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Bandits Snatch Staff of Newspapers Owned by Tinubu and Cabinet Minister

Are bandits sending a message to Nigeria’s President Tinubu?

BREAKING: TruthNigeria Exclusive

By Steven Kefas and Luka Binnyat

The abduction of the two journalists working for newspapers owned by President Bola Ahmad Tinubu and his Minister of information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi may be sending a message to the President. “You can bomb our sanctuaries in Zamfara, but we can take your people, too!,” according to analysts speaking on background to TruthNigeria.  The Nigerian army during the last year has reported that its dozens of attacks on bandits in northwestern states and on insurgents in the Lake Chad region have degraded criminal gangs.

Cover of the Nation Newspaper. Abdulgafar Alebelewe, the bureau chief of The Nation Newspaper, was kidnapped by armed terrorists.
Cover of the Nation Newspaper. Abdulgafar Alebelewe, the bureau chief of The Nation Newspaper, was kidnapped by armed terrorists.

However, despite assurances from the Nigerian Army and government that kidnapping, and banditry activities are declining in Kaduna, Fulani-speaking terrorists continue to wreak havoc. In a disturbing trend, two journalists working for newspapers owned either by Tinubu or Minister of Information Mohammed Idris Malagi  were kidnapped by terrorists on Saturday night, July 7, 2024. This kidnapping follows only a week after the abduction of Magistrate Judge Janet Musa and her 4 young children in a housing project southeast of Kaduna City.

According to eyewitnesses, around 20–30 heavily armed terrorists invaded Dahonu village in Millennium City, located five miles north-east of Kaduna’s city center. The attack occurred around 10:35 p.m., with heavy gunfire heard for over 15 minutes.

Bala Adamu, a resident of Millennium City, recounted the terrifying experience to Truth Nigeria. “I was in my room when I heard the sound of heavy gunshots coming from different directions in the area. The gunshots continued for over 15 minutes, and then I saw the terrorists dragging one of our neighbors, his wife, and their two children away.”

The terrorists were Fulani-speaking people, he added.

After the kidnappers left, they heard the daughter of the kidnapped person, who was not taken due to her illness, crying for help. The terrorists then proceeded to the next street and kidnapped another journalist, leaving a trail of fear and destruction in their wake.

Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Boss Speaks To TruthNigeria

Cover of the Blueprint newspaper. Abdul Rahim Aodu, a reporter for BluePrint Newspaper, was kidnapped by armed terrorists.
Cover of the Blueprint newspaper. Abdul Rahim Aodu, a reporter for BluePrint Newspaper, was kidnapped by armed terrorists.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna Council has confirmed that two journalists kidnapped by terrorists in Kaduna are members of their council. Hajia Asmau Yau Halilu, the chairwoman of NUJ Kaduna, spoke to TruthNigeria about the incident.

“Yes, they are our members,” she confirmed. “Abdulgafar Alebelewe is the bureau chief of The Nation Newspaper, and Abdul Rahim Aodu is a reporter for Blue-Print Newspaper.”

Hajia Halilu provided more details about the kidnapping. “Alebelewe was taken alongside his wife and two children. However, one of his daughters was left behind because she was sick. Similarly, Aodu and his wife were also kidnapped.”

The NUJ council boss expressed concern that the kidnappings may be a coordinated act, possibly involving informants. “The two journalists were kidnapped on the same day and at the same time, which suggests that it could be the work of informants,” she hinted.

Hajia Halilu also mentioned that the terrorists have not yet communicated with the NUJ or the families of the kidnapped journalists. The union is working to ensure the safe release of their members and is urging the authorities to take action against the perpetrators.

“However, we have notified the police and relevant security agencies, she added.

Worrying Trend

Kaduna, a state in northwest Nigeria, has witnessed a disturbing surge in kidnapping for ransom cases in recent years. According to a report by SBM Intelligence, a staggering 1,119 abduction incidents were recorded in Kaduna alone between July 2021 and 2022, making it the highest number of kidnappings in any state in Nigeria during that period.

This alarming figure accounts for over 33.3 percent of the total 3,359 kidnapping cases reported across the country between July 2021 and 2022. The report highlights the severity of the kidnapping crisis in Kaduna, which has become a major concern for residents, authorities, and security agencies.

This latest incident raises concerns about the escalating violence and kidnapping in Kaduna, despite official assurances of improved security. The attacks have left residents in a state of panic, with many calling for increased efforts to combat the terrorists and ensure the safety of citizens.

Steven Kefas and Luka Binniyat are conflict reporters for Truth Nigeria, covering the Middle Belt region.

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