How we killed Abuja bomb suspect – Nigerian military

“People will die!”

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The Nigerian military on Friday confirmed that a terrorist suspected to be among the perpetrators of the Wednesday Abuja EMAB plaza bombing has been killed.

In an unsigned statement posted on its website, the Defence Headquarters said the suspect was shot while fleeing from the crime scene with his colleague.

The statement said the shot suspect later died in a hospital while yelling: “People will die! people will die!’’.

Wednesday’s explosion killed 21 people leaving 17 others wounded, police spokesperson, Frank Mba, had said.

The military said on citing the two suspects speeding off on a power bike, bystanders alerted soldiers on patro‎l.

“The soldiers pursued the fleeing suspects and shot at one who fell off the bike with his bag, while the rider escaped through the crowd. The bag recovered from the suspect was later confirmed to contain a package of IED and other accessories,” the statement said.

The DHQ also said that more than 50 suspected terrorists died during a raid on a makeshift camp used by terrorists in Miyanti and Bulungu, Borno State.

It said two soldiers were killed in the encounter while five others sustained injuries.

The DHQ noted that a fuel dump used for storing fuel, vehicles, including Toyota Hilux trucks, and seven motorcycles were destroyed in the raid.

It also said that 15 rifles, 11 machine guns and ammunitions were captured by the troops.

“In a separate encounter around Duguri, near the Nigeria–Niger border, troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force stormed a terrorists’ hideout in a raid.

“The troops recovered 18 rifles, five general purpose machine guns, 25 hand grenades and IED making materials,” it said.

Also, a suspected gun runner was said to have been apprehended and was being interrogated in connection with the seizures.

The military said that the suspect was arrested during a cordon and search operation by troops.

It said 15 other suspects were being detained in Abuja after a raid that led to the recovery of seven rifles, pistols, swords and other weapons.

It said that military operations to track armed gangs would be sustained in various locations‎.

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INVESTIGATION: Massacre in Gboko: Soldiers at Dangote’s factory kill seven; company, govt. abandon victims’ families

Mothers wailed uncontrollably during the burial of the victims.

A trail of blood and murder in a Benue community has drawn no justice from the government or compensation from Africa’s richest man whose business is linked to the crime.

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For 19-year-old Terhile Jirbo, it was another answer to the call of nature. But when gunfire rang out that in the afternoon of March 18, what seemed a harmless routine would leave a fatal scar on him and his community in Gboko, a major town in the North-central state of Benue.

Members of Mbayion community in Gboko had responded after a soldier shot Mr. Jirbo for emptying his bowel near the Gboko Cement factory, the second most lucrative cement factory belonging to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. The attacker was one of two-dozen troops securing the multibillion-dollar factory.

In protest of the shooting, the community members marched outside the factory, and for hours, they asked for justice.

But as they hurled insults at the soldiers, asking them to leave the community, the troops responded with gunfire, according to state officials, witnesses, and community leaders.

Shot on the leg, one woman laid bloodied on the ground, and tried to crawl to safety. Then, a soldier closed up on her, pointed his rifle directly at her head and blasted, a witness said.

The woman’s brain matter splattered on another bullet-ridden victim, a man feigning death next to her. That man survived the attack even after a bullet ripped open his abdomen, spilling out his intestines.

When the shooting and the confusion subsided over three hours later, the death toll stood at seven – one woman, six men.

The victims – aged 36 and below – were all shot dead by troops of the Nigerian army, survivors and community members said.

By chance or fate, Mr. Jirbo, the teenager whose shooting by a soldier ignited the fracas, survived the attack. But he would be deformed for life, his mouth disfigured and emptied of almost all teeth. A member of the more than two-dozen military team guarding the multibillion-dollar Gboko cement factory shot him in the mouth.

His offence: relieving himself near the Dangote factory complex, and refusing to pack the waste with his mouth when ordered to do so by the soldier.

