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Daily Kidnappings In Abuja: Residents Cry For Help!

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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, once renowned for its relative tranquillity and security, has been gripped by a growing sense of fear and unease as cases of kidnappings continue to surge.

Residents are now living in constant anxiety, demanding immediate action from authorities to restore safety and protect their lives and property.

This was the case when residents of Dei-Dei town located off Kubwa-Zuba Road, under Bwari area council in Abuja were thrown into shock at the weekend following the abduction of over 23 residents of the community, mostly taken from three housing estates in the area.

DDM News gathered that the kidnappers, mostly said to be in military uniform, arrived at the livestock layout area, located on the edge of the popular Abuja livestock market, Dei-Dei, about 8 pm and carried out their operation quietly, as has been disclosed by residents.

As if this was not enough, barely 48 hours after the aforementioned kidnappers’ attack at Dei-Dei, also two children, alongside nine adults, were also whisked away at Gbaupe village, behind Aco Estate, along Airport Road in Abuja.

At the same period, a similar incident took place at the nearby Arab Road residential area, in Kubwa town, also along the highway, on Sunday, where seven residents were abducted by kidnappers believed to be sharing the same base in the bush, with that of the Dei-Dei operators.

Recently, no fewer than 85 persons, comprising both travellers and residents, were also said to have been abducted by terrorists at Katari along the Kaduna – Abuja highways near Katari, in the Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

It was also gathered that more than four residents were killed by the hoodlums. The breakdown of those abducted by the bloodthirsty terrorists indicated that between Thursday and Sunday, January 7, 2024, a total of 85 persons were abducted. And just on Thursday, 22 people were kidnapped in Kawu Village in Bwari Area Council.

The Kaduna State Police Command confirmed that there was a bandit attack on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway at Dogon Fili near Katari. These insecurity issues, including the ‘one-chance’ occurrences in public transportation happen daily in Abuja, car snatchers, armed robbers, yet it seems like little or nothing is being done to tackle the growing insecurity concerns.

SATURDAY VANGUARD reports that in 2023 alone, no fewer than 36 people were killed and 339 others abducted from various communities in the territory.

However, following these incidents, some of the residents who spoke to our correspondent who visited the areas of the incidents, voiced their growing concerns over the alarming rise of kidnappings in the city.

Locals lament

Expressing frustration over the deteriorating security situation in Abuja, a Zuba based Trader, Mr. Ahmed Usman, said: “It’s terrifying to think that you or your loved ones could be snatched away at any moment. Abuja used to be a safe place, but now it feels like we’re walking on a tightrope.

“I can’t even let my children play outside anymore. It’s heartbreaking to witness this decline in safety and security in our once peaceful city.”

A traditional ruler in the FCT, who preferred anonymity, in a chat with our correspondent 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.

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A teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Akintola, said: “The increasing cases of kidnappings are truly horrifying and deeply concerning. It’s heart-wrenching to hear about innocent individuals, especially children, being taken away from their families and subjected to such unimaginable trauma.

“As these incidents continue to rise, it becomes paramount for our society to prioritize safety measures and put forth collective efforts to combat this heinous crime.”

Another resident of Gbaupe community, Moses Alpha, who spoke to our correspondent over the phone, said: “This kidnapping is due to a lack of adequate security in the area. In Fact it is not a new thing for us. We are only careful how we go and where we go. We have held a series of community meetings and it looks like our effort is not enough. The Government should intervene. We are just a small community, I believe something can be done to secure our life and property.”

A public school teacher, Beatrice Odeh, said: “This horrible, ugly and terrifying word, kidnapping, has become a common word in almost every household in most communities in Nigeria and FCT, the nation’s Capital, is not an exemption.

“This ugly incident happens on a daily basis and it’s so worrisome that things continue as if nothing is happening, only the affected families that bear the Ordeal helplessly. Unfortunately, the Federal Government that claims to have the citizens’ interests (security of lives and property) seems not to be aware of anything happening around them at all.

“FG, please your citizens are lamenting with the loudest tone ever heard. We believe in you, trust you and rely on your ability to eradicate this menace that is ravaging our communities. You can do it because you have the wherewithal FG. Shortly we should breathe in the fresh air of security in every nook and cranny of our communities in FCT and the whole country at large.”

Also speaking, the village head, Chief Danjuma Gejere, said the insecurity situation in the area is getting worse by the year, adding that the community has seen little or no intervention from the government to address this.
He, however, called on the FCT Minister to as a matter of urgency step into the matter, and ensure that needed number of security personnel are deployed to the area.

“I am very worried because as a leader I am answerable to my people and what has just happened is not good. Kidnapping in the FCT? It is troubling. The sad thing is that we have seen little government effort in this area of Gbaupe and I am calling on the Minister of Abuja who I know is a good man to step into this situation and bring justice to our people.”

