Police operatives have arrested a 50-year-old suspect, Umar Samaila, said to be the spiritual leader of bandits in parts of Niger State, as well as Nasarawa and Abuja.
The spokesman for the Niger State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed this in a statement on Monday in Minna, the state capital.
He explained that the suspect was arrested on Saturday based on a technical intelligence that bandits were planning to kidnap some worshipers the next day in a church at Buku village in Abaji Area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“During interrogation, the suspect confessed to being the spiritual leader to some notorious bandits hibernating in Niger, FCT Abuja, and Nasarawa States,” said Abiodun. “During his last conversation with his gang on the same date at about 0720hrs, he directed them to go ahead with the operation and assured them of success.
“He also promised to pray for the release of a suspected bandit known as ‘Julli’ currently in police custody in Abuja. The suspect will be transferred to the FCT (Police) Command, Abuja for further investigation.”
The arrest of Samaila, according to Abiodun, comes four days after police operatives attached to Lapai Division intercepted four suspected cattle rustlers at a forest located on a boundary between Niger State and Abuja.
Those arrested on Tuesday last week included Abubakar Buba – 27, Shehu Jare – 20, Abubakar Garba – 44, and Abubakar Na’Allah – 25.
The command’s spokesman stated that the policemen, in collaboration with local vigilantes, recovered 40 cows and fifteen 15 sheep.
“During interrogation, the suspects claimed to be rearing cattle in the said forests but could not give a satisfactory account of the cattle in their possession,” he said.
“The case is under investigation while the suspects will be arraigned in court for prosecution immediately after the investigation is concluded.”