Two military aircraft have killed over 1,000 cows in multiple attacks on Fulani settlements in Keana and Doma local government areas of Nasarawa State.
Fulani leaders and some of the victims told Daily Trust that the attacks were launched between Thursday, June 10 and Sunday, June 13.
Some young Fulani herders tending the cattle sustained injuries while over 500 cows that strayed into neighbouring Benue State have not been recovered yet, victims and witnesses said.
Some sources said hundreds of cows were killed in Giza Development Area of Keana Local Government on the grounds that the military operation was to dislodge bandits from the areas.
It was gathered that Sunday’s operation lasted for three hours and caused tension in the areas as farmers and Fulani herders deserted their homes for fear of being killed.
Over 1000 cows were killed and several others were left wounded.
“The aircraft that carried out the operation were under the command of Operation Whirl Stroke of the Nigerian Air Force Base Makurdi in Benue State,” a source said.
The sources said “some bandits shot at a military aircraft; that was what triggered the bombardment of the entire area. One of the gunships was painted in Nigerian Air Force colours while the other one was painted in army green colour.”
However, some Fulani leaders said the attack was without any provocation.
The acting Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Nasarawa State, Bala Mohammed Dabo, said hundreds of cows were also killed between Kwatanbala and Akwanaja in Doma LGA.
“In a separate attack on Thursday in Kuduku of Keana LGA, Alhaji Jigawa lost many cows during the siege. We sat with military officials in Nasarawa State. The commander here represented the overall commander in Benue and he promised that he will escalate the matter to the relevant authorities.
“We pleaded that they should halt the unprovoked siege and killing of cows in Nasarawa State. A governor from neighbouring Benue should stop dictating what is happening in Nasarawa. The Fulani are the most hated people in Nigeria because nobody is speaking for us. We are being killed and maimed and our source of livelihood destroyed without provocation.
“The anti-grazing law in Benue State is just an alibi…It is meant to force the Fulani to extinction. The federal government should rise up to the challenge and salvage our people,” he said.
The Fulani leader also denied encroaching into Benue territory where there is an anti-grazing law.
“There is no justification for gunships to come to Nasarawa territory and kill cows. It would have been different if they were killed in Benue,” he said.
Another victim, Ibrahim Adamu from Akwanaja ward in Kwatanbala of Doma LGA, said 40 of his cows were killed by the gunships on Thursday.
“Our cows had come back home from grazing when the aircraft came and killed them around 6pm. We are in real pain and we pray for help from whatever quarter we can get it. The cows are our source of livelihood,” he said.
The Chairman of Coalition of Fulani Youths Groups of Nigeria (CFYGN), Abdulkareem Bayero, said terrible things were happening in Nasarawa State and have not been reported.
“We are calling on the authorities to intervene on the terrorism against the Fulani. There is no anti-grazing law in Nasarawa and therefore no justification for the air force gunships to come and bomb hundreds of cows of innocent Fulani herdsmen.
“The onslaught has been ongoing for long, the latest started on Thursday. Apart from the cows killed in Awe and Keana LGAs, hundreds of others have fled into Benue State and the locals there have rustled them.
“We need the support of the federal government; we want compensation for our people. Peace will continue to elude the country if this kind of lawlessness will continue,” he said.
The youth leader in Keana, who gave his name as Ya’’u, said: “Around 6am on Sunday, two aircraft from the side of Benue launched sporadic attacks and killed our cows.
“When they came for the second time, around 9am, at a time our people were trying to salvage some of the injured cows, they started bombing them again. More than 500 cows are now missing apart from the hundreds killed.
“We are in distress, we need urgent intervention. Government must talk to the military to stop the offensive. We are compelled to suspect that the government at the centre is also complicit because only the federal government has the power to dispatch aircraft to go and bomb a target.
“We are living peacefully in Nasarawa, we don’t have any case with the host communities and we have never been suspected of banditry or kidnapping but our people are now the target of attacks; we are in serious disarray,” he said.