CSOs, experts react

The founder, Connected Development, CODE, Hamzat Lawal, while bemoaning the insecurity alleged that part of the reason for increased kidnapping incidents in Abuja was because the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has a divided interest between being the Minister of FCT and partisan politics in River state.

He, therefore, urged the Minister to call on all security heads to chart a way towards ensuring sustainable security of lives and properties in the nation’s capital.

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He said: “I think that we have an FCT Minister who is not focused. He is heavily distracted by the politics of Rivers state. Abuja is a city and as a minister he is the mayor and the chief executive of Abuja, and, I think, this calls for immediate action and attention where the Minister should call all the security heads from NSCDC to police and other arms of security agency and also traditional and religious leaders within the Metropolis and I also think that this is a high security alert and a call the Nigerian police.

“This is a festive period, and they must guarantee the safety of life and property, but I think most importantly, the FCF Minister needs to do away with politics that is distracting him and focus on keeping people in Abuja safe.

“We’ve not had this bad in the FCT. You know this is to be a safe haven. He needs to take us back to that and even much better and if he cannot guarantee the safety and protection of life and property in our Abuja then he has no business being the mayor of FCT.”

Speaking about the depth of insecurity in the nation’s capital, the Director General, Coalition of Nigeria Youth on Security and Safety Affairs, CONYSSA, Amb Ade Mario Emmanuel, said part of the reasons why insecurity thrives in the nation’s capital is because poor monitoring of areas where the city borders other states.
He tasked the federal government to as a matter of urgency increase the number of security personnel in FCT and tighten the security at the borders.

He said: “Insecurity in FCT is underreported and why it is underreported is because for the citizens not to be put on high risk of fear. From that end, some of the security challenges and security happenings within FCT should be underreported.

“But, be it as it may, the security agencies in FCT must understand two things: that if there is no proper security in the local communities and local borders that surround FCT, automatically FCT is very porous.

“If Gwagwalada is not well secured, bandits, and kidnappers will keep coming into FCT and kidnap and go successfully free. If the security of Kuje is not properly checked, it automatically means that criminals will enter FCT and go successfully. So, all these local communities should now be a serious focus because these are the hideouts of these criminal elements.

“We are calling on the Nigerian government that it is high time for the bill of the Peace Corps should be taken with seriousness because there is a shortage of manpower within the security architecture of the country.

“So, we are saying the security agencies are trying their best but they don’t have that strong manpower to curtail what is happening. Also, let there be an official constituted body to bring all heads of youth organizations together to bring a kind of holistic approach to the fight against crime.”

Speaking on why kidnapping has remained a moving business in Nigeria, particularly in Abuja, the Executive Director, of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said: “We are living in the era of insecurity in Nigeria and there’s no sign that it will abet soon because what you really drive people into crimes is poverty, unemployment and lack of good governance and all these are all in place and therefore, you have the mass population of you that are unemployed.

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“Able-bodied men and women all over the country that are not productively engaged, then even the little means of survival that the people engage on has been completely taken away from them by the so-called removal of fuel subsidy and lack of provisions of basic facilities for the people.

“So, Abuja’s case became very pronounced because it is the capital of Nigeria and then it is also believed that most of the richest men and women in Nigeria reside in Abuja and therefore, it is easy for whoever that is kidnapped must more or less be someone of affluence that could easily pay the ransom. That is why Abuja case became worrisome.”

On the way forward, he said: “For me, I think the only way you in which we can overcome these challenges is when we go on governance is now situated in such a way that the people that are meant to benefit from the governance system, benefited and that is by providing employment, ensuring that both the young and the elderly are taken care of and then having the right policies in place that really shake corruption, not what we are having today.”

FCT police deploys rigorous strategies to prevent abductions

Against the backdrop of the kidnapping incidents in Abuja, the FCT Command Police Spokesperson, SP Josephine, while responding to questions on their action to the kidnapping of several persons at Baukpe Community, near Aco Estate, along Airport road, among others, said there is ongoing move to implement improved security measures to tackle abductions.

She said, “In response to concern of kidnapping incidents in the Federal Capital Territory, the FCT Police Command while declaring an unwavering commitment to fortifying security measures, have deployed rigorous strategies to prevent any attempts at kidnapping before, during, and after the yuletide seasons.

“While your safety remains our priority, we remain steadfast in our commitment to avert any potential threats and maintain the peace and security of the Federal Capital Territory.

“To bolster these efforts, residents are expected to exhibit unwavering cooperation with law enforcement agencies, acting patriotically to enhance overall security.”

Also reacting also on the recent banditry attack, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, ordered the deployment of police officers and security equipment to ensure the safety of travellers along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway.

Egbetokun also directed the deputy IG, Operations, Ede Ekpeji, to ensure the strict monitoring of the security personnel assigned to the route, adding that the presence of the equipped operatives will “act as a deterrent to criminal activities..”


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