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Police Kill Suspected Kidnapper of UBEC Chairman

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A man who allegedly masterminded the kidnap last month of the Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and his daughter along the Abuja- Kaduna road has been shot dead during a shoot-out with the police.

Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said this on Sunday.

The suspect, Sumaila Sule, alias Shaho, estimated to be in his mid-thirties, was a native of Rijana village in Kachia LGA of Kaduna State.

The police described him as “one of the most vicious and most wanted kidnappers that has been terrorising citizens in Kaduna and its environs.”

Mr Mba said the suspect died in the early hours of Saturday, following multiple bullet wounds he sustained during the shootout with police operatives attached to Operation Puff Adder.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the UBEC Chairman, Mahmood Abubakar, regained freedom in April alongside his daughter.

Both were kidnapped along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.

Mr Abubakar’s driver was shot dead during the encounter, which left their black Toyota SUV riddled with bullets.

The shootout took place in the evening of May 17 at the outskirts of Rijana village.

“The police operatives, in line with the mandate of Operation Puff Adder, were carrying out routine surveillance and raid of suspected criminal hide-outs,” Mr Mba said on Sunday.

“They suddenly came under gunfire attack from a heavily armed criminal gang. The police team fought back gallantly, repelling the attack and eventually bringing SHAHO down, whilst his gang members fled.

“Shaho was rushed to a hospital where he eventually died the next day.

“Meanwhile, acting on information elicited from the suspect before his death, police operatives, between the 18th and 19th of May 2019, carried out sweeping follow-up operations at different target locations.

“These coordinated operations led to the arrest of four other members of SHAHO’s gang and the recovery of three (3) AK 47 rifles.”

The police named the arrested suspects as Musa Hassan, 26; Yau Umar, 25; Umar MUSA, 22; and Muhammad Sani, 28; “all males and natives of Rijiana Village Kachia LGA Kaduna State.

“Shaho and his gang members have been on the radar of the intelligence community for a while.

“They have been implicated in several high-level kidnappings and other heinous crimes along Kaduna-Abuja road and beyond.

“In a similar vein, a combined team of Operation Puff Adder operatives, comprising of the IGP Response Team, the Technical Intelligence Unit, the Police Mobile Force and the Special Anti Robbery Squad have arrested another set of kidnappers.

“They have been terrorising citizens at Mubi axis of Adamawa State. One AK 47 rifle and twenty-six (26) rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the gang.”

The police named the suspects as Umaru Ibrahim, a native of Buni Yadi, Yobe State; Abdul Maina, a native of Maiha Adamawa State; and Mohammed Abubakar, also a native of Buni Yadi, Yobe State.

The police said the suspects have confessed to participating in numerous kidnapping and armed robbery operations within Adamawa State, including the kidnap and collection of a ransom of N7 million from one Abdullahi Umoru of Hong LGA.

“Investigations into these cases are on-going, while efforts aimed at arresting other members of the gangs still at large are being intensified.

“While commending police operatives for their gallantry, as well as selfless service to the nation and humanity, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu has reassured Nigerians that the war against crimes and criminality will soon be won.”

The IGP called for continuous support for the police and other law enforcement agencies, promising that the security agencies will not rest on their oars till normalcy is restored in every part of Nigeria.

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Peter Obi Chides FG, Says Poverty on the Increase, Unemployment Rising

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has criticized Nigerian leaders for their misplaced priorities amidst the country’s declining economic fortune. Obi, in a social media statement, noted that Nigeria’s GDP growth rate plummeted from 6.72% between 1999-2014 to 2.79% in 2015, followed by a recession in 2016 with a negative growth rate of -1.58% and 0.82% in 2017.

He lamented that the country’s economy has regressed significantly over the past nine years, with Nigeria losing its position as Africa’s largest economy. He said, “When Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999, it maintained an average GDP growth of about 6.72% for 16 years from 1999-2014. The impressive growth trajectory, unfortunately, was not sustained by the then-new government and our GDP growth collapsed to 2.79% in 2015 and then sank into a recession in 2016 with a negative growth of -1.58% and 0.82% in 2017. For the past 9 years, Nigeria’s economy has seen unprecedented retrogression on many fronts.

“In 2014, just before the inception of a new administration a year later, Nigeria had the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $568.5 billion and a GDP Per Capita of about $3,200.

“Our economic indices pointed towards hope and prospects for the future growth of the economy. Nine years later, the giant of Africa has retrogressed to the 4th largest economy in Africa.

“Reports showed our GDP in 2023 stood at $375 billion with a per capita of $1700. In 2024, our estimated GDP declined further to $253 billion with an estimated per capita of $1087. These trends and figures show how our 9 years journey since 2015 has resulted in a sharp decline in our national prosperity.”

He added, “Today, poverty is pervasive and on the increase. Unemployment is rising. Food inflation has skyrocketed to over 43%.

Foreign and local investors are losing faith in the future growth of our economy and are leaving in large numbers.

“Businesses are shutting down. Urgent actions need to be taken to salvage the nation from further economic collapse and move it from consumption to production.” Instead of addressing these pressing issues, Obi accused leaders of prioritizing their selfish luxuries and lavishness while blaming others for the country’s problems.

According to him, politics should focus on serving the people and bettering society, committing to inclusive and sustainable growth to alleviate hardship and achieve a peaceful and secure society.

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Aftermath of Monopoly Allegation: Dangote Offers to Sell Refinery to NNPC

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Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote said he is willing to give up ownership of his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to the state-owned energy company NNPC Limited.

