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‘We have our sponsors’ – suspected bandits tell security personnel

...As NSCDC, DSS nab Vigilante team members for vandalism

Suspected bandits arrested by the Federal Capital Territory FCT Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and personnel of the 176 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army have told their interrogators that they have sponsors.

FCT NSCDC Commandant Olusola Odumosu disclosed this on Wednesday when he paraded the 42 suspects at the Command Headquarters in Abuja.

He also announced that the Corps’ collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS) paid off with the arrest of five members of a vigilante team who had used their positions to vandalise some critical national assets within the FCT.

The suspects were found with sharp objects like daggers, knives, and machetes.

Odumosu had only last week summoned the heads of NSCDC intelligence teams, area commanders, and all divisional officers to a meeting to review the Corps’ strategies given the current trends in the security situation in the FCT.

Parading the suspects, Odumosu said, “I gave a fresh charge to the officers and men to step up our game against criminal elements within our territory using intelligence gathering.

“I am happy to announce to you today that the charge is paying off. Acting on credible intelligence and in collaboration with the 176 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army, 42 suspected bandits and terrorists operating under the cover of being miners of solid minerals have been arrested. The arrest took place on Monday, 11th February 2024 at about 6:00 a.m.

“The suspects were intercepted at the forest of Tsaumi Village bothering Lambata in Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State.”

According to him, preliminary investigations by the Corps revealed that the suspects are bandits fleeing the ongoing onslaught of the military operation in Zamfara State through the forest zone of Niger State into the FCT through Gwagwalada Area Council en route to Pai Village of Kwali Area Council.

“In the course of interrogation, they were unable to disclose the mining site and company name they were alleged to be working for.

“Further investigations revealed that this group of young men have been operating within Zamfara, Kogi, and Niger States.

At the time they were intercepted, they had no evidence to show they were going on mining activities, which suggests they have a sinister agenda.

“They have also confessed to having sponsors; however, investigations in that regard is still ongoing, and you will be informed when it is concluded,” said Odumosu.

He said the suspects have been cooperating with the corps by giving useful information that will help determine their level of involvement in banditry and kidnapping activities in the FCT.

Odumosu added that when investigations are concluded and their level of involvement in crime is determined, necessary further action will be taken.

“In the same vein, our operational synergy with the men of Department of State Security Services led to the arrest of one Bartholomew Anthony, a male, 27 years old from Kaura Local government area of Kaduna State. He was arrested at the Mabushi axis of the FCT.

“The said Bartholomew Anthony was arrested with the following exhibits…Pieces of Armoured cables, 1 hacksaw, 1 Jackknife, 1 Techno Bolton handset and N20,000 (Twenty Thousand Naira cash).

“The suspect made useful statements that lead our operatives to arrest three of his other accomplices: Hakilu Muhammed ”M” 25 years old from Shango LGA Niger state, Abdulrahman Abbas “M” 30 years old from Unguwan Sarki Piako LGA, Niger state, Samaila Promise “M” 20 years old from Karim Lamido, Taraba state all four arrested suspects belong to a syndicate that specialises in vandalism and theft of armoured cables in the CT,” he said.

According to him, the suspects belong to a vigilance group and hence use their purported membership of the security outfit to commit heinous acts.

“We have profiled them and obtained their statements; they will soon be arraigned in court for justice to prevail.

“I want to assure the residents of the FCT that we will not rest on our oars until we rid the FCT of all criminal elements that want to make the FCT unsafe for habitation. I want to also appeal to the general public to report all suspicious persons, as security is everyone’s business,” he begged.

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