• Friday, March 01, 2024
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BusinessDay

Escalating insecurity grips Abuja, residents demand urgent action

Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA)

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is facing alarming surge in insecurity, prompting growing concerns among residents and authorities. The capital city, once considered relatively immune to the prevalent security challenges in other parts of the country, is now grappling with an escalating wave of criminal activities, particularly kidnappings.

According to a 2020 report by SB Morgen, Abuja was ranked 11th among locations with frequent abductions, a stark revelation of the evolving security landscape in the region. Over the last three years, close to 50 kidnap cases have been recorded in Abuja, involving over 200 individuals. The severity of the issue becomes more apparent when examining the data from January 2021 to June 2023, revealing approximately 40 recorded cases with a staggering 236 victims. Between October and December 2023 alone, there were 13 recorded kidnap incidents, impacting 80 victims.

These incidents are not isolated to specific areas but have occurred in various locations within Abuja, including Gwagwalada Kuje, Lugbe, Pegi, Abaji, Keti, and Kwali. What is particularly concerning is that these incidents seem to occur unchallenged by security agencies, allowing criminal elements to operate with impunity.

The economic toll of this rising insecurity is substantial, with confirmed ransom payments totaling N653.7 million between 2021 and 2022. Residents and businesses in the affected areas are bearing the brunt of these security challenges, and the impact on daily life and economic activities is becoming increasingly pronounced.

Recent individual accounts, such as that of Surajudeen Olasinde, a public servant, shed light on the personal traumas experienced by residents. Olasinde narrated the kidnapping of his wife, Mistura, and two daughters, Hauwa and Fatima, around the Galadima District. The kidnappers demanded an exorbitant N100 million ransom, highlighting the audacity and brazenness of criminal elements operating within the city. Ultimately, a negotiated settlement amounted to N2.8 million.

In response to these security threats, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command has deployed additional officers and pledged to address the dire situation. However, the continued incidents and challenges faced by security agencies raise questions about the effectiveness of current measures

In the face of this security crisis, Abuja residents are navigating a complex landscape of emotions, practical considerations, and community-driven responses. The collective resilience and determination to address the root causes of insecurity reflect the community’s commitment to restoring safety and stability in the Federal Capital Territory..

A resident simply identified as Mr Kenneth Joshua called for investigations into security lapses and swift action against perpetrators. “The government really needs to come to our aide”, he said

In the latest surge of criminal activities plaguing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a suburb of the Bwari Area Council, Sagwari Layout Estate in Dutse, became the ominous stage for a brazen abduction. On Sunday evening, a group of kidnappers, masquerading as herdsmen, infiltrated the estate, snatching eight residents and two hotel staff in a daring assault.

Another dire reality persisted, with incidents like the December 24 invasion of Garam community, located just a five-minute drive from Bwari, resulting in the tragic killing of a pastor and the abduction of 13 others.

Subsequent bandit attacks on December 28 targeted Kuduru in the FCT, leading to the kidnapping of 18 individuals.

As the community grapples with an unabated surge in abductions, concerns mount regarding the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts to curb these criminal activities.

The alarming series of criminal activities in the Federal Capital Territory, paints a grim picture of escalating insecurity across the nation.

In a disheartening development related to the recent abduction in Dutse, kidnappers reportedly killed three victims, including a 13-year-old high school student, due to the perceived delay in meeting the ransom demand. The initial demand of N60 million per person has been escalated to N100 million, totaling a staggering N700 million.

A In 2020, a report by SB Morgen ranked Abuja as the 11th location with frequent abductions.

Over the last three years, Abuja has experienced almost 50 kidnap cases, involving over 200 individuals. From January 2021 to June 30, 2023, there were approximately 40 recorded cases, affecting a staggering 236 victims. Between October and December 2023 alone, there were 13 recorded kidnap incidents, involving 80 victims.

These incidents occurred in various locations, including Gbau, Kuje, Gauge, Pegi, Abaji, Keti, and Kwali, seemingly unchallenged by security agencies. The impact of these incidents on the community has been significant, leading to substantial economic losses, with confirmed ransom payments totaling N653.7 million between 2021 and 2022.

In a recent incident, Surajudeen Olasinde, a public servant, shared a harrowing experience of his wife, Mistura, and two daughters, Hauwa and Fatima, being kidnapped around the Galadima District. Olasinde revealed that the kidnappers initially demanded N100 million in ransom but ultimately settled for N2.8 million.

The FCT Police Command, responding to public outcry over the abduction of six sisters and their father, has deployed operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Counter-Terrorism squads on a search and rescue mission.

The joint operation, involving elements of the Nigerian Army, targets forest areas and remote enclaves of Bwari Area Council, extending into Niger and Kaduna states.

As the search intensifies for the remaining kidnapped victims, including the sisters of Nabeeha, the tragic events prompt public figures like Oluremi Tinubu, First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to mourn the loss, called for unity in prayers for the safe return of those still in captivity.

Josephine Edeh, the Police Public Relations Officer for the FCT Police Command, informed BusinessDay that, citing security reasons, the force refrains from providing comments on the matter of kidnappings in Abuja.

Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President also highlights the correlation between increasing poverty and hunger with the surge in insecurity, urging urgent attention to address the dire security situation.

The recurrent incidents underscore the pressing need for robust and effective measures to safeguard residents and restore a sense of security in Abuja and other vulnerable regions.

Despite the deployment of additional police officers, the community remains caught in the throes of a kidnapping crisis, demanding urgent and decisive action to quell the rising tide of criminal activities.

As Abuja grapples with this surge in insecurity, urgent and comprehensive strategies are needed to restore confidence, protect residents, and secure the once tranquil atmosphere of the capital city.

The collaboration between security agencies, community engagement, and strategic interventions will be crucial in overcoming the evolving security challenges in Abuja.