New Terror Group in Kogi: VP Sambo, Gov. Wada, Ex-Gov. Idris, Others Fingered As Sponsors
That Kogi State has been embroiled in political squabbles and leadership tussles in the past decade is not news. Inter and intra political party crises have dealt a fatal blow on the Kogi State democracy. These have no doubt given rise to so many legal battles, accusations and counter claims of all sorts. The political upheavals in Kogi state are far from over especially with the many power struggles and disagreements that have remained unresolved. Any objective discussant on Kogi State democracy would easily reveal that the political space is full with grief and anger. In the midst of these political uncertainties and aggression, the hitherto sleepy Kogi State is dramatically changing and a new era of terrorism seems to have crept in. Despite concerns about the growing threats posed by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North east and west regions of Nigeria, the recent revelation of the existence of one Friday Abdul Sani and the story of his group ‘Ajana Mopol’ from every logical calculation and objective analysis show that Kogi State may be the latest proof that terrorism is not limited to any specific region of Nigeria.
Flashing back to 2003 and 2012, many colossal acts of criminality were alleged to have been committed by Friday Abdul Sani. These despicable actions are neither mere rhetoric nor unsubstantiated accusations as they were officially documented and testified to under oath by officers of the Nigerian Police and the Department of State Security Services a.k.a SSS. Unfortunately, till now, the atrocities of Friday Abdul Sani have never been a media attraction for the local press in Kogi State because they understand his ties with the Kogi State government and his potentials for criminality. The guess is that any media that attempted to bring the Friday Abdul Sani’s issue into the notice would perhaps have its editor killed the next day and the Kogi State government proscribed it. From the avalanche of convincing facts, Friday Abdul Sani’s era is a reign of terror that many visit with fear; doing otherwise, may literally spell a lack of wisdom for the preservation of one’s life.
It is awkward to note that the Kogi State Command of the SSS in 2008 at Kogi Sate High Court acknowledged the existence of a terrorist of Friday Abdul Sani’s magnitude, yet remained dormant. The sworn statement of the SSS that the same Friday Abdul Sani is an escapee from its net vis-a vis his new status as an ‘honorable’ member of the Kogi State House of Assembly exposes the cover up and complicity of the SSS in the whole epistle and it raises questions about the capacity of institutions charged to investigate crimes or on the principles of justice which allows a man that ought to be in jail to hold public office. Indeed, this begs the question of how the SSS could have failed to use the information it made under oath which is lawfully bound regarding the affirmation of Friday Abdul Sani’s criminality. These are questions that take on new significance when one considers that the SSS is charged with the responsibility of granting clearance to individuals seeking political positions.
It is more disturbing that no other security agency has made all these knowledge public until now. Therefore, restoring justice on all the issues that confront Friday Abdul Sani in this investigative report simply cannot function if taken to the same Police or SSS because justice was not served when these security organizations had the opportunity of advancing their case of criminality against Friday Abdul Sani. The many blatant acts of cover up of a criminal complicity have not only resulted in continual deaths and loss of property in Kogi State but is taking a new dimension of terrorism akin to the Boko Haram emergence.
Presently, almost everyone in Kogi State politics is well acquainted with the facts of Friday Abdul Sani’s criminality but narrow interpretations of the phrase ‘innocent until found guilty” may have been exploited by the sponsors of Friday Abdul Sani to justify the freedom he enjoys at the Kogi State House of Assembly. Nevertheless, the testimony deposed to by the SSS that, Friday Abdul Sani is at large when combined with the pictures in this report of his past misdeeds including gunshot wounds sustained from a robbery incident as also deposed to by an Assistant Commissioner of Police under oath and images of Friday Abdul Sani in handcuff and leg chains with blood stains are sufficient reasons for any focused security agency to keep such a criminal away from the streets.