Another victim, Idrissa Zakaria, said he lost over 50 cows, adding that the first attack was launched between Katanbala and Akonoja.
He said the gunships moved to Giza in Keana LGA. “The gunship will come low and shot at the cows; some of the boys tending the cows were also injured.
“We suspect Governor Samuel Ortom of having a hand in this…He is the one who is giving the military resources to attack us,” he said.
Military aware of Buhari’s shoot-on-sight order
Governor Ortom in his response to the allegation that the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) aircraft was bombarding and killing cows belonging to herders in border areas of Benue and Nasarawa states said that the military was aware of President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to shoot-on-sight.
Ortom, through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, added that the people being chased out of the forest were terrorists and not law-abiding Nigerians.
“Remember that Mr President recently gave an order that anyone with AK-47 should be shot. The military is aware that terrorists and bandits bearing AK-47 have occupied the forests from where they come to attack and kill innocent people. Those people being chased out of the forests are terrorists, not law-abiding Nigerians,” Akase said.
On the part of NAF in Benue, the Command Public Relation Officer (CPRO), Wing Commander Chris Erondu, when contacted, directed our correspondent to the media office of NAF headquarters in Abuja for comments on the matter.
When contacted on Sunday, the spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, told one of our correspondents via telephone that it was not the personnel of the force that carried out the operations.
He said: “That operation in Makurdi is a Defence Headquarters’ operation not an Air Force operation. I wouldn’t even want to comment on that. It was operation Whirl Stroke under Defence Headquarters. It was a joint operation. The best person to talk to is DHQ.”
But the Acting Coordinator, Defence Media Operations (DMO), Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, when contacted, did not answer calls to his phone.
Gabkwet, however, described the report that anybody or any animal was killed as “false” noting that banditry activities were already spiralling in the Benue State capital, Makurdi, where some bandits wielding AK-47 were mingling with the locals.
According to him, “the story is totally false. There are some banditry activities not far from Benue State; somewhere very close to Makurdi. It is between Makurdi and Lafia. So, our helicopter went there and tracked some bandits we saw with AK-47.
“In fact, nobody was killed and nothing happened. The bandits ran into the city. Of course, our trackers picked them out but they later went back again. In clear terms, bandits ran into the city and mingled with the locals.”
Farmers, herders affected
It was gathered that farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Giza Development Area who are living at the border area between Nasarawa and Benue states have started migrating from their respective homes of abode to the state capital for fear of the military bombs.
Sources said many of them have abandoned their farmlands and cattle as a result of the alleged bombardment of bandits and kidnappers’ camps.
When contacted, the Director of Personnel Management in Keana LGA, Galadima Abubakar, said he was not aware of military presence or bombardment of bandits and kidnappers.
Efforts to reach out to the Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dogo Shama, to get the Nasarawa State government’s side of the story proved abortive as several calls to his phone did not go through as of the time of filing in this report.
Also contacted on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer, Nasarawa State Command, ASP Nansel Ranham, said the command was not aware of bombings in Giza and other locations.
NIMC captures more than 60 million Nigerians
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Thursday announced it has registered more than 60 million Nigerians for the unique National Identification Number (NIN) records in the National Identity Database (NIDB).’
The Commission said the feat could not have been possible without the cooperation of all stakeholders, including the general public.
Its Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Kayode Adegoke noted in a statement “the transformational value of a robust and inclusive foundational Identification system in today’s world cannot be overstated.”
” As a Commission, we’re committed to keeping this momentum of scaling up and speeding up NIN issuance nationwide for better identification, authentication and improved service delivery,” Adegoke added..
Adegoke who commended Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami for his leadership in driving the programmes of the commission, emphasised that NIN remains “the Primary Identification for all citizens and legal residents”.