In the outburst of violence that followed, the soldiers shot dead Doose Ornguze, 19, female; Luper Nongo Igber, 20, male; Timothy Terngu Mase, 21, male; Myom Mbaume, 25, male; Aondoyima Tyokase, 26, male; Iornenge Anum, 35, male and Aondoakura Tseeneke, 36, male.

Bodies of victims of the shooting in a hospital in Markurdi shortly before burial.

They were killed in violation of the rights to life and human dignity as enshrined in Chapter Four of the Nigerian Constitution.

Eight others were seriously wounded in the attack, among them Thomas Igber, Sesugh Nongo, and Joseph Akpa Yaji.

Months of investigation by PREMIUM TIMES has shed light into a deadly violation of human rights perpetrated by state forces at a time Nigeria faces international scrutiny over human rights abuses in its war against suspected Boko Haram militants.

Community leaders spoke of how the Dangote group and the federal government brushed aside the killings, offered no assistance to the families of those killed or wounded by the troops. The government, also, has yet to punish or publicly identify those responsible for the massacre in the town.

While the military and the Dangote group confirmed the attack and the killings to PREMIUM TIMES, both have failed to impress the community on the steps they took to show sympathy, offer compensation to bereaved families or even help bury the dead.

Four months after the killings, that situation has remained the same despite repeated petitions by the community to the highest civilian and military authorities, including President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark (an indigene of Benue State), and defence minister, Aliyu Gusau.

The Dangote group said it has reached out to the community since the killings, but did not state exactly what help it offered, and whether or not the offer was accepted.

But Sebastian Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and an indigene of the community punctured that claim. “We wrote to Dangote about the killing of our youth since March but he has not found it expedient to reply the letter,” Mr. Hon said. “He never offered any assistance towards the treatment of the youth who sustained gunshot injuries or contribute to the burial of the seven youth who were killed.”

The community said it decided to bear the cost of autopsy on the victims, their embalmment and burial on behalf of the affected families, after help failed to come from the company whose guards killed them.

Army officials and witnesses said after the shooting of Mr. Jirbo – the man wounded in the mouth – the commander of the army unit on duty rounded up the soldier who shot him, disarmed him, seized his belt and beret and secured him in a guard room.

The army would not say what has happened to the soldier, or other soldiers who later opened fire on protesters, killing seven.

A spokesperson for the army, Olajide Olaleye, a Brigadier General, told PREMIUM TIMES investigations into the incident “are continuing”.

Faeces of Death

The first gunshot that day was fired at about 1p.m., witnesses and Mr. Jirbo, who survived the shooting, said.

Mr. Jirbo had walked into the popular BCC Layout for a haircut. The layout is named after the factory’s former name, Benue Cement Company, before its acquisition by Mr. Dangote.

Daily, hundreds of trucks wait at the bay area to convey processed cement to other parts of Nigeria. In queues snaking into a long distance, the truck drivers wait for their turns, sometimes for days.

That time lag provides a bustling neighbourhood life of sorts, which allows locals make brisk business selling everything from food to drinks to bush meat.

There are bars and shops and salons around the area, and in some parts, young men play snooker. Sometimes, they play against the military guards, with whom they also share drinks occasionally.

But despite the heavy human and vehicular activities in the vicinity, the government failed to provide basic facilities such as toilets in the area, which sits just by the Dangote cement factory. The area is overgrown with tall weeds and marked by broken walls of what used to be a perimeter wall separating the cement factory from Mbayion community. When pressed to ease themselves, locals and drivers use nearby bushes.

Mr. Jirbo recalled playing snooker with a popular soldier among the guards, known by his nickname 13-13, that March morning. After the game, he stopped at one of the salons for a haircut, and headed for the bush afterwards to relieve himself.

He was tidying himself up to leave when a soldier manning one of the security posts inside the expansive factory accosted him, and challenged him for defecating in the area, Mr. Jirbo said.

He argued that the space was not part of Dangote’s property, and besides, it was a common practice for people within the layout to clear their bowels there.

