May 27, 2020
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May 19, 20204570

‘Our gang leader is still in the forest, to return to operation after covod-19 – Kidnappers arrested by IGP’s IRT

Mohammed and two of his gang members were arrested by Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team in an operation led by the Unit’s head, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

Mohammed said his arrest wouldn’t make any difference in the plans of the gang to immediately commence operation after COVID-19 has been checked.

His words: “We have stopped kidnapping for now because of the outbreak of COVID-19. We shall go back to our operation when COVID-19 is over. We have radios and we listen to news. We have food in our camps worth over N5 million. We used to come out from our camps to buy medicines and other items.

“In fact, it was because I came out to buy some items that IRT Operatives arrested me. Our gang leader, Nasiru Kachalam, aka Yellow, is inside the forest with all our guns. When I came out to buy food for our gang members, I left my rifle in the care of a friend, who is also a member of our gang.

“When we kidnap women, Nasiru, Bello, Musa and Idris will rape them. I don’t join them in raping our female victims because I have a charm given to me by my father. The charm forbids me having sex when I have it on me.”

The suspect explained that the gang some time ago stopped kidnapping on highways because of too much disturbances and interferences from law enforcement agents.

He said that rather than quit operating on the highways, the gang decided to restrategise and change their modus operandi. Now, rather than focus majorly on kidnapping victims on highways, they target rich people’s homes and go there to abduct victims.

It was due to the change in the gang’s modus operandi that they stormed the house of Bolanle Ataga, wife of a Medical Doctor, Philip Ataga.

They also attacked a seminary in Kaduna, where Michael Nnadi was abducted.

Mohammed admitted that the gang aside from numerous kidnappings on highways had lost counts of the number of houses and villages it had attacked, abducting victims.

The gang after abducting 18-year-old Nnadi killed him. The gang also killed Mrs. Ataga.

According to Mohammed, both victims were killed by Nasiru. He said Nasiru killed Ataga by inflicting machete cuts on her after she rebuffed his attempts to rape her.

Mohammed said: “Nasiru thought that the woman would cooperate, but when he tried to rape her, she bit him. He got angry, brought out a cutlass and slashed her on the head and stomach. She fell to the ground and started bleeding. She died at the spot. Nasiru ordered that the woman’s corpse be taken to a certain location and dumped there. He then called her husband to go and pick her corpse.”

The same Nasiru also shot Nnadi to death because the seminarian preached to him, asking him to repent from his evil ways of kidnappings, killings and raping.

Mohammed recalled: “Our leader was angry with Nnadi for preaching to him. He asked why such small rat should be preaching to him about God. Our leader had already released Nnadi, but when the boy was getting close to the seminary, he brought out his rifle and shot him. He died at the spot.”

Nasiru killed both victims after collecting ransoms from their respective families. He collected N8 million from Ataga’s family and N10 million for the seminarian’s release.

Our reporter gathered that the cold-bloodedness of Nasiru has made IRT Operatives to place him on their Most Wanted Persons List. It is further gathered that the operatives are already closing in on him.

Mohammed’s gang specialises in kidnapping and terrorising on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway and other routes in the northern parts of Nigeria.

Investigations, however, showed that Mohammed’s gang was just one of several gangs causing havoc on major routes in the north.

Mohammed was arrested at Maraban-Jos, along Kaduna-Zaria Expressway. IRT Operatives later used him as bait to arrest two other members of the gang, while the hunt for other fleeing members of the gang continues.

Mohammed explained that before the gang members graduated to kidnapping, rape and murder, they were just farmers, who started out with cattle rustling.

Mohammed, a widower with one child, said he assisted his father in rearing cows. When he started rearing cows for his dad, the old man had just 10 cows, but today, the family has over 50 cows. It is believed that Mohammed rustled most of the cows from unsuspecting victims.

Mohammed said: “I joined kidnapping three years ago. It was our gang leader Nasiru that introduced me to kidnapping. I met Nasiru while I was rearing cows. We became friends and went into cattle rustling. We rustled as many as 200 and 400 cows at a single operation.

Nasiru was in charge of selling the cows. On my first cattle rustling operation, I was given N700,000, but on the second and third operation, Nasiru used the money we realised to buy AK47 rifles and ammunition. We have many cartons of live ammunition in our camp, with over 51 pieces of AK47 rifles. Nasiru sometimes sells our ammunition. There’s a guy that used to supply us the arms and ammunition. I don’t know his name, but Nasiru knows him well.”