Abba Kyari opens up on alleged bribe to arrest Hushpuppi’s ally
Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari has denied receiving a bribe from a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
The United States Department of Justice had said ongoing investigations showed that Hushpuppi allegedly bribed Kyari to arrest one Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, one of his accomplices in Nigeria.
Reacting to the allegations on Thursday morning, the DCP in a statement on his verified Facebook page said his hands are clean.
According to Kyari, nobody demanded money from the embattled Instagram influencer, stating that the focus of the police was to save people’s lives that were purportedly threatened.
Kyari explained that Hushpuppi had informed the police that somebody in Nigeria was threatening to kill his family. He added that the social media celebrity, who was based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before his incarceration, also sent the suspect’s phone number, urging the police to act fast to save his family.
He however said the suspect was allowed to go after investigation showed they were long time friends with disagreements over money. Kyari insisted that he did not demand a dime from Hushuppi, saying the only time they had discussions about money was when the fraudster demanded to know who sews his native clothes and caps, adding that after linking both party, Hushpuppi sent N300,000 for five sets of attires.
Kyari said the clothes and caps were delivered to his office after which someone collected them for Hushpuppi. He urged anyone interested in further pursuing the matter to contact Vincent for confirmation.
He urged his supporters to remain calm, stating that those working towards damaging his reputation would be disgraced.
The statement reads in part, “For those who are celebrating that this is an indictment on us and mentioning some fictitious big money, They will be disappointed once again as our hands are clean and our record of service for two decades is open for everybody to see. They will continue seeing us serving our fatherland and we will continue responding to ALL distress calls from ALL Nigerians provided they are life threatening.
“For good Nigerians who appreciate our service, please don’t worry as our hands are clean and they should please not respond to those celebrating and creating many false narratives without any evidence. We are used to such types of people and false newsmakers and distributors”.
How Hushpuppi bribed IGP’s team leader Kyari in $1.1m deal – U.S.
The United States Department of Justice has narrated how Hushpuppi, a fraudster from Nigeria, bribed Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
How it started
The statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said a federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week said Hushpuppi, with real name Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, admitted to being part of an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.
He also admitted to subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.
However, trouble began among Hushpuppi and other conspirators on the sharing formula of the money received after they played the roles of bank officials and created a bogus website to steal the $1,1m from the business person.
The dispute led one of the conspirators, Vincent, to inform the victim that Hushpuppi is a fraudster.
However, Hushpuppi, in retaliation, contacted Abba Kyari, to help arrest and jailed Vincent.
According to the statement released by the U.S., Hushpuppi transferred to Kyari’s account after the police officer sent him the photos of Vincent in prison.
The statement said:
“Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria. According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”
Please read the full statement below:
Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds.
Nigerian National Known as ‘Hushpuppi’ Admits Money Laundering in School Financing Scam and Additional Cyber and Business Email Compromise Schemes.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week alleges an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar – and the subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.
The three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday charges three U.S.-based defendants who were arrested last week – as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa – with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
The criminal complaint that initiated the prosecution in February was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – also known by his social media handle of “Ray Hushpuppi” – was initially charged in this case. Court documents ordered unsealed today show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.
“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”
“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad. Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”
According to the indictment, Abbas allegedly conspired with Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance construction of the planned school. Juma allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the illusory bank loans, while Abbas played the role of “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York, according to court documents. Vincent, in turn, allegedly provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.
Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly played a role in the fraud, assisting Abbas with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Special agents with the FBI arrested Anifowoshe in New York on July 22.
The conspirators allegedly defrauded the victim out of more than $1.1 million.
The proceeds of the fraud allegedly were laundered in several ways. According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds of the fraud by Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey. These two defendants also were arrested on July 22 by FBI agents.
Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts. Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.
Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria. According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.
Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, and they are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. All three are currently free on bond.
A criminal complaint and an indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.
The FBI is investigating this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The FBI thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance in this matter. The FBI also thanks the Kenyan Office of Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for their substantial assistance.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.
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