Therefore, in the spirit of Nation building and security, the below report on Friday Abdul Sani’s antecedents are best shared for the purpose of fighting terrorism, advancing justice and enhancing Nigeria’s democracy. This report is a chilling study of one man’s role in the entangled web of violence. It features an in-depth examination of past and present issues of violence connected to Friday Abdul Sani with astonishing details on how the Kogi state government is allegedly guilty of glamorizing terrorism. This report goes on to spin out a complex web of connections and intrigue that ties together the Kogi state government and Friday Abdul Sani. Indeed, it exposes and boldly challenges the cover up roles played by the security agencies. To supplement the analysis, quantitative evidence depicting provocative and lucid pictures of crime scenes of Friday Abdul Sani have been included.
Even though evidence exist that many petitions have been written in the past two years against Friday Abdul Sani to the offices of the Attorney General of the Federal Government and some security agencies, the assumption here is that they may not have probably reached its addresses by now. What follows here are details about some particularly spectacular criminal operations of Ajana mopol, a clear line of argument on Nigerian security and how the government can respond to credible threats emerging from criminal sophistication of these hoodlums that are alleged to be sharpening their machetes and oiling guns to do more harm to the general public by polluting the atmosphere of the 2015 presidency in favour of their financiers..
.Ajana Mopol a.k.a Odolu Youths Movement has demonstrated that it can be as dangerous as any violent terrorist group in the world. The group which was formed by Friday Abdul Sani Makama in 2003 as a political thug group tasked with hitting political opponents had originally been an amorphous movement of local youths without offices or membership roll. In its early days, the group was primarily active within Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Council of Kogi State as an armed gang. In 2003, when the mantle of leadership changed and Alhaji Ibrahim Idris emerged as the new governor of Kogi state, he found it expedient to recruit the services of Friday Abdul Sani. In the administration of Ibrahim Idris, Friday was most trusted confidant as he was a master in creating perceptions on political opponents.
Specifically, between 2004 and 2007, Friday Abdul Sani, the group leader carried out multiple violent attacks in Kogi state. Of note is the murder of one Samaila Ejima on the 14thof December, 2004. This incident is one in a long series of offenses committed against the public but the corrupt system of the police brewed injustice in some stages of the case. The police made some arrests but when enquiries were raised by some Odolu community members on the status of the case, the then Commissioner of Police informed them that the case had been transferred to Force Headquarters, Abuja for investigations. Although, one of the murder suspects, Mohammed Omolayo. A.k.a Lessgo was later arrested by the Police Area Command at Nsukka, he was said to have escaped or released before the Odolu Police Division got to Nsukka.
By 2007, Friday Abdul Sani’s group had become a militant movement of mostly youths with many branches of small violent groups like ‘positive youths’ and ‘Aluta Youths’. These small groups before 2007, obtained most of their financing through ransoms, extortions and illegal collection of revenue from timber contractors from Enugu State. In the closing months of 2007, with the new status of the militant group as an umbrella organization for youths’ violence, the group became more organized and even participated in government functions. Even though Friday Abdul Sani’s group had never been legally registered in the first place, the Kogi state government of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris recognized them. The group was initially not thought to receive funding from government sources but in 2007, new facts revealed otherwise. Prior to 2007 elections, the Ajana Mopol best described a pro-government militia group engaged in an extended campaign of violence, from the murders and attempted murders of prominent politicians to arson, abduction, intimidation, extortion and repeated threats of political opponents of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, ex-governor of Kogi state. Indeed, it is common knowledge that the Kogi state government of Ibrahim Idris was also associated with a number of repressive policies and actions aimed at limiting and punishing political opposition but the hidden fact was that Friday Makama was the mastermind.
Furthermore, in 2007, Friday Abdul Sani’s militancy gained recognition and official status as a pro government militia group in Kogi State after the group carried out civilian brutality during the 2007 elections for Ex-Governor Ibrahim Idris. Friday Abdul Sani became a rallying point for the supporters of Ibrahim Idris and his group then attracted a considerable number of new recruits. The Kogi state Government raised the operational profile of Friday Abdul Sani’ when he was appointed the Special Assistant to the Governor on youths empowerment. One wonders how such an uncompromising criminal could empower youths if not that the appointment was presumably an incentive for a job well done for Governor Ibrahim Idris.
