FCT residents decry rising insecurity, demand urgent action

Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have described the rate of kidnapping and robbery within the city centre in recent time, as alarming.

The residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, described the spate of insecurity in the FCT as worrisome, alarming and unacceptable.

They urged security agencies and the FCT Administration to take urgent measures to save residents from the criminals.

Mr Joel Adewale, a civil servant, told NAN that his daughter was attacked recently on her way from Wuse to Gwagwalada.

He said she was taken to a lonely road off Airport road before being dispossessed of her belongings.

Adewale added that the girl was forced to put a call across to him to transfer money to her account, which was removed using a PoS machine by the criminals.

“It was more like a case of kidnap for ransom, but I was lucky to have my daughter back after parting with N150,000,” he added.

Mr Joshua Orogun, the former President of Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association, said the increasing rate of insecurity the FCT, had been allowed to linger for over 15 years.

“Though the previous governments tried their best, more need to be done to safeguard the lives of residents.

“I implore the present administration to put in place measures to address the ugly situation headlong.

“I particularly called on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to do the needful to come to our aid by deploying the necessary machinery to salvage the situation.

“The situation we found ourselves now, calls for a very sincere approach and fervent prayer,” Orogun added.

According to him, one of his friends and chairman of a motor park in Area 10, was recently kidnapped in Keti, a suburb of Pyakasa, and had to pay N1 million ransom before he was released.

Orogun urged residents to be very vigilant, while going about their legitimate businesses “as everybody is now at the mercy of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes”.

Another resident, Mr Friday Odekina, a communication expert, blamed the increasing insecurity on the rising number of people with no means of livelihood in the FCT.

According to him, the number of people with no means of livelihood trooping to the city has tripled, with some of them taking to crime for survival.

“Everybody is now allowed to be in Abuja against its original master plan that emphasised on a particular set of people.

“To me, if government is serious of fighting the menace headlong, those set of people should be gotten rid of, because they not only constitute nuisance, but are the ones terrorising residents,” Odekina said.

Also, Adeniyi Olajide, a public servant, said that of recent, the rate of insecurity in the FCT had taken a new dimension.

“Just about two weeks ago, a friend of mine was kidnapped and up till now, he is still in captivity.

“The kidnappers made contact and demanded for ransom, but after paying the ransom, he hasn’t regained his freedom up till now.”

He therefore urged the FCT Administration to look inward and checkmate the activities of the criminals.

“The criminals are having a field day in the territory, people now live in perpetual fear, especially while trying to board a cab whether painted or not, because of the fear of the unknown.

“Just recently, a friend of mine boarded a taxi from Lugbe to Wuse District, only for him to be taken to Bwari and dispossessed of everything on him, including all the money in his bank accounts,” he added.

Another victim, who worked with one of the paramilitary agencies died of trauma after he was abducted and dispossessed of all the money in his bank account.

According to a member of the deceased family, who preferred anonymity, the victim encountered the criminals in early August when he boarded a vehicle on his way home after closing from work.

The source said the deceased officer was robbed of huge sums of money kept in his possession by a friend.

He said the trauma of how to refund the money to his friend pushed him into depression and he later died.

Also, a journalist with one of the government owned media organisations in Abuja, was abducted on Sept. 14, after closing from work at about 6 pm.

The lady journalist said she boarded a taxi from Central Area to Lugbe, but was taken to an abandoned building on the outskirts of the city by four armed men.

According to her, the kidnappers forced her to transfer all the money in her bank account amounting to millions of naira.

They further forced her to call her relations and friends who also paid over a million naira in ransom before her release.

When contacted, the FCT Police Command, downplayed the reports of increasing incidences of robbery, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the territory.

According to the command Spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, the command is doing its best to safeguard lives and property of residents.

“It is not true that the activities of “one chance” is increasing in the FCT because the command is not relenting in its efforts to protect lives and property.

“We have deployed appropriate assets and personnel across the territory to track criminals and protect residents,” Adeh said.

She urged residents to be security conscious and support the police and other security agencies with actionable intelligence reports to track and apprehend criminals.

“The fight against criminality is a collective one, so residents must be careful of places they board taxis because most of these criminals take advantage of such places.

“The command has over time embarked on enlightenment campaigns on the strategies the criminals usually deploy in carrying out their operations.

“Residents must play their part by ensuring that they board taxis in approved places and be watchful of the people in the taxi before boarding,” she added.

Meanwhile, the FCTA Task Force on City Sanitation, said it had been clamping down on the “one-chance” robbery syndicates in the city.

The Secretary, Command and Control of the Taskforce, Mr Peter Olumuji, explained that the syndicates usually use unpainted taxis in unapproved motor parks to perpetrate their evil acts of kidnapping and seizing people’s valuables.

Olumuji said that the taskforce comprised the Nigerian Police, Civil Defence, Department of State Security, Immigration and Correctional services, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Others, he said, were the Directorate of Road Traffic Service, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Social Development Secretariat, and other relevant agencies in the FCT.

He added that the task force had been very active in dislodging miscreants known for attacking unsuspecting residents, mostly at night, from their hideouts.

According to him, the raid is part of a holistic security operation to ensure the safety and free movement of residents within the city.

“We have been receiving reports about the operation of “one chance” syndicates in some locations in the city.

“The enforcement team is all out to ensure that we raid any location that harbours “one chance” motorists, illegal motor parks, or unapproved parking spaces.

“We have also realized that besides causing public nuisance, some beggars are being used to gather information for criminals,” he added.

On her part, Mrs Deborah Osho, Head of Operations, FCTA Directorate of Road Traffic Service, said that taskforce was also enforcing the ban on the operations of motorcycles and tricycles constituting security threat in the city.

Osho explained that motorcycles were being used by criminals to quickly escape from crime scenes.

“They are also being used for many criminal activities including snatching valuables and mobile handset from unsuspecting passersby.

“This is in addition to the rising number of casualties from accidents involving Okada riders,” she said.

The head of operations said that security agencies had tagged the commercial motorcycles as “security threat” and wanted them off the city routes.

Osho, however, advised residents against boarding okadas and patronising unpainted taxis for their safety. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria