Explosions disrupt Kogi residents | Daily Trust

Terrorists are on the prowl in Kogi state, disrupting some communities with bombings, kidnappings and other crimes, Daily Trust reported on Saturday.

Our correspondent reports that although Kogi is considered probably the most peaceful state in the central north, the state has drawn attention in recent months due to increased terrorist activity.

Besides occasional kidnappings by bandits, terrorists hibernating in some communities have begun to make social life difficult for locals.

While some experts blame the recent planting of bombs at social gatherings on ‘bandits’, others blame it on a factional Boko Haram group, Ansaru, while some said the recent atrocities were committed by another terrorist group, Darul-Salam.

Recent attacks

Until the evening of the penultimate Sunday, the day did not betray the impending fate of Mrs. Omofemi Oyehunwa, the owner of Obafemi Bar in the Oke Padova-Cuba state region.

It was business as usual last Sunday at his beer bar opposite the Kabba Divisional Police Station, the seat of Kabba-Bunu local government.

Daily Trust Saturday learned that people from all shades of life flock to his beer bar to refresh themselves from the stresses of the day, for security reasons, especially since it is located opposite a police station in the city. It is said that the evening hours are the height of his activity.

She enthusiastically conducted her business at the Beer Show that fateful Sunday evening unaware that an agent of death had been planted in her place until the object exploded.

While she was attending to her customers, an explosion occurred around 9:15 p.m. with a deafening noise, shattering everything in the beer hall.

Ms. Oyehunwa and 10 other people were lucky not to have received life-threatening injuries as they were all released within days of the sad incident.

“Only God saved my life from the explosion yesterday (Sunday). It should be a bomb or dynamite explosion which my enemies used to attack my business centre.

“I give thanks to God that I am not only alive, but that I can still walk despite the injury I suffered. I am grateful that no one died in the explosion,” she said .

Two weeks earlier, on May 11 to be exact, three people lost their lives and many others were injuries in a similar explosion in the evening at a beer lounge around Lewu junction in the ancient town of Kabba.

The blast had raised concerns among prominent figures and socio-cultural associations in the Western District for the safety of life and property in the area.

The President of Kabba Development Union, Mr. Emmanuel Ajibero said, “This explosion, which happened for the second time in this city within 18 days, is ruthless and unacceptable to us. We want the government and security agencies to rise to the occasion and do something drastic against the attacks and protect our lives and property from the criminal elements and restore our peace.

While some people think the recent events are orchestrated by terrorists, some community leaders think it’s political.

Tunde Ibrahim, president of the Okun Development Association (ODA), the highest socio-cultural association among Okun-speaking people in the state, said the cultural group would do everything within the law to prevent such an event. cooperating with security. agencies and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.

He said, “As the people of Okun, whatever our political misunderstanding, it shouldn’t be worth anyone’s blood. We can only do politics when the environment is safe. Even government cannot operate efficiently when the environment is chaotic.

“It was in a beer bar, but it can be in a church, a mosque, a car and a house tomorrow. It is a serious dimension that has indexed our criminal vocabulary. Whatever the grievances, it is a dangerous message. It’s not worth taking people’s lives.

He said Governor Yahaya Bello was a security-conscious leader who had invested his time, money and energy to ensure the state was relatively safe from thugs, pointing out whoever was behind the earth blast d’Okun is not a friend of the governor and the state in general.

Meanwhile, Okehi local government chairman, Abdulraheem Ohiare, suspended the outing of the masquerade to prevent thugs from using it to wreak havoc.

He ordered the guardians of religions and traditional rulers to obey the new development, assuring his commitment to peaceful coexistence among the peoples of his domain.

The real threat to Kogi

The wave of explosions in Kabba and the increase in robberies and kidnappings, including in police formations in the central and western districts of the state, have caused a stir, saying that the era of terrorism is back with more devastating effects.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that banks and police facilities in the western and central districts have been constantly attacked by armed men, who use sophisticated weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to carry out their acts.

In 2020 and 2021 respectively, Kabba, Isanlu, Odo Ere, Egbe, Okene, Ogaminana and Obangede suffered at the hands of terrorists.

The latest of these attacks on police facilities occurred on April 23, 2022, at a police formation in Adavi, destroying the station and killing three officers in the process.

A few days later, the terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility in a report.

Recall that in 2016, Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of an Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda, Ansaru, was arrested in Lokoja months after some security breaches. The development put to rest, the suspicion of terrorist cells in the state.

The United States had placed a $5 million bounty on Albarnawi’s head after designating him as one of three Nigerian “specially designated global terrorists” in 2012.

Since his arrest, the issue of countering terrorist activities in Kogi has not been made public. And authorities said they were not sleeping, citing the relative peace that followed as part of their efforts to contain the insurgency.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that the act of terrorism peaked at the end of Captain Idris Wada’s administration, a development that continued into the creation of the current government.

However, Governor Bello confronted him headlong, but it seems the monster is rearing its ugly head again.

Our correspondent reports that in 2020, as many as 100 victims, mostly women and children, were rescued from Darus-Salam members in the forest between Kogi and the Nasarawa state border, while 180 members of the murderous gang were arrested.

The raid, carried out over two weeks by Nigerian Army men from Battalion 177 and Army Archives, Lokoja, with the support of local militiamen, cleared the camp of the terrorist group which had been carrying out its heinous operations for more than eight years. years in the region.

Salihu Bakhari, a retired military officer, said that although Kogi had been monitoring the terrorists’ nighttime activities, authorities needed to pay close attention to the area.

“We should not allow the terrorists to gain strength in Kogi as they did in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, as they will be difficult to contain. Unfortunately, things have started to take on a different dimension,” he said, citing the series of explosions, kidnappings and robberies over the past four months.

He recalled the attack on a police formation in Adavi, the explosion in Okene, which killed two people and many more wounded during the Echane festival, as well as the Kabba brewery explosion.

We are not sleeping – Kogi government

Reacting to the security situation, the Kogi state government said anyone caught sabotaging the relative peace in the state would face the wrath of the law.

Jerry Omodara, Governor Bello’s security adviser, told The Daily Trust on Saturday that experts from security formations had been dispatched to Kabba and Okene to analyze samples of the two explosives to determine their contents and similarities.

He said the result of the analysis would allow the government to know the history or origin of the explosives and to take decisions or actions against a future event.

Omadara added that the governor had also ordered a halt to the ongoing Echane festival in all relevant councils to avoid a breakdown of public order.

“Governor Yahaya Bello is a proactive leader. The state police commissioner has recruited explosives experts to compare the contents of the improvised devices used at Kabba with those at Okene to discover similarities and differences,” he said.

At the local level, following two successive bomb attacks in the space of 18 days in the town of Kabba, local government authorities have given clubs until 7:00 p.m. to close their businesses daily.

Additionally, commercial motorcycle operators have been told to close at 10:00 p.m. daily.

Kabbah-Bunu Local Government Chairman, Mr. Moses Olorunleke, gave the order in a statement released to Kabba on Monday.

Olorunleke said guidelines for bar and okada operators would start from May 31 until further notice.

Meanwhile, state police commissioner Edward Egbuka said the command was aware of the situation. He assured the people of Kogi that the latest twist in crime and criminality in the state would be dealt with, adding that an investigation had started to find out the culprits.

In addition, State Police Public Relations Officer SP William Aya said bomb experts and command intelligence unit men had been drafted into the affected areas for the action. necessary.

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