area of the state immediately after the Isha’i Prayer at about 7: 45 pm on Friday last week.

Mr. Sale-Matasa explained that the victims were kidnapped at the old popular Alami cattle market, adding that the victims and some of their business associates used to stay behind to observe their Isha’i prayers before retiring back to their various homes to join their families but unfortunately they couldn’t make it that night.

His words, “We where not far from the location of the incident when we head a sporadically gunshots in the air and on getting there only for us to be informed that Yunusa Mohammed-Goma, the state Chairman of Butchers Association and two other persons were abducted by yet to be identified marauding gunmen in the state, but one of victims who is the chief Imman of Friday Juma Mosqu escaped from the hands of their abductors.”

According to him, “Before the victims were kidnapped, the abductors started shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents of the area away, but unfortunately two innocent women resident at the area were hit by a straight bullets and were rushed to undisclosed hospital in the state for medical attention.”

An eye witness who preferred for anonymity told our correspondent that the suspected kidnappers came in their large numbers with a evy sophiscated weapons and hide their motorcycles from where the residents of the area could not sight at them while carrying their operations.

“The abducted persons were together with some of their business associates alongside two others women who were running away for their daer lives for the fear of being victims of circumstances but unfortunately they were hit by a straight bullets, and one of the persons who happened to be the Chief Imman Friday Mosque escaped from the hands of the abductors,” the source added.

Also kidnapped in the state by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers is a brother to a gubanatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Mr. Abdullahi Maidoya in the March 18, 2013 governorship election, Alhaji Hassan Dakachin Unguwar Wajen Rabo Lafia.

He was reportedly to have been kidnapped on Sunday June 2, 2024 at about 8:30 pm along Azuba community, Lafia local government area of the state.

It was gathered that before the victim was kidnaped was said to have been shot on the leg by his abductors.

Our correspondent also learnt that upon the incident one of his relatives who stays in Abuja ordered that he should be brought to Abuja for a medical attention.

It was gathered that a huge of undisclosed amount of ransom was paid to his abductors before he regained his freedom.

A family source told our correspondent that the victim who was acompanied by security operatives while on their way he sighted at the two of the kidnappers in Akwagan LGA and before the suspected kidnapers knew what was going on one of them was shot by the security agencies in the vehicle.
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An eye witness in Akwagan LGA informed our correspondent that the two suspected kidnappers were arrested while they were trying to escape.

In the main time the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nasarawa state command DSP Rahman Nansel had earlier this week confirmed the abduction of the state Chairman of Butchers Association, Mr. Yunusa Mohammed-Goma.

He said that the command was not informed on time, adding that the command got to no the about the incident around 8:40pm on that faithful day.

He, however, did not mentioned the numbers of persons that were abducted by the gunmen at that very moment if the incident, noting that the command has intensified effort to ensure that the victims are rescued on hurt.

“The command only got the information around 8:40pm and effort is ongoing to rescue all the victims,” he added.

However, our correspondent gathered that the state Chairman of Butchers Association, Mr. Yunusa Mohammed-Goma regained his freedom after spending some days in the hands of the kidnappers.

It was learnt that undisclosed amount was paid to the kidnappers before his released.

Comsequent, upon the incessant cases of kidnapping and banditry activities in the Lafia and its environ, including some others part of the state, the authority of Lafia Local Government Council, has imposed a dusk-to-dawn restriction on private and commercial motorcycle riders from 6 pm to 6 am, while tricycle riders are to operate from 8 pm to 6 am in the metropolis accordingly.

In a statement signed by, Mr. Aminu Mu’azu Maifata, the Executive Chairman of the council and obtained by our correspondent, said the security measures was taken to ensure public safety in Lafia Local Government and its environ targeting at forestalling further security breaches in the state.

Mr. Maifata who presided over the security meeting, explained that the dusk to dawn curfew on private, commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders in Nasarawa state was to reduce the activities of kidnapers and banditry.

Our correspondent also reports that, recently, there has been a spate of insecurity in Lafia and its environs, especially at night which heightened tension and palpable fears among residents of the state.

The rising activities of Kidnappers, car theft motorcycle snatchers and other crimes, such as phone and bag snatchers are reasons for the stringent action, as such tendencies lately become worrisome to the people.

Our correspondent gathered that there are instances, where some Okada riders were badly injured while engaging their passengers in a fight, while others were seen dead on the road and in most cases, for those found in cold blood, their bikes and other valuables are carted away.

This is just as the number of stolen cars within the period under review are many, while over 15 persons were separately kidnapped for ransom, our correspondent revealed.

According to the statement, the Council has approved the dusk-to-dawn restriction order to take immediate effect on Monday this week and stressed subsequent review of the security situation in the area and state as a whole.

He added that the development was part of the outcome of an emergency security meeting he held with critical stakeholders, including heads of security agencies, towards finding a lasting solution to the council’s security issue in recent times.

The statement reads in part: “Due to the current security situation in Lafia Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, the Executive Chairman, 𝐀𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐮 𝐌𝐮𝐚𝐳𝐮 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐚, has convened an expanded security council meeting. The meeting held on Monday at the Lafia Local Government Council office resulted in the following resolutions: restriction of motorcycle movement from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and restriction of tricycle movement from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

“These restrictions take effect from Monday, 3rd June 2024,” the statement added.

It, therefore, called for the cooperation of members of the public and other stakeholders to comply with the directive, saying “security agencies have been directed to ensure total compliance.”

The statement, however, urged traditional rulers, community leaders, and the residents to monitor the influx of people entering Lafia and to report suspicious individuals to security agencies for prompt action.

He warned that anyone caught to have breached the restriction order would face the full wrath of the law.

“Please take note and ensure total compliance to ensure the security of lives and properties, contributing to the progress and development of Nasarawa State,” it said.

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