That explanation failed to impress the soldier who barked orders at the teenager, asking him to pack the waste with his mouth and threatened to shoot if he failed. Mr. Jirbo said he pleaded and asked to use his hands.

Jirbo after surgeries.

The situation degenerated in seconds, and the soldier pointed his rifle at Mr. Jirbo’s mouth while ordering him to act fast or risk being shot, the survivor recalled.

Mr. Jirbo failed to comply, and the price was horrific. The bullet tore his mouth open, ripped it of almost all teeth and threw him to the ground. He managed to spring back to his feet, and then ran into the community where he collapsed.

“The soldier was inside the security post at the trailer park,” he narrated to PREMIUM TIMES. “I saw two soldiers but it was one of them that shot at me.” His account of the incident was corroborated by other witnesses.

On a recent visit to Mbayion months after the attack, he sat on a wooden chair, his face contorted as he struggled to answer our reporter’s questions with his now severely stitched mouth. He sounded furious as he spoke.

Jirbo before the attack.

Midway into the interview, Mr. Jirbo’s uncle fetched the boy’s picture before the attack. The difference was clear and heart wrenching.

A stocky young man, he lost his two parents in 2012. Since their deaths, he has lived with an uncle, Moses Garba, and worked as a loader at the Gboko Timber Market.

The attack on Mr. Jirbo would unleash horror on the laid back Mbayion community.

Hurls of abuses, hail of bullets

As news of the shooting spread within the community, angry youth gathered for a protest.

For them, the attack was one too many from soldiers they accused of everything – from incessant harassment of residents to snatching of their girlfriends.

In a short time, dozens of youth swarmed the trailer park, where for hours, they cursed the soldiers, taunted them and their families, asked for justice and demanded they leave the town, witnesses said.

As the number of protesters grew, the demand became even more forceful, with some youth asking that the trigger-happy soldier be handed over to the community in addition to the troops leaving the area.

“The youths didn’t throw even a stone or stick. They were simply insulting the soldiers and asking them to leave the community,” said Yaji Gaav, an indigene of the community who arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting.

Mr. Gaav contested the claim that where Mr. Jirbo used as toilet was part of the Dangote property.

“The impression people who have not been there have is that the place in question is a fenced area within the company. Of course, that is not true. It is an open place.People go in and out of the place without hindrance and people even go there to defecate,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES visited the scene. It did not fall within the Dangote complex, and clearly bore the filthy markings of a site routinely used as public toilet.

The siege by the youth on the property continued even after the commander of themilitary unit, an officer identified as Prince, arranged for the injured man to be taken to Penuel Hospital in Gboko, where he was treated.

To forestall a breakdown of order, Prince summoned the Mbayion community youth leader, Iorwuese Chamegh, and explained to him that a soldier had “mistakenly” shot a teenager, and requested that he helped pacify the protesters.

“When I got there, he (Prince) told me that a soldier made a mistake by shooting a boy in the mouth. As we were talking, our youths were shouting and asking the soldiers to go. The youths neither threw stones nor sticks at the soldiers. It was just verbal attacks,” Mr. Chamegh said.

“They were defenceless; there was no aggression on their part. Even if there was aggression, they were not armed and we begin to wonder why soldiers should be sent to guard private premises when there is no war,” said Sebastine Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, an indigene of the community.

But what followed just as the commander and the youth leader spoke, shook the small town and left blood on its streets.

Mr. Chamegh said as he tried to pacify the youth who had thronged the area, themilitary commander asked him to leave immediately.

He turned to leave, then gunfire rang out.

“I heard gunshots and saw somebody falling down at my back. I started running. I am not sure Prince (military commander) was involved in the shooting because he was leaving the place on a motorbike just as the shooting started,” he said.

Witnesses say the military, not able to stomach the taunts, went berserk not long after the gunshot victim was taken to hospital, and started shooting at the youth and pursuing them into the community.

