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Abuja residents lament growing insecurity in nation’s capital

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Odita Sunday, Abuja
10 December 2021   |   4:11 am
Fear has gripped residents of Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) over rising insecurity in the nation’s capital.

Some suspects and recovered arms paraded in Abuja recently. PHOTO: ODITA SUNDAY

Fear has gripped residents of Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) over rising insecurity in the nation’s capital.

Just a few days ago, the FCT Administration raised the alarm that bandits and other criminals being forced out of key Northern states are relocating to towns around Abuja.

FCT director in the Administration’s Security Services Department, Dr. Abdul-lateef Bello, confirmed to newsmen in Abuja that the security architecture of the territory has been overstretched.

Bello revealed that plans had been concluded by the FCTA to hire vigilantes to provide security in the various public schools across the territory.

He, however, added that the measures were temporary, until a blueprint on security is developed by FCTA.

He said: “We’re talking of short term measures when we said we are helping public schools to facilitate the procurement of vigilantes to complement the efforts of conventional security agencies.

“Remember that some of the vigilantes are equally part of the neighbourhood. They were sourced from the neighbourhood, where those schools are situated. So, they know better.

“It is a way of establishing a relationship between the community and government. When the vigilantes see anything that is beyond them, they relate with the conventional security agencies to help out.

“So, that is why I will always appeal to FCT residents to be patient with government, to listen and provide support, information when necessary because security agents or security agencies are not spirits. They are human organisations, they need the cooperation, and they need our information to be able to succeed.

“On whether or not we are finding it difficult to contain the incidents of kidnapping in the FCT, you’ll understand that kidnapping is prevalent not just In FCT.

In fact, if you compare the statistics of kidnapping activities in other states to that of the FCT, you will agree with me that the FCT is really putting enough measures to prevent or contain the menace of kidnapping.

“I have just told you that in an attempt to deepen our efforts in the fight against kidnapping, we have revitalised and resuscitated the G-7 initiative. It means we don’t have to do this alone. We have to bring all our G-7 partners to help us collaborate, so we can embark on simultaneous and joint raids to keep some of these bad elements out of the FCT.

“Don’t forget that the dissemination of banditry and kidnapping in North East, North West, is putting pressure on the fringes of FCT. People are running down, so that is why we engage the G-7 initiative so that we can jointly push these people away.”

Some residents of UNIABUJA Staff Quarters, who spoke with The Guardian after kidnapped staff members were released, expressed fears of further attacks.

Also,  the Chairman, Gwagwalada  Local Council, Adamu Danze, said he had always raised concern over security in the area.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Josephine Adeh, in a reaction, noted that the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Babaji Sunday, dispatched additional tactical and conventional policing resources to the university’s main and satellite campuses, staff quarters and other affiliate formations to fortify security in and around the university community.

Speaking on growing security concern in FCT, National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers  Association (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said: “Lack of political will on the part of government to go after terrorists and punish them and the failure to bring terrorists to justice have cultivated the culture of impunity and lawlessness, which are major threats to life and property of Abuja residents.

“Another aspect of the threats is that the terrorism going on in the entire North West states has pushed many residents of those states including petty criminals and hardened criminals to migrate to Abuja which is the nearest city to the crime scenes.

“Indeed Abuja has even come under increasing physical attacks by terrorists in so many of the satellite towns such as Bwari, Kuje and Gwagwalada and these violent attacks have resulted in many deaths and many people have also been kidnapped.

“Not long ago, in Kuje many residents were kidnapped by terrorists and were only released after they paid ransoms and these unfortunate citizens whose crime is that they are Nigerians were detained by armed non state actors for weeks unending without the Federal government ever taking concrete security actions to rescue them.”