Mohammed said as the gang continued with cattle rustling and buying of guns, their armoury swelled. They then decided that the guns would be more useful in kidnapping than cattle rustling. He and Nasiru organised and got more members into the gang.

He said: “Our first operation was at Rigana area, where we kidnapped four persons by first blocking the Abuja Kaduna Expressway. We were 15 men that went for that first operation. Nasiru, of course, led the operation. We all wore military camouflage uniforms and mounted five motorcycles. We then created three checkpoints. The first checkpoint was for us to monitor those driving expensive cars and alert our colleagues at other checkpoints to set a trap and launch an attack. In our first operation, we kidnapped two persons in a jeep and another two in a Golf car. We took the victims into Rigana Forest, where we held them in captive for 10 days before N6 million ransom was paid.”

According to Mohammed, he got N400,000 as his share in his first kidnap operation. Whenever victims were abducted, Nasiru and another gang member, Amedo, handled ransom negotiations.

“In my third operation, we used the same method of checkpoints and military uniforms to operate. We chose the vehicles that had rich people and ended up kidnapping five victims that day. We collected N10 million ransom from them and I got N500,000 as my share,” said Mohammed.

The suspect said part of the gang’s modus operandi was to contract commercial cyclists, who they pay to help them source for rich victims to kidnap. After ransom is paid, the cyclists would be given their own share of the money.

The gang was part of those that stormed Engravers College, Kakawu Daji area in Kaduna State, where they abducted six students and two teachers. The gang collected N15 million before the eight victims were released.

Mohammed said the gang also carried out three other major kidnapping operations along Abuja-Kaduna Expressway. One was the abduction of four Rigana villagers.

The victims spent seven days in the kidnappers’ den and only got their freedom after family members coughed up N6 million. ‘


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March 19, 2020370

EFCC Arraigns Six for Internet Fraud

Six internet fraudsters were on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office. They were arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Lagos.

The defendants are: Adedayo Williams Khalim; Oyeyemi Toheeb Abiodun; Kareem Abimbola; Bakare Lolade Lateef; Omolade Mayowa Solomon and Ojora Daniels.

The defendants, except one Opeyemi Toheed Abiodun were arraigned on a one-count separate charge of same offence bordering on possession of fraudulent documents except.

Abiodun was arraigned on two counts. One of the charges reads: “That you Adedayo Williams Khalim sometime in March, 2020 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court had in your possession documents containing by false pretence, which you ought to have known that the said documents contains false pretence.”

Five of the defendants pleaded not guilty while Adedayo Williams Khalim pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against him by the EFCC.

Upon the guilty plea of Adedayo, the prosecution counsel, Idris Mohammad asked the court for a date to review the facts of the case and prayed the court to remand him in the Correctional facility.

However, prosecution counsel, Idris Mohammad asked the court for a trial date for the defendants who pleaded not guilty and prayed the court to also remand them in correctional facility pending the outcome of the case.

The defence counsels to the defendants who pleaded not guilty, T.A. Adeboye, Femi Aina, V. E. Amakri, D.O. Ogunjumi and Z.S. Makinde informed the court that they have filed applications for bail on behalf of their clients but are yet to serve the court and the prosecution.

They however prayed the court for a short date to allow them move the applications.

Justice Taiwo, after listening to both parties adjourned Khalim, Abimbola and Lateef’s matter till March 24, 2020 for hearing of bail applications and commencement of trial.

She also adjourned the matter of Daniels till March 23, 2020 for hearing of bail application while that of Solomon was adjourned till April 1, 2020 for hearing of bail application.

Similarly, Abiodun’s matter was adjourned till April 3, 2020 for hearing of bail application.

Consequently, Justice Taiwo ordered that all the defendants be remanded in Correctional facility.


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March 19, 2020370

N2bn Fraud: Court Admits More Evidence against Maina

 Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, delivered his reserved ruling on the admissibility of a bunch of evidence sought to be tendered by the prosecution in the ongoing trial of the ex-Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.

Justice Abang in his ruling noted that the argument must be in line with the provision of evidence Act.

He further added that the defence counsel failed to mention any law in support of his objection as he said, “The (learned silk), failed to mention any law to render the document inadmissible”.

According to him, it is sufficient for a witness to identify the documents in question which he is familiar with it.

The judge further stated that the court is a court of law and not a court of sympathy adding that the defense counsel, “may wish to propose a personal bill to the House of Assembly, regarding his submission, until that is done, I can’t be of any help to the SAN”, he stated.

Justice Abang, thereafter, ruled that the objection on the grounds lacks merit and accordingly ruled in favour of the prosecution and admitted in evidence a marked exhibit as evidence in favour of the B71, and adjourned till March 19, 2020, for continuation of trial within trail.