It was unclear who ordered the shootings. There is no evidence that the Dangote Cement Company did. But PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that the rampaging troops blocked the Gboko/Makurdi highway and advanced deep into the surrounding communities, chasing fleeing demonstrators and shooting at them.

Joseph Akpa Yaji, 24, who witnessed the incident, was shot in the back as he tried to help the only woman killed in the attack. The bullet penetrated his back and exited from the stomach, spilling his intestines out. As he lay on the ground next to the girl he attempted to save.

He played dead to survive.

“I pretended as if I was dead while the girl was still struggling to get up and run away.”

Then a soldier walked close to the two, apparently attracted by the girl’s attempt to crawl to safety, and fired shots point blank into her head, Mr. Yaji said.

“The girl’s brain and blood covered my body and the soldier, who might have thought I was dead, left the place,” he said, his face contorted in anger and grief.

The military would not give details of what happened or how it happened beyond saying that investigations were ongoing.

The police also said investigations were continuing in cooperation with the military.

The body of the slain protesters remained in the open until the evening of that day when the Chairman of Gboko local government council, Nathan Zenda, and other leaders of the town, walked round the town collecting bodies of those killed.

In addition to that of the woman, six more bodies of young men were retrieved. The remains were transferred to the University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, for autopsy and embalmment.

An outraged paramount ruler of Gboko, Gabriel Shosum, the Ter Gboko II, told PREMIUM TIMES the killings were “one of the highest level of provocations” against the people of his kingdom.

History of Distrust

The former Benue Cement Company, [BCC], originally partly owned by the Nigerian government and the Benue State government, was bought by Aliko Dangote in 2004 under the government’s privatisation programme.

At more than three million tons of cement output yearly, the Gboko factory is only second to the Obajana plant in Kogi State – key contributors to Mr. Dangote’s lightning wealth rise that has seen him become Africa’s richest man, worth $24 billion.

The Dangote Cement Plc is Nigeria’s largest cement manufacturer with ambitious plans to expand into 14 other African countries. Dangote Cement is the largest company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, having listed its shares in October 2010.

The company insists it has done well for its host community.

“For that community, we have done so much,” Anthony Chiejina, a spokesperson for the Dangote Group, told PREMIUM TIMES. “If you check, just last month, the group reached out to displaced persons in the state. The governor was there and everybody attended. We gave items worth more than N45 million to the community. We went with 15 truck load of relief items.”

The company also listed a N10 million scholarships provided to indigenes of the area, and the provision of a clinic as some of its corporate social responsibility projects.

But the community insists the company was is not doing enough. Locals say accessing the scholarship has remained frustrating, and question why the victims of the attack were taken elsewhere if the medical facility in the community was functional.

“If a company is situated in a community, there are some amenities the people are supposed to enjoy. Gboko community is not enjoying anything from Dangote,” said Mr. Shosum, the paramount ruler of the area.

For years, those concerns bred tension between the Dangote firm and the community. That anger exploded in 2011 when locals pushed for improved opportunities, a re-enactment of the frequent friction in the Niger Delta between host communities and oil multinationals.

As trouble flared that year following the killing of a local, allegedly by a cement truck, anti-riot police and soldiers were deployed to the community to keep the peace. The soldiers would stay permanently eventually.

Some community members wondered why soldiers, instead of police officers, were drafted to guard a private property.

The spokesperson for the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General Olaleye, said as Africa’s richest and the biggest private sector employer of labour in the country, the Nigerian government has a duty to keep Mr. Dangote’s businesses safe, when threatened.

“Once an area has been labelled a high risk area, whether it is public, private or otherwise, it is our duty to provide adequate security. Internal security is our business,” Mr. Olaleye said.

“For instance, churches, schools and other organizations that are not owned by the government are being guarded by the military now. Is there any state where Nigerian soldiers are not deployed now?” he said.

Convoy of seven coffins

After a long wait and police procedures, on May 9, exactly 41 days after the murders, heartbroken Mbayion people set out for Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to receive the bodies for burial.

