Scores of motorists forced to park along Kaduna-Abuja highway on Wednesday following blockade of the road by kidnappers, were saved when the convoy of Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai arrived the scene.
The arrival of the governor to the scene at about 3:45 pm, made the kidnappers to evacuate after wounding some of their victims.
It is not clear whether any of the motorists were abducted, but according to Samuel Aruwan, the governor’s spokesman, El-Rufai ordered the evacuation of those injured to hospital for medical attention.
Aruwan said the governor was on his way to Abuja, but on getting to Akilubu village around 3:40pm, he sighted dozens of vehicles parked by citizens, who said kidnappers had blocked the road ahead.
“Security operatives in the governor’s convoy advanced and cleared the road of the criminals who fled into the forest.
‘After clearing the road, Governor El-Rufai directed that travelers who had been wounded by the criminals be rushed to the nearest hospital.
“The Governor also directed security agencies to intensify patrols and permanently clear the road of the bandits,” he added.
Security agencies appeared to have heeded the governor’s advice as the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reiterated its commitment to support the Police and other security agencies with imagery intelligence to tackle security challenges in Nigeria, especially on Kaduna-Abuja highway.
NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the move is part of inter-agency cooperation to address security challenges in the country, especially, the issue of kidnapping and banditry along the Abuja-Kaduna highway and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari axis.
Daramola said the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this when the Acting Inspector General of Police, (I-G), Mohammed Adamu, and the Director General DSS (DG DSS), Yusuf Bichi,visited him at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
He said the I-G and the DG DSS on arrival went into a closed door meeting with the CAS before undertaking a guided tour of facilities at the newly established, state-of- the-art Geospatial Intelligence Data Centre (GIDC) and Strategic Air Operations Centre (SAOC).
He said that the GIDC, equipped with high-tech computer hardware and software, was established to enhance the acquisition, analysis, interpretation and exploitation of imagery and geospatial information to provide actionable intelligence for the Armed Forces and other security agencies.
He said the equally well-equipped SAOC is expected to greatly enhance the coordination of air operations in support of internal security operations across the country.
Adamu while inspecting the facilities, expressed delight and satisfaction with the cutting edge technologies and sophisticated computer software at the Centres.
He said the essence of the visit to the CAS was to explore possibilities of using NAF air assets and the products of the GIDC to improve the effectiveness of operations to deal with issue of kidnapping and armed banditry.
” Especially along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway and other parts of the country including Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Kogi States.”
According to him, the criminals had moved towards the Abuja axis to carry out their nefarious activities, ” as a result of the onslaught by security agencies against the bandits in Zamfara.
“I felt that as a security agency, we need to synergise with other security outfits.
” We don’t have the air capability but the NAF has them, with this, we can have a joint operation to deal with this security issue.”
*Updated with reports on security efforts to curb kidnapping on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.