At the last adjourned date on March 17, 2020, the prosecution commenced its evidence in-chief with presentation of its six prosecution witness, (PW6), a banker at the marketing department of a new generation bank, who told the court that he is a friend and former colleague to Khalid Aliyu, the Pw5 and a brother to Maina.

During examination in-chief, the PW6 explained his relationship with Maina and how he was involved in the alleged N2billion money laundering.

It will be recalled that the EFCC on October 25, 2019 arraigned Maina and his son, Faisal, before the court alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd. Maina is facing a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering while Faisal was charged on a three-count charge of arms possession and violent act.


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March 19, 2020310

EFCC arraigns ex-Bauchi Accountant General, Finance Director over N258m fraud

The Gombe Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, arraigned the ex- Accountant General of the Bauchi State government, Yusuf Ibrahim Gokaru and the State Director of Finance, Ibrahim Muhammed Lele. They were arraigned before Justice A.H Suleiman of the Bauchi State High Court on 42 count-charges, bordering on obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy, money laundering and concealment of the source and origin of the money.

The arrest and arraignment of the defendants was sequel to a petition from Bauchi State Government, dated August 26, 2019.

Gokaru and Lele were alleged to have connived and used their official positions as Accountant General of Bauchi State government and Director Finance of the same office to obtain the sum of N258, 363, 200, (Two Hundred and Fifty Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand, Two Hundred Naira) only for their personal use.

The money was from the World Bank as an assistance to Bauchi State Government under the programme of State Education Programme Investment Project (SEPIP), instead of using the fund for the project, the defendants allegedly concealed the source of the money by transferring from the Bauchi State Consolidated Naira Account, domiciled at Polaris Bank to a Unity Bank, suspected to be their personal accounts

Operatives of the Commission in the course of investigation, recovered more than N80 million, prompting the EFCC to charged the defendants to Court.

One of the charge reads: “That you, Yusuf Ibrahim Gokaru and  Ibrahim Muhammed Lele on or about the 16th day of August, 2018 at Bauchi, Bauchi State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain money to the tune of Two Hundred Million Naira  (N200,000,000) properties of Bauchi State Government with assistance from World Bank by falsely representing that the said sum was to be used for State Education programme Investment project  (SEPIP) which Pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the 42 count-charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

The prosecution counsel, A .Y Muntaka, applied for a trial date to enable him assemble his witnesses and necessary documents to be tendered as exhibits.

But the defence counsel, Babangida Muhammad, filed for bail application of the defendants.

Justice Suleiman, while adjourning the case till April 28, 2020, for trial, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10 million each and two sureties in like sum. He said the sureties must be of grade level 14 and must own landed property within GRA in Bauchi and to deposit same at the Registry of the court.


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March 18, 2020820

Kidnappers abduct ex-Western Region director’s daughters, demand N100m

The Oyo State Police Command has confirmed the abduction of two sisters, Pastor Omobola Adepoju and Mrs Abiola Olukotun, from a farm in Ibadan on Monday.

The victims are the daughters of the former Director of Sports in the defunct old Western Region, and Proprietor of the Subuola Memorial Nursery/Primary School, Ibadan, the late Chief Emiola Adesina.

The news of their abduction was made known in a short message to one of our correspondents on Tuesday by a retired permanent secretary and professor/directing member of staff of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, Tunji Olaopa.

According to the police, the community, where the victims were kidnapped, had been cordoned off by security agents in an effort to rescue them and arrest the abductors.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, told one of our correspondents, “The women were kidnapped yesterday (Monday) on a farm in the Badeku area of Ibadan. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Shina Okukolu, has given an order to his men to bust the crime.

“As we speak, personnel of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the Special Tactical Team, the Police Tactical Team, the Operation Puff Adder, the IGP Tactical Team and the Federal SARS have all been deployed in the area.

“They have cordoned off the area and are carrying out a massive manhunt for the kidnappers in order to secure the release of the victims. I spoke with the officer in charge of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and he said policemen were combing the bush and the adjoining communities in an effort to secure the release of the victims.”

A close family source said on Tuesday that the funeral of Adesina held a week ago.

“Omobola came in from Atlanta, United States, and was with her sister on her farm at a location on the Ife Road in Ibadan when they were both kidnapped on Monday. The kidnappers have called the family to demand N100m,” the source stated.

When contacted, Abiola’s husband, Mr Kitolu Olukotun, said the abductors were six in number and alleged that three of them were Fulani herders, while the others were Yoruba.