Local leaders and the community’s own brightest, including the SAN, Mr. Hon, and retired service men, set out to Makurdi for a trip that would return seven coffins home.

After identification by family members, the wooden caskets were lined outside the morgue at 3.45p.m and set for the journey from Makurdi to Gboko, about 73 kilometres.

Relatives wailed and sobbed. Women cried and wiped their soggy eyes with the tips of their wrappers.

The woman who was shot in the head that day was the only female killed in the attack.

Doose was the only woman killed in the attack. A soldier shot her point blank in the head.

Since losing her parents years back, 19-year-old Doose Ornguze, a resident of Tsekucha, near Mbayion, had managed to provide parental cover to her two younger siblings, drawing support from her yam trade, a thriving business in Benue State.

Against all odds, she kept herself and siblings in school and maintained a small house their parents left behind. One of the two siblings, Samuel, was in Port Harcourt when he was told that Doose had been shot and killed.

“My sister suffered so much to provide for me and my younger sister,” he lamented.
After due examination attended by half a dozen pathologists, the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, confirmed the seven victims died of gunshots.

But its verdict of what happened to Ms. Ornguze turned out most ghastly.

The hospital identified the following as the cause of death: “Blunt force trauma to the left aspect of the skull with comminute skull fracture and extensive brain laceration, bone and brain tissue loss. Caused by a very fast moving object like a bullet shot from a fairly close range”.

The mechanism of death was found to be: “Brain laceration with extensive brain loss”.

Zungwenen Mase, the father of one of the victims said his son, a truck driver, went to the parking bay to retrieve his trailer when a bullet caught him. He said his only demand was for Dangote to leave Gboko.

“My son was innocent. My son didn’t commit any crime. Why Dangote? Why would you kill my son?” Mr. Mase queried.

But it was the sight of a mother, who convulsed and twisted in angst as she watched the coffin of her son brought out of the morgue, that threw the crowd into fits of sobs and tears.

Memshima Nongo is the mother of 20-year-old Lupe Nongo Igber, who was also killed. Mrs. Nongo said her complaint was appropriately laid to the community and she hoped the authorities would act.

“Lupe why have you decided to go now? Who will close my eyes when I die? Please God; don’t allow the death of my innocent child to go unpunished,” she wailed continuously.

Also an indigene of Tsekucha, in Mbayion, Mr. Igber was also unable to complete secondary education. He trained as truck driver, like many who ferry cement from Dangote’s factory. It was a living that supported Mr. Igber, his wife, a child, mother, brothers and sisters.

The first truck driver whose father wanted Dangote out of town, was Timothy Terngu Mase, 21, male. He was an indigene of Tse Shie, Mbagar, Mbayion. As a driver, he served with a private company in Obajana, Kogi State, where Mr. Dangote has another cement plant.

He was home on a visit to his family when the troops invaded his community.

Mr. Mase’s dream was building a truck-driving school in Gboko to enable indigent youths acquire the skill which had made him self-reliant. When the bullets flew in his town, he was hit in the heart.

Myom Mbaume, 25, male, was also killed.

A small scale grower of yam, millet, guinea corn and maize, from Tsekucha, he left behind a wife, two children, a mother and five siblings. His devastating family said they needed nothing but justice for his killers.

In the fourth coffin was Aondoyima Tyokase, 26, male from Tombo, Mbatsaase Tse-Orban in Buruku Local Government Area also of Benue State.

Without an education, he trained as a barber and opened a shop near Dangote Cement factory. Popularly known as Chief Barber, it was Mr. Tyokase who barbed most of the guards at Mr. Dangote’s expansive plant. When troops came calling with their bullets, that familiarity did not help.

Iornenge Anum, 35, male, an indigene of Igber, Tsekucha, was next. He was a carpenter and his workshop was located near the cement factory. Mr. Anum left behind a wife and three daughters, all in primary school.

Then there was Aondoakura Tseeneke, a 36-year-old man and the oldest of those killed. He had three wives and five children. He was an indigene of Tse Hon, Mbawav, Mbayion in Gboko Local Government Area. Mr. Tseeneke sold retailed cooking gas at a shop near Dangote Cement Company. The rampaging soldiers shot him in front of his house, witnesses said.

The University Teaching Hospital confirmed all died of gunshots.
Gboko Dangote Cement shooting
Loaded one atop another on a Dyna mini-truck, the bodies left Makurdi at about 4.00 p.m. for Gboko. After a two-hour drive, the delegation arrived. And one after the other, the community leaders returned the corpses of the slain youth to their families.

As the coffins were offloaded from the truck, wails and cries rented the air. The community leaders advised that each family conduct private burials to keep the tension down. The crowd called for justice.

Fading justice

Since the shooting, the community has made no progress in its search for justice, leaving a lasting outrage among residents.

The community said it wrote letters to President Goodluck Jonathan; Mr. Dangote; the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, among others, seeking redress.

No reply came at the time of this report.

Police spokesperson for Benue State, confirmed the attacks, but said investigations were ongoing.

“As it is now, the investigation is still on. We are liaising with the military to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. I can assure you that whoever committed any crime will be brought to justice,” said Daniel Ezeala, of the Benue State Police Command.

The National Human Rights Commission said its investigation was ongoing as well, and would be made public once ready.

Anthony Chiejina, a spokesperson for Dangote Group, however told PREMIUM TIMES the company was in discussions with the community.

He denied the company failed to respond appropriately to the tragedy.

“Who is telling you that? Mr. Chiejina asked. “We have been having rapprochement with the community. We cannot sweep the matter under the carpet because lives were involved and being a responsible company, there is no way we would deny that lives were not lost.”

He added: “Anybody telling you that nothing has been done is unfair. Lives were involved and even if it was one person, it is life and has to be taken very seriously.”

That claim was rejected by the paramount ruler of Gboko.

“We have not received any response to our letters to Mr. Dangote or any of thesepeople,” Mr. Shosum said.

On Mr. Chiejina’s claim that Mr. Dangote has done so much for the people of the area, the paramount ruler said, “I have never seen it. In fact, there is no clean water for residents of the factory environs. There is no hospital there. There is absolutely nothing there.”

Mubarak Bala and the dangers of buttoned lips

by Emmanuel James Ibe-Anyanwu

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His family members would not accept that. They beat him up, injected him with sedatives, and took him to a psychiatric hospital where he is now being ‘treated’ as a mad man. 

Some years ago, a new social culture emerged in Italy: many parents stopped introducing their religious faiths to their children. They chose rather to let them reach the official age of adulthood, so the latter could choose for themselves which faith to identify with, upon objective inquiry and conviction. For such parents, the commotion of truth claims had left them confused rather than convinced, and they did not want to instill error in the innocent teenager. Truth is, many people are not totally convinced about their faiths. Some have questions that have not been properly addressed by their Scriptures, but they stick around either because they have not found a perfect alternative, or because of the social consequences of apostasy.

Yet some parents are totally convinced. Whether that conviction is a result of dispassionate inquiry into their worldviews, or a result of cultural heritage, is a different thing entirely. What is paramount for them, however, is that they have embraced ‘truth’ and, just as they would force medication down the throat of an unwilling, sick child, they must force their faiths on their children. That was exactly what Mubarak Bala’s parents did.

The young man had embraced atheism consequent upon his intellectual persuasion to that effect, and was bold enough to declare same to his devout Muslim parents. His family members would not accept that. They beat him up, injected him with sedatives, and took him to a psychiatric hospital where he is now being ‘treated’ as a mad man. With a phone smuggled into his psychiatric ward at the Amino Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, he sent messages across to a humanist friend of his, who has since contracted a lawyer to handle the matter. His father and doctors in the hospital insist he had psychological problems before he renounced Islam.