The billionaire spoke as a new dispute with one of the key equity partners in the plant heats up in the latest phase of a bitter row with regulatory authorities in Nigeria.

The 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery, which came to life last year after a decade of prolonged construction, cost $19 billion, more than double the initial estimate, promising to help wean Africa’s biggest oil producer off its reliance on fuel from overseas and save up 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange spent on importing goods.

“Let them (NNPCL) buy me out and run the refinery the best way they can. They have labelled me a monopolist. That’s an incorrect and unfair allegation, but it’s OK. If they buy me out, at least, their so-called monopolist would be out of the way,” Mr Dangote told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“We have been facing fuel crisis since the 70s. This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery.”

The multisectoral investor’s big bet on oil and gas, which he ventured into following years of relatively stress-free dominance of Nigeria’s cement, salt and sugar industries, is turning out problematic in its early days.

Set for its first roll-out of petrol to the Nigerian market in August, the mammoth plant has been operating just above half its capacity since the January start of refining operations, constrained in part by difficulties in sourcing crude from international producers.

Dangote Refinery said those companies are either demanding outrageous premiums before agreeing to supply crude or simply claiming the product is unavailable.

NNPC, once a sweetheart of the refiner before the current dispute soured relations, had delivered only 6.9 million barrels of oil to the plant as of May since last year, according to S&P Global Platts, a tracker of supply data.

NNPC Limited has a supply deal with the company dating back to the commencement of operations and previously agreed to a 20 per cent equity participation, the refinery saying only 7.2 per cent has been fully paid for before the deadline issued to the company to acquire the stake.

Starving the refinery of the feedstock required to keep it running at present capacity means it has turned to countries like Brazil and the US to bridge the gulf in supply.

“As you probably know, I am 67 years old, in less than three years, I will be 70. I need very little to live the rest of my life. I can’t take the refinery or any other property or asset to my grave. Everything I do is in the interest of my country,” Mr Dangote told PREMIUM TIMES.

“This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery. At least the country will have high-quality products and create jobs,” he added.

Mr Dangote said the obstacles his refinery is facing seem to have vindicated friends and associates who conselled him to tread with caution as he pumped billions of dollars into the Nigerian economy.

“Four years ago, one of my very wealthy friends began to invest his money abroad. I disagreed with him and urged him to rethink his action in the interest of his country. He blamed his action on policy inconsistencies and shenanigans of interest groups. That friend has been taunting me in the past few days, saying he warned me and that he has been proven right,” the businessman said.

Culled from Premium Times

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Media Office Alleges Plot to Arrest Peter Obi by Tinubu’s Govt

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The Peter Obi Media Reach has refuted allegations made by the presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, linking the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to a planned protest.

The media office described the allegations as wild, wicked and baseless, saying that the presidency was planning to use the planned protest to arrest Obi.

In a lengthy post on his verified X handle on Saturday, Onanuga claimed that Obi’s supporters are behind the planned nationwide protests against the Tinubu administration.

The presidential aide said Obi and his supporters should be held responsible for any mayhem that may occur in the protest, alleging that “they are not democrats but anarchists.”

Onanuga accused the protest organisers of lacking the patience to wait for another election in 2027 and instead, “destabilise Nigeria by staging a civilian coup against President Bola Tinubu.”

He claimed that those organising the protests were also behind the ENDSARS protest of October 2020, which later turned violent and urged security agents to interrogate the “agents of destabilisation” behind the demonstrations.

However, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Yunusa Tanko, on Saturday, the media office said the “unsubstantiated allegations are being orchestrated to arrest Obi and limit his freedom and association”.

Tanko also stated that the allegation was an attempt to stop Obi’s propagation of good governance, which the presidency found injurious to their lavish lifestyle.

He added that the former Governor of Anambra State has not in any way shown or been associated with violence, even in the most obvious provocations.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Peter Obi Media Reach, POMR, has been drawn to the wild, wicked and baseless allegations by one of the Spokespersons in the Presidency, Bayo Onanuga, accusing the Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, of being the mastermind of a planned protest in the country.

“The statement even said that Obi should be held responsible for any mayhem that may occur in the protest. But POMR can report from good and reliable authority that these unsubstantiated allegations are being orchestrated to arrest Obi, limit his freedom and association and stop his propagation for good governance which they find injurious to their lavish lifestyle.

“Peter Obi, by his mien in and out of political office, has not in any way shown or been associated with violence even in the most obvious provocations. He has always shown, even during the electioneering, that he is issue-driven as he carries on without calling anybody’s name.

“POMR is also aware that multiple attack dogs have been hired and strategically deployed to ensure that Obi does not enjoy the ear of the Nigerian populace who are keen on hearing his voice on issues.

“These spine doctors and hirelings, to justify their pay, indulge in all kinds of falsehood ostensibly to distract Obi and confuse Nigerians who already see Obi as a suiting balm in the current turbulent political and economic environment.”

The media team urged Nigerians to ignore the Presidency’s cheap blackmail as Obi and his supporters all over the country and in the diaspora remain resolute in their search for a new Nigeria.

“It added, “All the problems, real and imagined, created by their insensitivity and lavish lifestyle they have curiously tried to link to Obi. Notable challenges of the administration, which are a consequence of their actions and inactions like fuel subsidy fallouts, growing poverty in the land, inflation, nepotism and unresolved historical conflicts, among others they blame all on Obi.

“POMR, therefore, wishes to urge Nigerians to ignore the Presidency’s cheap blackmail as Obi and the Obidient family all over the country and in the diaspora remain resolute in their search for a new Nigeria that is possible and would not be cowed or be made to lose focus.”

The Punch

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