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How Bandits Break Into Five Flats in Nigerian Defence Academy

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How Bandits Break Into Five Flats in Nigerian Defence Academy

The gunmen who invaded the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in the wee hours of Tuesday broke into five flats, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

Security was beefed up around the Academy yesterday.

Military personnel stopped reporters who attempted to access the institution.

Sources said the attack was successful because guards were slow to respond.

According to them, the bandits successfully broke into five flats in the same block and swiftly withdrew before the guards could intervene.

The gunmen kidnapped Major Christopher Datong and killed a lieutenant commander, simply identified as Wulah, and a flight lieutenant, C.M. Okoronkwo.

A second lieutenant, simply identified as Onah, sustained a gunshot injury.

President Muhammadu Buhari said the attack would re-ignite the war against insurgency and banditry.

The NDA sources said the gunmen gained access and escaped by breaching the barbed wire fence of the Academy along Airport road in Afaka.

The source said: “Bushy areas around the office quarters to the fenced area is believed to have given the bandits easy concealment during the escape.

“Further assessment revealed that the gunmen’s escape route leads across the Airport road to an open farm/bush area near Gidan Gado village in Afaka.

“The gunmen are believed to have escaped either to Buruku and Maguzawa axis or the Riyawa axis in Igabi, which is known as notorious bandits hideouts.

The source said the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, accompanied by senior military officers, visited the NDA.

They were received at the Kaduna International Airport by the NDA Commandant, Maj-Gen. Ibrahim Yusuf and other senior officers of the Academy.

The Defence Headquarters remained silent on the fate of the abducted Major.

It declined to react to speculations that his body was found.

Director Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, said search and rescue operations were still ongoing.

Buhari: Attack on NDA will accelerate uprooting of evil

President Buhari believes the breach of the military university would “accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity”.

The military has launched a probe of the compromise of the institution’s security.

The Federal Government came under fire from the House of Representatives minority caucus and other groups for allegedly failing to protect citizens.

The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, sympathised with relatives of the victims.

The statement reads: “The attack launched on the facility of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) on Tuesday, rather than throw a dampener into the morale of our Armed Forces as it is intended to, will buoy their determination to make a decisive end of criminality in the country.

“Noting that the attack, which led to the loss of lives, came at a time that the military had put insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other types of criminals on the retreat, the President says the heinous action would accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity, which members of the Armed Forces are solidly resolved to accomplish in the shortest possible time.

“Commiserating with the families who lost their loved ones, and praying God to comfort them, President Buhari vowed that the deceased would not die in vain, as the degenerate act would have consequences that will eventually clean the country of vermin, and emancipate the polity from deliberate, targeted and contrived atrocious acts.

“The President thanks all Nigerians who value and appreciate the efforts of our military, and urges those playing hateful politics with the dastardly act to desist, noting that rather than recriminations, this is the time for all patriots and people of goodwill to support and encourage those who are in the vanguard of the battle against wickedness in the land.”

Military to probe insider role
Gen. Irabor has directed NDA authorities to set up a board of enquiry to probe the breach of the institution’s security.

The military dismissed reports that its personnel manning the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) was asleep when the gunmen struck.

Major General Sawyerr, in a statement, noted that the Armed Forces “as a professional force consist of highly trained personnel who are dedicated to their duties of protecting lives and property of all Nigerians”.

He added: “The NDA authorities, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, has constituted a board of enquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate cause(s) of the breach of security with a view to sanctioning any personnel found culpable and also prevent future occurrence”.

NHRC: attackers must be brought to book

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urged the military to ensure that those behind the incident are brought to justice.

Its Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, in a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Fatimah Mohammed, described the attack as an affront on Nigeria’s security.

“The invasion of the institution with high international repute, where very intelligent military officers are produced, is most unfortunate, unexpected and condemnable,” he said.

Ojukwu described the killings and abduction as “the worst forms of human rights violations of our time,” noting that security personnel are entitled to carry out their duties in relative safety.

“They are fathers and mothers of their families, who are entitled go to work and come back alive.”