Two days ago, the lawyer was seeking to contract an independent psychiatrist to examine him. Problem is, with this kind of persecution already meted out to him, he would be lucky to come out negative from tests on psychological trauma.

Sometime last year, an adult Christian lady, daughter of a pastor, converted to Islam. When her father failed to bring her back to Christianity, he resorted to violence. She went through myriad persecution from her family, to the point that she had to seek refuge in the palace of an Emir, much to the chagrin of her father who alleged ‘Islamic’ diabolical entrapment.

Meanwhile, Mubarak’s father claimed that he took the action to prevent his son from being mobbed by the people. Sadly, that excuse, unfortunate as it is, protects a legitimate fear. As a society, we seem unaware that education, in its true sense, confers on the individual the privilege for rational skepticism. True education forbids the acceptance of dictated truths, and prepares the mind to ask hard questions about arrogant conventions. The search for meaning, for truth – for intellectual or religious convictions – is best when the individual is allowed to tread his own path with his bare feet, unshoed with traditions and dogma. That adult individual, escorted by ‘objective’ parameters of engagement, will most likely arrive safely in the journey.

When the mind is zipped up against an inquiry for which it is hungry, the lips buttoned against the expression of legitimate thought, there will be consequences. One of such consequences is that the individual becomes a mere captive of mind terrorism, an unwilling practitioner of the faith or ideal imposed. A forced member of any faith is even technically no different from an atheist, since the person involved performs hollow rituals lacking internal support. The baggage of unresolved doubt will never allow anyone to practise an imposed faith creditably. So what is the point in enforcing religious adherence? The better approach would be to counter the differing mind with factual proofs and other rational means of persuasion.

Another consequence of muzzled thought, this time with respect to the silent onlookers who would not condemn the kidnap of the mind, is that such bystanders unconsciously promote an ugly psychology. That mindset that frowns at otherness, one in which terrorists are implicated, is the same one receiving the blessing of our silence. Some may say, “after all he’s an atheist and therefore deserves it.” They forget that these ‘little’ encroachments, these private tyrannies, are the social elements that guarantee ideologies like Boko Haram.

We must all speak out and condemn this young man’s incarceration. We must reach out in love for, in the final analysis, we are still family – members of that clan of intelligent animals called humanity. We must embrace contrary opinion – whether as theists or atheists. We should recognise that religious truths are relative, not absolute, given the imprints of factors like socialisation, geography, social exposure, etc. Let us understand that each person in this pursuit of meaning and truth, is most likely an innocent violator of our own grounds, just as we are, to theirs. If God wanted us to reason alike, He would have made us all look the same.

7 people dead, others injured in accident on Lagos-Ibadan expressway

ghastly accident Lagos Ibadan express June 27 2014-YNaija

Reports have it that the fatal accident which occurred today on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has claimed 7 lives and left an unidentified number of people injured.

Earlier reports indicated that the crash involved 5 cars and a trailer and the expressway was shut down with no movement at all.

We will bring you more reports as they emerge. Photos below:

 

I Was Strangled, Tied Up ─ Kidnapped Six-Year-Old Boy

 on Wednesday in Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos State after a six-year-old boy, Emmanuel Emeka was rescued from a kidnapper, the boy has recounted his experience.

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The 7-year-old Emmanuel and the suspect, Mama Ifunaya

Emmanuel Emeka, who said the suspect, identified as Mama Ifunaya was a neighbour, lured him into her room, strangled him, covered his mouth with clothes before tying him up with rope to prevent him from screaming.

He said: “I wanted to draw water and take my bath before going to school when she told me to come. I went because I know her; she is Mama Ifunnaya. But when I got to her side, she threw me inside her room… she closed her net. She then tied me and put me inside a box.

“I wanted to shout, but I could not shout properly. I heard my mummy’s voice when she was looking for me, but I could not shout. She (pointing to the suspect) is a wicked person.”