At the height of the group’s notoriety and power in 2007, Friday Abdul Sani possessed an army of well-paid youths. His known lieutenants and field officers in crime were Muhammed Musa a.k.a Lessgo. Friday Ademu a.k.a Friday Akpu, Abdul Umoru a.k.a OC torture, Monday Abutu, a.k.a Ring Commander, Abuh Muhammed a.k.a Bebeto, Inda Musa a.k.a lion of Africa, Onuche John, Abraham Apeh Ameh, Ademu a.k,a Pery komo, Idris Umoru a.k.a Idi, Alidu Abuh, Lucky Oforachi, Ndanusa Salifu a.k.a Achakuma, Yunusa Jubrin a.ka Fada, Emmanuel Obaje a.k.a Ucha and Jubrin a.k,a Bubligo. All these youths carried out many high-profile attacks in the years 2007 and 2008, including stealing and burning of houses. Specifically, these youth militants violently disrupted the swearing ceremony of elected Vice Chairman and ten councilors of Igalamela Odolu Local Government Council. The case was investigated by Assistant Commissioner of Police ‘D’ Department, Lokoja with reference no C27650/KG/X/Vol.11 but Friday Abdul Sani was never arrested. Information from the Police records of investigation as conducted and signed by ACP Ibrahim Sabo Umar of 20th August 2008 stated that on the 1st of August 2008, ‘at about 1630hrs the group of thugs believed to have been sent by Francis Akowe Ocheja came with arms –AK 47, pump action riffles to the Odolu Local Government Chairman’s residence at Idah and started firing arms at random around the house. They included Yunusa Jibrin a.k.a father ‘m’, Danladi Akpai Ebiloma ‘m’, Ademui James Sule ‘m’, Friday Abdul Sani ‘m’ Special assistant and co-ordinator of kogi State Youth Empowerment Programme, Sunday F. Ocheja, ‘m’, son of Francis Akowe Ocheja, Iliyasu Musa a.k.a Okpiye ‘m’, Kabiru Danjuma ‘m’ a.k.a carpet, Ocheni Musa ‘m’ a.k.a Aska, Ubile Abuh Onuche ‘m’, Danlami Isah ak.a Aminta ‘m’, Obaje Achimugu a.k.a OBJ ‘m’, Basim Usman a.k.a Bona ‘m’, Abdulahi Usman a.k.a cow butcher, a staff of the local government council, Bello Ibrahim ‘m’ Amunike, Bala Sule‘m’ a.k.a Daram and Arome Isah a.k.a Rumsy, According to the Police investigations ‘ the above mentioned persons or thugs armed themselves with AK 47 and pump action riffles and attacked the home of Hon Ernest Ocholi Abah and set three motor vehicles, two motorcycles and two electric generators ablaze. They also pulled down the fence, damaged the doors, louvers and looted away several properties’. The police concluded its report by stating that ‘the level of destruction, looting and killing involved in this case was too much’.
The irony is that despite the fact that Friday Abdul Sani’s violent acts were conclusively established by the police and the SSS had in its past investigations repeatedly characterized him as a criminal beyond any reasonable doubt, he was never sent to jail by any court of law. On this, the then State Governor Ibrahim Idris is believed to have advised the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to give Friday Abdul Sani a clean bill of health to avoid further prosecution by the Police. Indeed, this is a clear case of standing justice on its head because the investigation report provided by the police detailed the extraordinary lengths Friday Abdul Sani had taken to advance criminality and obstruct justice. Ordinarily, If the State Police Command was not in approval or compromise of the intervention of Governor Ibrahim Idris, these atrocities could have made headlines that would have attracted enormous attention of the Police headquarters.
Nevertheless, accountability by Friday Abdul Sani in Kogi Sate for his criminal activities was wishful thinking as the Kogi State command of the SSS was also later caught up in contradiction like the Nigerian Police. Thanks, many say, to the help from Ibrahim Idris, the political godfather of Friday Abdul Sani who arguably used his wealth to control the Kogi state security apparatus. Like in every State in Nigeria, the Governor calls the shots and has the influence to terminate any case against any of his disciples except when such cases are transferred to zonal commands or headquarters.
In the months of May and November 2008, residents of Okanwili, Ofodo, Agbokete and Ogbogbo communities were attacked and sacked by Friday Abdul Sani led militants. Property belonging to a former Commissioner for Health, Hon Martin Onu Idakwo and Alhaji Yakubu Abuh were vandalized. During the mentioned period, Dekina Local Government Council was attacked and an innocent Pre-National Diploma student of the Federal Polytechnic Idah was gunned down while coming out from the mosque. Also, cars belonging to Hon Ernest Abah and Jacob Edime were burnt. In Agbokete community, an eighty year old man, Adebo Abutu was beaten to death. The police as usual conducted investigations but characteristically no one was arrested because then Governor Ibrahim Idris in his capacity as the Chief Security Officer of the state, was not in support of the police actions. The truth is that Friday Abdul Sani’s atrocities were well known to the Kogi State government but the State Governor merely condoned them by patting Friday on the back through award of contracts to renovate schools. Even though large sums were paid, no work was done.
In 2008, Friday Abdul Sani was arrested and detained in Prison. He was later charged to court by the Kogi State Police Commissioner on established heinous crimes. He was indicted by the police for his alleged involvement in violent attacks and murder. His stay in the gulag never lasted even though no bail was granted by any court for his release. Specifically, in the middle of his trial, a twist was introduced by the SSS when it applied to the Magistrate Court for the release of Friday Abdul Sani on the grounds that he was needed to endorse some security documents in its office. The release of Friday Abdul Sani by the court from prison to the SSS led to his eventual escape. It was very obvious the Kogi state government had a hand in this and it was executed through some discrete tactics by the government of Ibrahim Idris in collaboration with the SSS. This assumption draws its strength from the evidence that no officer of the SSS was ever arrested neither was any manhunt launched to nab Friday Abdul Sani but the simple explanation is that some persons charged with the responsibility of keeping him in custody were bribed. It is an explanation that satisfied the Kogi State court for terminating the case against Friday Abdul Sani. Till date, the sudden disappearance of this alleged terror mastermind from the custody of the Kogi State Command SSS is still mysterious but it was reported that the State government facilitated his release through the then ADC to the Ex-Governor Ibrahim Idris.
Friday Abdul Sani, having severally been patronized by the Kogi state government, grew in influence and took laws into his hands by seeking to diminish the influence of the security agencies in Kogi State. In an instance, Friday Abdul Sani through his lawyer claimed that the SSS fired shots at him while escorting a top politician. However, in a statement under oath made by the SSS at the Kogi State High Court, the security agency did not only deny it but revealed explicit details of Friday Abdul Sani’s atrocities. Indeed, if the SSS were serious then, they would have re-arrested and sued him. Doing so would have set a precedent because the first step to achieving a peaceful and law abiding society is to take dangerous criminals off the streets.
The mayhem by Friday Abdul Sani continued in the years 2009 and 2011. Specifically, on 20th July 2010, the office of the Attorney General, Abuja instituted a case at the Federal High Court Abuja, case No AB/149/10 on a series of criminal charges against Friday Abdul Sani, Umar Yakubu, Garba Muhammed, Akpa Ademu, Inusa Audu and Ocheni Abdul. The charges included armed robbery at Karomsi Hotel Lokoja and another between Lokoja and Ajaokuta Expressway. Also included were that on April 11th 2010, the residence of former Federal Minister of State, Interior, Hon Humphrey Abah was burgled and vandalized by Friday Abdul Sani and that on 23rd of June 2010, Friday Abdul Sani and five others at Ejule in Ofu local government Council robbed one Moses Garba. Other charges stated by Aliyu Adedeji, the State Counsel to the Attorney General included unlawful possession of fire arms and that Friday Abdul Sani had been declared wanted. Witnesses listed by the prosecutor include, Ademu Momoh of Ejule village of Ofu local government council, Kogi State, Umar Sani of the SSS, Lokoja, Andrew James of the SSS, Abuja and Sergent Uba of the Nigerian Police, Zone 8, Lokoja, Kogi state. On this issue, Friday Abdul Sani has continued to evade prosecution. The strangest part of it all is the Kogi State command of the SSS even with the compelling revelations on Friday Abdul Sani, failed to conduct an appropriate security screen on Friday Abdul Sani in 2011 before being cleared to contest for elections. Indeed, this speaks volume of the nature of partnership that exists between the Kogi state command of the SSS and its headquarters.
There are other instances of public disturbance and assault committed by the members ofAjana Mopol. Precisely, on the 20th November 2011 at Ajaka town, Friday Abdul Sani violently attacked one Hon. Ismali Inah Hussain-a member of the Federal House of Representative and his supporters during the gubernatorial campaign of Captain Idris Wada. Both Ex Governor Ibrahim Idris and the incumbent Kogi State Governor Idris Wada were witnesses. Their silence explains the Kogi State government’s endorsement of Friday Abdul Sani’s criminality as they were more interested in securing electoral victory through any means. Certainly, the grooming of Friday Abdul Sani by Ex- Governor Ibrahim Idris is akin to a man that sets a house ablaze in the night without confirming those inside. Therefore, when Friday Abdul Sani requested for the PDP ticket to the State House of Assembly, Governor Ibrahim Idris could not say no.
Today, Captain Idris Wada as governor Kogi State has acquired Friday Abdul Sani and his group as a comfortable liability. The activities of Ajana Mopol have not ceased to cause devastation to the livelihoods of many of the people of Kogi state, yet Friday Abdul Sani has continued to elude the investigations of security agencies. Specifically, on May 5th 2012, Friday Abdul Sani’s group was accused of being responsible for the murder of three Fulani herdsmen at Odolu where their corpses were recovered by the police authorities. Also, on the 7th of May 2012, Friday Abdul Sani’s field officers were alleged to have robbed many people at Odolu community along Nsukka road. The police arrested Amodu Musa a.k.a Nnamdi. Tenimu Gbogbobiri and two other youths but the gang leader, Muhammed Musa a.k.a Lessego and two others are assumed to still be at large.
Over the years some well guided elites of Kogi state have boldly expressed disapproval over the activities of Friday Abdul Sani, incidents and documents abound on petitions written to security agencies at both state and federal levels. Specifically, a group known as concerned citizens of Igalamela/ Odolu were first to raise an alarm vide a petition written to then IG of police in the year 2008. The said petition was endorsed by Hon Ernest O. Abah, a former Local Government Chairman, Hon Zekeri Amnu, Hon Ibrahim Mohammed, Hon Sule Jacobs, Hon Abdul Aruwa and Hon Phlemon Achiugu. Copies of petition were sent to some vital security agencies including office of the DG SSS, Senate Committee on Security, Hon Ismail Inah Hassan, member Idah Federal Constituency and Humphrey Abah, former Minister of state police affairs and AVM Salifu Atawodi Rtd. Till date, no official response have been communicated to the petitioners.
Certainly, a drama is playing out in the Kogi state. According to the information made available to 247ureports.com by a loyalist of Friday Abdul Sani, the Ajana Mopol group has been enlisting new members that are active in multiple areas of Kogi State. The objective is to sabotage the initiatives of political opponents within the north central region with massive offensive attacks that would inflame the federal government into confusion as done by Boko Haram. Presently, the group is estimated to have a membership of about 250 with an extended membership of over 2000 in the rest of twenty Local Government Councils of Kogi State. Friday Abdul Sani’s sustained commanding control of the group is largely adduced to the patronage of some top politicians in the State. Listed is the former governor of the state, Ibrahim Idris. It is not clear if the group’s leader, Friday Abdul Sani is connected with any fundamentalist groups but the activities Ajana Mopol share great resemblance with tactics of some core militant groups in Asia.
That Friday Abdul Sani’s new pursuit to take over the political leadership of Kogi includes carrying out operations that are considered repressive and inappropriate are established facts. The initial police investigation which acknowledged that Friday Abdul Sani is an illegal arms dealer seems to have been proved right with the new insinuations that Friday Sani Abdul has been involved in the importation of body armors and fire arms. Where the funding of such a huge capital investment comes from may not be a difficult guess because Friday Sani Abdul may not need outside financing because under Ibrahim Idris, he was officially given two billion naira for school renovation by the Kogi State Government through a special account in Skye Bank, Lokoja but no school was renovated.