He stated, “My wife and sister-in-law went to the farm in the afternoon on Monday. Suddenly, the kidnappers emerged from the bush. According to one of my boys on the farm, they were six in number.

“Three of them are Fulani, while the remaining three are Yoruba. One of them was carrying an AK-47 rifle, which he fired in the air. They shot at the tyre of a vehicle and also fired a shot at the driver of our customers.

“They ransacked the vehicle. After that, they marched my wife and sister-in-law through the bush path. When they called me, they demanded N100m. But, I told them that I didn’t have such money. I told them to accept N1m, which they rejected. They then refused to speak with me again. They have been threatening my wife. They insisted that they would not take anything less than N20m.”

Meanwhile, the police in a statement on Tuesday warned against the indiscriminate construction of unmanned community gates and careless patronage of commercial motorcyclists by residents of the state in view of the growing insecurity.

The statement read in part, “The Commissioner of Police wishes to draw the attention of members of the public to the indiscriminate construction of unmanned security gates in our communities and streets. The practice though appears to be a response to a security need, a review of the situation has shown that the strategy does not achieve much as criminals in our midst have continued to breach it.

“The recent experience of the police in response to distress calls has been frustrating. The CP, therefore, wishes to advise all and sundry to be circumspect with the construction and installation of unmanned security gates in their environment. It is professionally advisable that while we lock our doors and gates against intruders, we should be mindful of other exigencies.

“If there is a need at all to install security gates, we must endeavour to make them accessible to security agencies, who may be responding to distress calls or other emergencies like fire or other life-threatening health issues.”

The command also warned residents to be wary of kidnappers disguising as commercial motorcyclists, adding, “For instance, a case in point is the story of a commercial motorcyclist, who under the pretext of avoiding the task force, took two youngsters far beyond the gate of their school.

“The distress call by the youngsters attracted bystanders and a police team. The hoodlum was arrested and is being interrogated.”

(Additional reports from agencies)


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March 18, 20201090

Ogun community residents desert home over inspector’s death

Three days after an Inspector of police was shot dead  in  Imasai, in the Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun  State, residents have deserted their houses over the fear of arrest.

There was a violent clash  on Saturday in the  town between officials of the national border team and some  residents of the community which  resulted  in the alleged murder of an inspector.

The police, however, said eight persons had been arrested in connection with the killing.

But speaking on behalf of the residents,  a chief in the community, the Atunluse of Imasai, Chief John Odu;  and a former Senior Special Assistant to former governor  Ibikunle  Amosun, Raheem Ajayi; said the town had become a ghost town.

Odu claimed that one of the residents was killed and had been buried while others had fled their homes.

The chief said, “The police came to the town and destroyed  it because they were searching for smuggled rice.”

The community leader said the security operatives allegedly disrupted a burial ceremony in the town on Saturday .

“They also went to the Palace of our Oba at Imasai and destroyed it . They ransacked the whole house.

“They killed somebody and we have buried him. People are still in the bush, they cannot come into the town.”

Also speaking on the situation, Ajayi, who was an indigene of the troubled town, described the statement by the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun as one-sided.

The former SSA said, “Nobody supports killing of security men. However, lives of our people also matter; therefore citizens must be treated with dignity. No mention was made by the Ogun State Government  about the man who was killed, the one in hospital and the palace of our Oba which desecrated.

“In fact the place is now a ghost town on account because of the security agents.”

Attempts to get the reactions of the police and Nigeria Customs Service failed.

While the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, could not be reached, the national Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Joseph Attah, did not answer the his calls .

Attah also did not also reply to the messages sent to his mobile line.

The state PRO of the NCS, Abdullahi Maiwadah could not  also be reached.(punch)


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March 17, 2020330

Suspected Internet Fraudsters Arrested in Imo

 The Abuja Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested eight suspected internet fraudsters at different locations within Owerri, Imo State.

The suspects were rounded up by the operatives of the Advance Fee Fraud Section, AFF of the Zone following an intelligence report on the illegal activities of suspected cybercriminals in and around Owerri city.

Several Smartphones of different models, laptop and two motor vehicles were recovered from the suspects during the operation.

They will soon be arraigned in court.


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March 16, 20201550

Just In: Finally, Police arraigns millionaire kidnapper, Wadume

The Nigerian Police  Force have arraigned millionaire  kidnapper, Bala Hamisu also known as Wadume, and 18 others for terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The police had on February 3, 2020  slammed a 16-count charge on the suspects.

Wadume and co-accused in court today

Wadume arrived the court alongside his co-defendants amidst tight security by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.

