FCT Residents Live In Fear As Insecurity Worsens

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Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, are living in fear as the security of the nation’s seat of power has continued to deteriorate, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.
The city centre is not entirely spared as dare-devil car snatchers, armed robbers and ‘one-chance’ criminals have continued to operate there.
Satellite towns across the six area councils are the worst hit as villagers, almost on a daily basis, fall prey to kidnappings, robbery and bandits’ attacks.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that in 2023 alone, no fewer than 36 people were killed and 339 others abducted from various communities in the territory.
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Most affected were communities in Abaji, Bwari, Kuje and Kwali Area Councils. There were also pockets of incidents at villages within Gwagwalada Area Council and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
The situation has forced some residents of the affected villages to flee their homes and relocate for fear of further attacks by criminal elements.
A breakdown of the data collated by Daily Trust on Sunday showed that between January and December 2023, 11 people were killed in Kuje; seven each in Bwari and AMAC; five in Kwali and three each in Abaji and Gwagwalada.
The casualty figure is based on incidents reported in the media, but residents and community leaders said there were many other attacks that were not reported.
Residents say criminals that are attacking FCT communities with “little or no resistance” are from banditry-infested states which share boundaries with some of the Abuja area councils.
Abaji Area Council shares boundaries with Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger states; Bwari Area Council shares boundaries with Niger and Kaduna states; while Kuje Area Council, which is said to have the highest number of villages, with thick forests, also shares boundary with Nasarawa State.
Director of Administration and Finance, FCTA Security Services Department, Ebele Molokwu, had, during an end of the year media briefing in November, declared Bwari, Kuje and Abaji Area Councils as worst hit by kidnappings, though he added that there were isolated cases in other area councils.
The Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, on assumption of office on August 21, 2023, had vowed to tackle the insecurity by equipping the security agencies to enable them secure the territory.
Wike, at the 2023 Special Marshals Sectoral Workshop, organised by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), FCT Sector Command, also announced plans to implement a digital security monitoring and control system within the FCT transport management system.
In his Christmas and New Year message signed by the Director of Press, FCT Administration, Tony Ogunleye, the minister had advised residents “to be security-conscious and reach out to the security agencies whenever they noticed anything extraordinary”.
Timeline of attacks
In the latest attacks by bandits in villages within Bwari Area Council alone, more than 53 people, including children, women and farmers, were abducted within the last few weeks.
On November 18, bandits attacked Yewuti village in Kwali Area Council. They killed one person and abducted eight others, including the father of the vice chairman of the council who, alongside two others, were later released after the captors were allegedly paid N5 million as ransom.
For fear of further attacks, residents of the village confirmed relocation to areas they considered safe. One of them, Shuaibu Aliyu, told one of our reporters that women and children had relocated to neighbouring Awawa, Yangoji and Kwali town.
On November 20, gunmen abducted eight women on a farm at Gwombe village in Gwargwada Chiefdom, Kuje Area Council. The abductees, all of whom are housewives, were reportedly harvesting seeds when they were attacked around 5pm.
On December 9, gunmen, said to be in military uniform, launched an attack at Dei-Dei town, located off Kubwa-Zuba Road, within Bwari Area Council, and abducted 25 residents from three housing estates in the community around 8.30pm.
The following day, bandits also struck at the Arab Road residential area of Kubwa and abducted seven residents, including babies.
On December 13, bandits invaded Gbaupe village and abducted two children and nine adults behind Aco Estate, which is along the airport road.
A resident of the village, Ishaya Musa, said the incident happened around 11:34pm when bandits wielding AK-47 rifles invaded the community.
He said the bandits raided two houses and whisked away the children, who are between the ages of nine and 13, amidst sporadic gunshots.
On December 16, the FCT Police command apprehended three suspected robbers and a car snatched at the city centre.
On December 23, 2023, bandits invaded Garam community, which is a five-minute drive from Bwari
town, and abducted 13 residents, including a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
A resident of Garam, Alex Kaura, narrated how bandits invaded a house and whisked away two children, and later used them to locate their main targets’ residence.
“When they got there, they kidnapped the entire family, but while leaving the house, they shot the man (their target), who was a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The pastor was shot in the presence of his wife and their three children,” he said.
Some residents of the area said the captors moved the captives to their hideouts in a forest, which shares boarder with Bwari and Kachia in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
On December 28, Kuduru in Bwari Area Council, which shares borders with Garam in Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State, came under attacks during which 18 residents were kidnapped.
On December 30, bandits whisked away eight farmers at Mawogi village in Gawu ward of Abaji Area Counci around 11.30pm. A resident, Aliyu Usman, said: “The bandits came and started shooting sporadically into the air before they entered four houses and abducted eight farmers who they herded into the bush.”
On January 1, bandits struck at Barangoni in Bwari Area Council’s Central Ward, shot a vigilante and abducted three residents.
A resident of Barangoni, Joshua Madaki, said the incident happened in the early hours of the new year day. He said the assailants abducted the victims from the house of Ishaya Markus.
Last Wednesday, 3rd January, 2024, bandits killed one person and abducted seven family members at Zuma 1 in Bwari Central Ward.
A resident, Shedrack Samson, who said the incident happened around 12:04am, disclosed that two policemen, who tried to foil the attack, sustained gunshot wounds.
A traditional ruler in the FCT, who preferred anonymity, in a chat with Daily Trust on Sunday, described the rate of kidnappings as quite disturbing.
“In fact, even at our security meeting with the FCT minister, I suggested that the vigilantes should be empowered with equipment and given some monthly stipends to enable them to engage these bandits. But the government seems to be giving more priority to the police”, he said.
Last Thursday, January 4, 2024, bandits launched an attack on Tekpeshe-Gurdi community in Gurdi Ward of Abaji Area Council and abducted five residents. The Councillor representing Gurdi Ward, Wozhe Ishaya, said assailants blocked the road at Tekpeshe-Gurdi where they kidnapped those returning from neighbouring Tekpeshe community.
Experts suggest solutions
A security expert, Abdulkarim Gazali, in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, called on the government to declare a state of emergency on FCT security.
He said that the government was paying lip service to security in the territory.
He charged the FCTA to deploy security agents that would work closely with locals.
“I want to also tell you that the reason banditry and kidnapping will not end in the FCT is that some people, including top officers and some chiefs, are benefiting from the insecurity. And until the government declares a state of emergency on security, it will discourage investors coming to the FCT,” he said.
In an interview with one of our reporters, another security expert, Biodun Ogunleye, said: “A good way to start is to deal with corruption in the defence sector. There is a correlation between corruption and insecurity”, he said.
Secretary, Command and Control, FCTA Department of Security, Peter Olujimi, neither answered phone calls nor replied a text message sent to him by one of our reporters seeking a reaction from the authority.
Police deploy armoured personnel carriers in strategic locations
When contacted, the FCT Police Command said it had deployed Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) in strategic locations in Abuja to enhance safety and security of residents.
In a telephone interview with one of our reporters yesterday, the spokesperson of the command, Josephine Adeh, said the Commissioner of Police, Haruna Garba, went round strategic locations to ensure the deployment.
She allayed residents’ fears about their safety, saying that the command had continued making efforts to enhance security of lives and property.
“The truth of the matter is that the Command has deployed Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) at strategic locations in the FCT to tame these criminals.
“The CP personally went round to ensure that these criminals are properly dealt with so as to make the FCT more peaceful than before.
“What we’re careful about is too much disclosure of operational strategies, because enemies can use that to plan their usual ambush”, Adeh stated.




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