The growth of Ajana Mopol group in criminal activity is one that has been a concern of many citizens of Kogi State. Unfortunately, with enhanced criminal capabilities, financial resources and new status of Friday Abdul Sani as lawmaker, it is now easier for members of Ajana Mopol to hide their involvement, thwart law enforcement efforts and even create images of legitimacy. It is therefore not wrong to assume that Friday Sani Abdul and his subordinates would continue their efforts to escape justice and avoid the reach of the law in many new ways that demand attention. Indeed, if they can avoid responsibility for past acts, then they can be emboldened to commit further abuses and that seems to be the pattern that is developing under the administration of Idris Wada.
Regrettably, the kite being flown by Friday Abdul Sani is that the incumbent Governor, Captain Idris Wada has granted his blessings on his group’s activities. Specifically, one of the task is to work for the actualization of Vice President Namadi Sambo’s ambition as President should a faction of the PDP decide to cede the Presidency to the North in 2015 as being advanced by some members of the party. As much as such a remark is easily dismissible especially coming from a well-established criminal, however it does have some far reaching connotation because there exist a very warm relationship between Friday Abdul Sani and Idris Wada, the Kogi State Governor. Furthermore, the healthy relationship between Idris Wada and Vice President Namadi Sambo is of common knowledge because it could be recalled that in the turbulent days of the Kogi State governorship, Vice President Namadi Sambo was alleged to have ordered the swearing in of Idris Wada as Kogi State Governor against the directive of the Attorney General of the federation which conveyed a Supreme Court ruling in favour of the Speaker, Kogi state house of assembly. Also, Vice President Namadi Sambo is also alleged to have directed the Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly, Honourable Bello to step down for Idris Wada. Therefore, the claim by Friday Sani Abdul to carrying out a mandate issued by Governor Idris Wada may sound real given the uncertainties and intrigues that have cropped up against President Goodluck Jonathan purported interest in 2015 elections. True or false, the fact that Friday Abdul Sani has questionable antecedents calls for through investigation. Otherwise, the history of Boko Haram’s romance with politicians in Borno State may just repeat itself in a greater magnitude if all the major players in this dangerous and twisty plot are not interrogated and cautioned. The Nigerian nation cannot afford another group of criminals in the guise of politics.
Although the activities of Friday and his group have been restricted to Kogi state, nevertheless, the weight of current evidence strongly suggests that potentials exist for them to expand their apparatus toward politically motivated ends that will pose a threat to national security. His antecedent of criminal sophistication and deeds has violated the Nigerian constitution. Such a man that is best described as a disease that must be isolated from a decent society deserves to be punished especially now that he wields tremendous power with the money that comes from awarded but unexecuted contracts courtesy of the Kogi State Government. Indeed, with this degree of financial autonomy, any such criminal group can execute any dubious agenda to achieve the strategic aspirations of its sponsors. It is time the security agencies responded to this huge challenge of terrorism.
The various cover ups by the past and present administrations of Kogi State is considered a misdeed. Also, the collaboration of security agencies in the cover up is a gross breach of trust and duty. No one that directly interferes with a criminal investigation should be treated with impunity. The integrity of our criminal justice system and the rule of law demands that justice be done, even if the criminal violations took place some time ago. The office of the Attorney General has the duty under the Nigerian constitution to initiate penal investigative procedures against members of Friday Sani Abdul’s group and against other participants in these crimes, as appropriate.
The gravity of the accused crimes against Friday Abdul Sani, together with the conviction that he will continue perpetrating similar crimes, the assurance that he will undermine criminal proceedings, the certainty that he will attempt escape as done in the past, are conditions which warrant that a man like Friday Abdul Sani with established identity of criminality be put under investigative detention as allowed under the Nigerian law. It is therefore wise to remind the office of the Attorney General that a person guilty of an offense under the law shall be punished whether he is a legally responsible ruler, a member of a legislative body, a public individual or a private individual.
With his arrest, Nigerians and the international community are watching to see how the police will handle the case.
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