Wadume escaped on August 6, 2019 while being taken to the police headquarters in Taraba State but was rearrested 13 days later in his hideout in Kano.

He was arraigned alongside other suspects which included a serving Army Captain .

Daily Mail reports that There IRT led by Abbah Kyari had stepped into the spate of high profile kidnapping in Taraba State and North East and arrested Wadume after a carefully planned operation.

Abbah Kyari, Head of the IRT is known for arresting high profile criminals, kidnappers

Wadume who’s well connected tried to thwart his arrest but was retreated by Kyari-led elite police team in Kano, where he confessed to various nefarious activities.

Kyari whose team is known for engaging in deadly ops and arresting dangerous criminal is the star witness in the case against Wadume.

 


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March 8, 20201590

Tragedy struck at the weekend at Oku Abak community in Abak Council Area of Akwa Ibom, as a woman simply identified as Eka Sammy was reportedly beheaded in her farm and the head dumped in front of her house.

Vanguard reports that the woman fondly called Mma Iko Mbakara was ambushed in her farm while harvesting cassava by a young man, one Lucky Michael from Delta State, working hands in gloves with three others.

An eyewitness account averred that the suspect was caught by the irate youth of the community when he dumped the head of the woman in front of her house and immediately stripped himself naked before taking the youth to the farm where the lifeless body of the woman was found.

One Augustine Ekwere said, ‘’the youth of this village caught him and called on the police after their own assessment. The police then arrested his and his accomplices.

Continuing, Ekwere said the suspect confessed to the crime at Abak Police Station, saying that a prophetess contracted him for a fee of N15, 000 to bring human head for rituals.

According to him, although the suspect did not mention the name of the prophetess, he had already received the cash payment to carry out the dastard acts.

‘’At the Police station, the boy confessed to beheading the woman in the farm because he was paid a N150, 000 by a prophetess to do so. I fear that such crime is coming to my community, my stress and our house’’, he said.

Police Public Relations Officer, Fredrick Nnudam, Chief Superintendent of Police confirmed the incident and applauded the youth of the community for supporting the Police which led to the arrest of the suspect and his cohorts.

The PPRO who did not mention the number of suspects arrested hinted that the matter was being investigated at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia, but source informed our reporter that about four suspects were nabbed by the police.

‘’I am in a picture. A woman was beheaded in the farm on Saturday while working there. Some youth joined the police to comb the bush and some suspects were arrested.

‘’I can’t give you the exact figures, but some persons were arrested especially the principal suspect’’, he said,

On whether the prophetess allegedly said to have masterminded the killing for ritual purpose has been arrested, he said, ‘’as at now information is still sketchy but investigation is ongoing, so, I can’t say if somebody like that is involved.’’


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March 8, 20201010

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted the son and daughter of the presiding Pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Pastor Komolafe Amos, in Anguwar Wadata in Abaji, opposite the newly established Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), Abuja.

The two abducted victims are: Yemi Komolafe and Samuel Komolafe Daily Trust reports.

It was learnt that a man, Haruna and his wife, Mrs Faith Haruna, who are neighbours of the pastor, were also abducted by the gunmen.

The Pastor, told Daily Trust at his residence in the area on Sunday, said the incident happened around 12:04am on Friday when the gunmen invaded the area.

He said he was inside his room sleeping with his family when the gunmen in their large numbers, carrying sophisticated weapons, came and surrounded his house.

He said that upon hearing their footsteps, he stood up from his bed and sighted them through the window, saying one of the gunmen asked him to open the door.

“As he asked me to open the door, I asked them: “why should I open the door?” And before I knew what was happening, they had already taken positions, as some of them now forced my door open and whisked away my son and daughter,” he said.

He said the gunmen rained several bullets on his house before they later proceeded to his neighbour’s apartment and abducted Haruna and his wife, after the gunmen vandalized one of the windows’ burglaries in their apartment to gain entry.

He noted that he has been able to establish contact with the gunmen, saying they are demanding for N10 million ransom before his daughter and son will be set free, just as, he said, the gunmen made away with six mobile phones which belonged to his family.

“They called me through my daughter’s phone and they are demanding for N10 million; and I told them that I have N100,000 but they quickly switched off the phone,” he said.

According to Daily Trust the FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, led by Abaji Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Umar Musa, visited the houses attacked by the suspected gunmen last Friday.

When contacted for official comment, the spokesman of the FCT police command, DSP Anjuguri Manza, neither pick calls put across to his mobile line nor reply text message sent to him as at the time of filing this report.