He urged the military to leave no stone unturned in its efforts to rescue the abducted military officer and fish out the abductors to face the wrath of the law.

Reps Minority caucus seeks probe
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to conduct a forensic investigation of the attack.

Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said in a statement that the government should also take drastic steps to save Nigerians from the pains being inflicted on them by criminals.

The statement reads in part: “Our caucus is distressed that every day, families are deprived of their breadwinners, scores of children are orphaned, wives are turned to widows, husbands turned to widowers, parents are made to bury their children hacked down in their prime, with others languishing in their captors’ dens and family source of livelihood destroyed.

“The minority caucus, after extensive considerations, demands an immediate and decisive action by APC-led Federal Government to check the ugly trend and save our nation from collapse.

“Our caucus also demands an immediate forensic investigation into the circumstances that enabled the invasion of the NDA and subsequent killing and abduction of officers…

“The Minority Caucus, however, urges our gallant troops not to be deterred but to remain firm in their commitment to our dear fatherland, while assuring on its determination to intensify legislative action that will support the genuine effort towards restoring peace in our country.”

Northern groups knock Fed Govt
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) said the Federal Government had failed in its duty of protecting Nigerians.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the group said the attack on NDA signifies a dangerous loss of control of the nation’s territory by the government.

The CNG said: “Daily occurrences have shown clearly that the Federal and state governments are unable to perform the two fundamental functions of projecting authority over territory, particularly in the North, as well as unable to fulfil the tasks required to control people and resources and can therefore provide only minimal public services with feeble and flawed institutions.

“Apparently, the federal and most northern state executives barely function today, while the legislature, judiciary, bureaucracy, and security forces have lost their capacity and professional independence, thereby creating a huge vacuum in the political will and capacity of government which armed criminals, bandits, kidnappers and other assortments of violent non-state actors exploit with ease.

“The latest compromise of such important national security architecture as the NDA at a time when government officials were arrogantly floating unprecedented flamboyance at a wedding in Kano and Abuja is certainly a serious cause for concern in an already agitated nation suffering from crumbling security situation, faltering utility supplies and educational and health facilities, and deteriorating basic human-development indicators, such as mounting poverty and literacy rates.”

Attack shows no one is safe, says group
The Yoruba Leaders’ Forum (YLF) described the attack as an indictment on the government.

A statement by its coordinator, Olufemi Ogunjimi, reads: “If NDA, a bastion of the nation’s security, could be attacked easily, who then is safe?

“If bandits, kidnappers and hoodlums can just stroll in and attack the NDA, then it means one day, Nigerians can wake up to hear the news of hoodlums taking over government houses in states or even in Abuja.

“This is a bad omen for Nigeria as nobody is safe again. Tackling insecurity was one of the attractive points on Buhari’s manifesto when they were campaigning for our votes. It was one of the reasons Nigerians voted Buhari in.

“But it is sad that this government just went to sleep after winning an election, allowing kidnappers, bandits and terrorists to kill, maim, kidnap and extort Nigerians

”Nigeria is fast turning to a failed state if a foremost security institution like the NDA could be attacked, and by now, the hoodlums are still walking free.

“We still wonder how the NDA, built on a mountain top which should serve as a security mechanism against such an attack could be attacked easily.

“So, why can’t the many checkpoints leading to the Academy detect these killers? Could it be an inside job?

“Why can’t the NDA and military personnel repel these enemies of the state with the sophisticated weapons at their disposal? There are many questions begging for answers.”

Matawalle calls for state of emergency in North
Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle on Wednesday called for a state of emergency in the North over the security challenges in the region.

He made the call at a meeting with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 10, Ali Janga, at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital.

The governor, who showed concern about the series of attacks in many states in the region, believed a declaration of a state of emergency will address insecurity in North’s 19 states.

The three regions have been grappling with a series of criminal activities such as kidnapping, bombings and attacks on communities for years – insurgency in Northeast; banditry in Northeast and herder/gunmen in Nortcentral.

On Tuesday, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum said 100,000 people have been killed in the Northeast state within a decade. He also said 10 per cent of the state’s population, who were forced to flee their ancestral homes, cannot be accounted for.

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