Disturbed by the economic sabotage and slow pace of developmental progress in Nigeria, particularly in the northwest as a result of murderous activities of armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, amongst other sundry criminalities, the Nigerian Navy has decided to come to the rescue by weeding off criminal elements within its areas of responsibilities. The capacity of Nigerian Navy personnel is tailored primarily toward providing security in the marine environment as against the Nigerian army whose training bias is land dominated while the Nigerian Air Force is tilted toward the air. Nonetheless, the Nigerian Navy unlike the fish that cannot survive or function effectively outside marine habitat, has done even better on land. Only recently, the Nigerian Navy handed over arrested criminals to Department of State Security for further investigation and prosecution with the view to restoring the needed peace and tranquillity for economic boom and sustainable development in the troubled northwest.

While the pirates, sea robbers and crude oil thieves are migrating from Nigerian waters and by extension the Gulf of Guinea due to the vigilance and gallantry of NN personnel, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers making lives unbearable in northwest are now at the receiving end of the NN onslaught against criminal elements in the zone. It was over 4 months continuous surveillance of some dangerous criminal syndicates operating in Kachia and other parts of Kaduna State that the Nigerian Navy was able to conduct simultaneous surgical operations that led to the arrest of these criminals in various locations. The Commandant, Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology, Rear Admiral Tanko Yakubu Pani in a statement said the arrest was made possible through effective intelligence network in various locations within Kaduna State. He disclosed that some of the bandits were caught in isolated forests where they were hibernating, while others were caught in hotels and their houses. The arrested criminals he said include Abubakar Duguri alias Kure, Saleh Magaji alias Bodori, Idris Iliyasu, AuwalYahyah, and Monore Abu. Others are Mohammed Wakili, Tanimu Ibrahim alias Sambo, AbdullahiAdamu alias Yellow and Umar Alhassan. He further averred that these criminals were responsible for various criminal activities such as kidnapping, armed banditry and cattle rustling in Kachia and other parts of the State.

The Commandant Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology enumerated various items recovered from them which they use for their nefarious operations to include weapons, motorbikes and military camouflage uniforms, amongst others. While revealing that some victims of the criminals that were unable to meet their demands were instantly killed while others were either maimed or injured, Admiral Pani noted that some of the female victims were raped. He said that the handing over of the criminals to the Department of State Services for profiling and further investigation was in line with the mandate of Operation Yaki the Kaduna State Internal Security Operations. “We want to assure Nigerians that the Nigerian Navy will continue to do her best in collaboration with other security agencies to protect lives and properties of citizens of this nation. However, we appeal to members of the public and community leaders to assist with credible information about the disposition of criminals in their domain to enable us protect them better “We want to further assure the populace that justice can be delayed but not denied as manifested in the arrest of these criminals. The public should not be intimidated by the threats of these criminals which are intended to discourage them from giving information to security agencies, as this is what the criminals aim to achieve by instilling fear in them,” the statement reads.

While emphasizing that criminality of any kind thrives only where there is community support, the Commandant posited that once there is no such support, criminals would flee the community. He tasked citizens to work collectively to ensure that criminals are put out of business by denying them freedom of action. This he added is also a warning to all criminal elements operating within Kachia general area and in other parts of the State that the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with other security agencies is irrevocably committed to ridding the State of criminal elements no matter where they may be hiding, while assuring that the security operatives shall locate the criminals and flush them out. In a related development, the Nigerian Navy declares 36 suspects wanted over kidnapping and killings in Ondo State. The Forward Operating Base of Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda, Ondo State declared wanted Iwatan Bamitale and his 35-member gang over alleged criminal activities in the coastal areas of the state.

The FOB alleged that Bamitale, an indigene of Ilaje Local Government Area, and his gang were responsible for several kidnapping activities, sea robberies, illegal bunkering, cult activities, rape and killings in the area. The Commanding Officer FOB, Commodore Danjuma Ndanusa while fielding questions from news men averred that Nigerian Navy could no longer fold its arms and watch criminals turn the coastal areas to a volatile terrain for the law abiding citizens. While alleging that the repentant militant – Bamitale and his gang are engaged in all sorts of nefarious activities in the coastal areas, Commodore Ndanusa posited that they had been dispossessing local fishermen of their outboard engines and valuables as well as causing havoc to vessels plying Warri/Escravos/Ondo/Lagos and Ogun States.

“On Oct. 27, 2019, Bamitale and his gang kidnapped five merchant vessel Captains from Escravos and brought them to unknown hideout in Awoye in Ilaje Local Government Area. It took the intervention of the FOB to rescue the victims. Intelligence reports have it that kidnappers who killed four Nigerian Navy personnel and abducted three foreign nationals on board MV AMBIKA on Jan. 2, 2020 at Agge Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, were on their way to link up with Bamiitale and his cohorts before the FOB foiled their plan and rescued the victims on Jan. 8, 2020. Intelligence report also have it that the rifles of the four Navy personnel killed on Jan. 2, 2020 are in the possession of Bamitale’s gang as cache of arms and ammunitions are in their possession. Also, several cult killings and rape cases in Igbokoda and its environs were reportedly masterminded by Bamitale and his cohorts,” he narrated.

The commander further disclosed that three of Bamitale’s gang: Odun Ogunse, Sunday Adeojo, and ThankGod Edema had been arrested by the FOB and handed over to the Department of State Security Services DSS, for further investigations. The Navy boss said that the remaining gang members on the wanted list were: Mayowa Iletuwa – Commander, Akinwunmi Ebifemi – Espanyol, Ayanfe Ogundeji – Flatter Boy, Itunu Obiade – 36 Kiniun, Mayowa Omowunmi – Kolabo, and Bamigbe Ogunyemi. Others he added are Soji Eyiweju, Ayeni Iwaeni, Seun Enikuemehin, Junior Samuel, Akin Oyetakin, Femi Balogun, Wale Ogunfuyi, Ayeni Mathias, Friday Iji, Bode Enikuemehin, Samuel Satinehin – Sam J, Neri.Taiwo, Tobi Ikudehinbu, Doctor Ogunsola, Solomon Joseph – King Solo, Olu Ebejimi, Agidiogun Bobo, and Monday Ikumehinlo – Egberi. Those whose surname are unknown included Tolu, Lawrence; Eniola (Omo-Iya), Father (Team Leader), Gbenro, Aji, Wonke and Chinedu.

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