Controversy trails release of abducted Turkish expatriates

…Kwara Police not responsible for rescue – Vigilante

…VGN’s claim false, misleading, under investigation- CP

By Ahmed Ajikobi

About 72 hours after they were rescued, there seemed to be controversy surrounding the freedom of four Turkish expatriates as the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) Edu/Patigi Zonal Command has accused the Kwara State Police Command of taking undue credit for the rescue of the foreigners.
The group in a statement signed by the Provost, Mohammed Umar and Zonal Commander, Mohammed Dede on Saturday, claimed that they actually rescued the victims from their abductors and also arrested the suspects in conjunction with Miyyetti Allah Fulani and the Police.
“Information reaching our office is that the police are parading about that they are responsible for the rescue of the Turkish kidnapped and the DPO Lafiagi Zonal Command is trying to use the development to gain promotion but if he succeeds, we will also use this to ignore any help the state or federal government may require from us.
“In line with the rescue operations led by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) and supported by Nigeria Police Force and Miyeti Allah Fulani group. The VGN deemed it fit to explain to the general public how the rescue operation was carried out step by step.”
In the statement, the VGN claimed that following the kidnap of the victims, the Nigeria Police Command Kwara State solicited help from the VGN Edu/Patigi Zonal Command as regards rescue operation of the Turkish expatriates that were working in Edu Local Government supplying BUA group mined stones.
Speaking on how the rescue mission started, “The VGN started the investigation by setting a team consisting of 30 of its personnel to start the search in the forest and another group that will partner with the police on investigation within the communities in case any suspect is resisting arrest or with any sensitive information which can only be obtained by VGN personnel.
“We thereby set-up more teams that will search the forest of Patigi Emirates consisting of 150 VGN personnel and some of the police with us even though they chose to be far behind us at the forest. At the end, we had no authentic lead on the forest.
“Our intelligence team on the following day saw some of their members (suspects) buying food stuffs and mosquito net. Then two of them were tracked to a village called Gada belonging to Patigi emirate. They confessed to be members of the  group. There is one of their members called Tambaya; he is the supplier of the weapons used in the operation. Tambaya was arrested and he denied the allegations but they insist he is the supplier of the weapons.
“By 9am the kidnapper called and asked for the release of their gang members otherwise the kidnapped Turkish would be murdered.
“The wizard of the first order (NNASA’AGI PATIGI) called on the leader among the arrested suspects, prepared charm and cast a spell on him. He was later released and returned back to camp, followed by the VGN team of 45 personnel. And the Turkish held around Esanlu Kuturu village area were released by the suspects due to the spell cast on him. The victims were then received by our members at neighbouring village and were subsequently taken to hotel for safety.
“The Miyyetti Allah Fulani group Leader and SARS operatives were informed about the development by our Zonal Commander and they came, took them to Gbugbu and later Ilorin without notifying our Zonal Commander.”
Reacting to the VGN’s claim, yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun condemned the press statement.
Egbetokun denied knowledge of the group, adding that, they never contacted him throughout the rescue mission.
Speaking with our reporter on the telephone, the CP said, “Ask them if they ever had any contact with the Commissioner of Police throughout the rescue operation.
“We worked with the local vigilante in that area who are not members of VGN and I have already thanked them for their roles.
“The VGN, if truly they are the author of that write up obviously has a motive. The Command is already investigating the mischievous publication,” Egbetokun said.
Meanwhile, the police command has invited the state Coordinator of the VGN and Miyyetti Allah group.
“In the rescue of the abducted Turkish, taking personal glory was never our primary concern. We were absolutely committed to getting the captives freed.
“We will not release the blow by blow account of the rescue operation to the public yet because we might still need the strategy in future but what the so-called VGN’s claim is false and quite misleading.
“I have already thanked everybody who cooperated with us in this operation. I even thanked people of Kwara State. If however, VGN has played any role not known to the police, I hereby acknowledge that role and thank them specially. In case there are other persons or groups who also feel they played roles that are not known to us, we thank them specially and acknowledge their roles.”
Similarly, the Seriki Fulani, Alh Usman Adamu condemned the statement of the VGN, claiming that credit for the rescue of the abducted Turkish and the suspects’ arrest.
Adamu alleged that, the VGN did partakein the operation, adding that the Miyyetti Allah Vigilante in conjunction with the police, DSS and other security agencies worked in unison for the rescue mission.
“As the Seriki Fulani, I remove my turban and joined the security men in searching for the Turkish. Miyyetti Allah was the first to arrest the criminals Thursday morning. We interrogated them and handed them over to the police. In conjunction with SARS, the second suspect was arrested. We are the ones that rescued the Turkish and recovered AK47.”
Speaking on behalf of the  State Chairman of VGN, Seriki Ndaji of Ilorin,  Alh Ibrahim Jimoh, Alhaji Baba Magaji , denied knowledge of the press release by the Edu/Patigi VGN Zonal Command.
“So far they (Turkish) have been rescued, that development gives every security operative and the state entirely joy.”
Recall, that the Kwara CP on Friday during a press briefing at the headquarters of the command , said the police  worked round the clock with the local vigilante in that area.
“Our anti-kidnapping squad, special anti robbery squad, members of our operation harmony, the Security Intelligence Bureau (SIB) are all working under the IGP operation Purff Adder were deployed.
“The IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) was also immediately deployed. Our efforts started yielding results yesterday when one member of the gang named Buba was nabbed at Gbugbu with two accomplices and one AK47 rifle recovered. Another member involved in the negotiation for ransom was again nabbed this morning 26/07/19.
“These arrests put pressure on the remaining gang members to release the Turkish hostages unconditionally.
“Let me state for purpose of emphasis that no ransom was paid for the release of the hostages. Efforts are underway to track down other fleeing gang members.
“I thank the Government and people of Kwara State and all those who cooperated with us in the effort to rescue the abducted Turks. Let this sound as warning to other criminal elements that Kwara State is not conducive for criminal operations.”

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