Abuja residents express fear as kidnappers, bandits close in on FCT
Residents of of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have come under palpable fear over the deteriorating security situation in the area, particularly the satellite towns.
Many have expressed a looming security crisis in the city following activities of criminal elements disturbing the peace of the nation’s capital.
Like the current state of insecurity in many parts of the country, there have been several occurrences of attacks on communities in the FCT, leading to killing and abduction of residents.
The FCT which was hitherto known for its calmness and peace has relatively joined other states facing security challenges ranging from banditry to herdsmen attack and kidnapping.
Recall that there have been series of reports on imminent attacks in the FCT particularly the planned invasion of the city by Boko Haram insurgents which recently stimulated tension among residents.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, a few days ago, raised the alarm that members of Boko Haram terrorists were planning to attack public formations in Abuja and the Plateau State capital, Jos.
IGP Baba noted that intelligence reports disclosed that the terrorists were being strategic on how to carry out the attack.
He placed the commissioners of police in both cities on red alert, to ensure the attacks are not carried out.
Although such activities have not been witnessed in the city since the alarm was raised, other criminal elements have been on rampage in many parts of the territory.
Recall that gunmen numbering about 20 on Sunday morning invaded the El-Rufa’i Estate in Kuchiko Relocation Development Area, Bwari Area Council, Abuja shooting sporadically before whisking away a resident and his son.
It was gathered that the suspected kidnappers who were equipped with sophisticated weapons, overpowered the security guards before invading the home of the victims and picked them to an unknown destination.
Sources revealed that the gunmen also attempted to abduct another household but with the timely arrival of soldiers from the Defence College, Bwari, the situation was salvaged after a gun duel with the assailants.
On Monday, some youths blocked vehicular movements at the Suleja axis of Niger State. They were on the popularly Abuja-Kaduna Expressway protesting against insecurity in their communities.
Suleja is a neighbouring community to the FCT, usually less than 15 minutes drive.
The youths, mostly from villages adjoining the highway, were said to be protesting against incessant attacks by bandits and kidnappers on their communities.
They were said to have been angered by the early Monday fresh attack in the area during which at least 12 people were abducted n Gauraka town.
In the same vein, gunmen suspected to be bandits attacked the Kwakwashi community where one person was killed and 13 residents were kidnapped last week.
The Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Abiodun Wasiu who confirmed the incident, added that he could not ascertain the total number of persons abducted in the area.
“Yes, there was an incident of such around that Kwankashe area in Madalla, where some victims were taken away, ” the PPRO said
Similarly, Otunla Blessing, who was said to be a recent graduate of the University of Abuja was found dead near the school premises a few days ago.
The deceased who was suspected to have been raped before being murdered was found naked in a gutter at Student village in Iddo Sarki, Abuja on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
Blessing who travelled from Oyo to Abuja to receive her result before her untimely death, studied English Language at the university and graduated in 2020.
Some of the residents of the FCT who spoke to a correspondent expressed fear of further attacks.
A Head Mistress of a popular primary school in Bwari, who identified herself simply as Mrs Umunna, told our correspondent that the proprietor of her school was considering shutting down the school over fear of abduction.
“When you talk about insecurity in the Federal Capital Territory, the first place that runs through your mind is Bwari.
“This is a satellite town where the criminals could hide for their dubious activities. We watch our steps here for the fear of the unknown.”
A civil servant who spoke from Gwagwalada, Mr Innocent Modupe said everyone in the area have been forced by the security situation to remain vigilant.
He said he has personally reviewed his daily activities to ensure he returns to his family before sunsets.
“This is Abuja; where you are working may not be close to where you live and as it is now, if you are not with your family by 6 pm, there may be a problem because these criminals usually operate when it is dark.
“Abuja used to be peaceful but some evil persons have taken advantage of its calmness to hide and unleash terror on innocent residents who are struggling to make ends meet,” he added.
Similarly, a student of the department of political science, University of Abuja who preferred to remain anonymous, said despite the security in the school premises, some students prefer living with their parents, friends or relatives in the main town where they believe they can be safe.
According to her, “When we heard of several abductions from higher institutions in Kaduna State, we lost our peace and sleep, thinking we would suffer same fate.
“The Authority of the school has assured students of their safety but this is Nigeria, anything can happen anytime. I wish this issue of insecurity happening everywhere could just end now”.
When contacted for comment on plans to avert further attacks in the city, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, ASP Mariam Yusuf told DAILY POST correspondent that the command has put up strategies to ensure that lives and property of the residents are protected.
“We have deployed overt and covert strategies to ensure the protection of lives and property within the FCT,” she said.