It was reported on June 25, that  but for the intervention of the police was caught by residents of the area with the victim tied with a rope in a bag which led her to confessing that she was sent by one pastor Ernest Nwankwo, the General Overseer of Holy Family Ministry a.k.a House of Mercy who turns out to be the owner of the kidnappers’ den.

After her confession she was said to have led the mob to the church, the mob forced their way into a house near the church, but discovered that the prophet had fled but were said to have found in the house photographs of previously missing people, mats, calabashes containing unknown substances and eight other victims including a mentally-challenged man.

Meanwhile the victim’s mother, Mrs. Gloria Emeka speaking to Punch explained that she never suspected her neighbour because while she was searching for her child, the suspect was in her room with her children praying and shouting “holy ghost fire.”

She said she later discovered it was a ploy to prevent her from hearing Emmanuel’s screams.

Narrating she said: “On Tuesday morning, I was preparing Emmanuel to go to school. He told me he wanted to fetch the water from the well.

“I left him and went inside the kitchen where I was cooking. But what I heard next was the muffled voice of my child and I ran out.

“I began shouting his name, but I didn’t see him. I, however, observed that my neighbour’s door was slightly opened and I entered. I met her children and asked them if they saw Emmanuel, but they said no.

“I looked everywhere without a trace of my son. People joined me and we searched the surroundings, but we couldn’t find him.

“My landlady’s son entered the well to see if he fell into the well, but he came out and said he couldn’t find anything.”

“Later, we saw her leaving the house with a box on her head. She said she was travelling. It was my landlady that challenged her why she could go out when everybody was busy searching for Emmanuel.

“The landlady asked her to stop, but she suddenly increased her pace and started running. That was how the landlady shouted, ‘kidnapper, kidnapper’, and people ran after her.”

The box was said to have fallen, and when it was opened, the missing boy was found in it.

According to apolice source some witnesses said more than 15 receipts were recovered from the victim. The receipts were said to have shown payment for some past unidentified jobs.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide said that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.

However, the accused pastor is reported to be currently on the run.

Kaduna Massacre – Over 100 Victims Get Mass Burial In Southern Kaduna

At least 110 persons, mainly women and children, were given mass burial in several regions of Southern Kaduna in the afternoon of June 26, 2014, Thursday. 

Mass burial in Kaduna
Some of the bodies before mass burial in Kaduna. Photo credit – SaharaReporters

All of the deceased were killed in a series of ethnic attacks on at least seven settlements of Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The attackers, suspected to be Fulanis, burnt down houses and slaughtered dozens of villagers.

According to a local resident, Barrister Sunday Ugah, who sent some images and notes to SaharaReporters, many people are still missing in the area. The number of wounded people reached 300, while the number of displaced people will be even more shocking. 

Ugah send some gruesome and unpublished pictures and described the situation in the following way:

“I was born about 40 years ago, and I have never seen this kind of ethnic cleansing in my life, we have a family that all their 12 children were mutilated to death.”

The mass burial was also confirmed by LGA Chairman, Emmanuel Adamu, and the National Chairman of Ninzom Progressive Youth, Bezard Wuyah. The men confirmed this information in a telephone interview with Vanguard.

Wuyah revealed that an unnamed Igbo trader and his wife were among the victims, who were laid to eternal rest in a parcel of land between Gwantu Kurmi and Kobin near the local government.

“Our land has been desecrated and we are deeply mourning. We do not expect the government to treat this with levity by taking our peaceful and law abiding nature for granted,” he concluded.

In his remarks Adamu explained that the authorities had no choice but to arrange a mass burial. The corpses were rapidly decomposing due to poor facilities at the hospitals.

At the same time, some families were allowed to take the bodies of their relatives away. The number of identified bodies taken away for individual burials was not disclosed.

LGA Chairman has further noted that all the injured people received treatment for free, and assured of returned normalcy in the area. He confirmed that eight Toyota Hulix vehicles full of soldiers were redeployed in the area from Kaduna. The military men would make a significant reinforcement to those already on duty.

It would be added that , is still in force.