In Abuja, and indeed most part of the northern states, the fear of kidnappers is the beginning of wisdom. Residents now sleep with both eyes opened. Even on their beds, they have knives under their pillows and the holy books in their hands. Bandits, kidnappers and dare devil armed robbery operate anytime they are low
In Abuja, and indeed most part of the northern states, the fear of kidnappers is the beginning of wisdom. Residents now sleep with both eyes opened. Even on their beds, they have knives under their pillows and the holy books in their hands.
Bandits, kidnappers and dare devil armed robbery operate anytime they are low on cash and their operations could be anytime and anywhere – in places of worship, schools , military barracks and estates.
Their unprecedented ,consistent , ruthless and relentless invasion of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) have also given political leaders and security chiefs sleepless nights as they have to hold meetings on how to stop the shocking and embarrassing invasion.
There is a difference in perspectives of the magnitude of the problem and the approach to solve it between the only Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Ireti Kingibe and the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike. While Ireti Kingibe who had lived most of her adult life in Abuja, who connects more with the grassroots forewarned of the menace early in the life of this administration, the Minister opines her reaction may be exaggerated.
For Nyesom Wike, political pundits have alleged that his involvement in Rivers State politics where he is battling Governor Siminalari Fubara over the control of political structures may have been a source of distraction to him. It is alleged that Minister Wike jets out of Abuja every Friday to Port Harcourt for political meetings while kidnappers continue to do havoc in the FCT and its suburbs which are under the administration of the Minister.
Senator Kingibe has promised to use her position in the Nigerian Senate to tackle insecurity more aggressively in the coming weeks. She said a committee of the FCT Committee will soon hold, where the Minister would be summoned to present his plan and strategy to secure the FCT and its environs.
FCT Minister’s Gives Assurances
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Nyesom Wike assured residents of the nation’s capital that his Administration is doing everything within its capacity to address the recent security challenges in parts of the FCT. At an emergency security meeting with heads of various security agencies in the FCT and the Area Council Chairmen, recently, he urged FCT residents not to panic.
According to him, the FCT Administration is equally concerned about the security challenges in the FCT, adding that the emergency security meeting was part of the Administration’s efforts to find solution to the challenges, particularly in Bwari satellite town and other areas.
The FCT Administration, he said, owes a duty to ensure the safety of the FCT, which is home to all Nigerians, adding that it was also providing the necessary support required by the various security agencies in the FCT to provide solution to the challenges.
According to the Minister, “All of us are aware of the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory, particularly Bwari and some other areas that have witnessed security challenges. “Yes, I’m aware that sometimes too, the press overblow what is happening, but all of us are concerned about the Federal Capital Territory that houses virtually every Nigerian and we owe a duty to make sure that this place is safe.
“We will do all we can and we assure Nigerians who reside here that there is no need for panic. We are taking every step to make sure that those challenges are things that we must have to resolve. So, this meeting is practically to look into such challenges and see how we will be able to resolve the problems and that’s why we invited all the council chairmen because they also have a responsibility in their various Area
Similarly, the Minister on Wednesday began holding town hall meetings in the Area Councils of the FCT.The minister at one of the town hall meetings in Bwari Area Council ,Bwari , said: “Security is one of the key priorities of Mr. President’s administration. On Tuesday, Mr President summoned a high-level security meeting, which included all the Service Chiefs, the Minister of Defence, and my humble self, because of recent attacks, particularly in Bwari.
“Everything has to be done to protect lives and property. Without protection of lives and property, then we have no business in government. My coming here today is to assure you that we are very very serious.
“All those criminals, bandits, enough is enough. We will do everything in our power to make sure that we will not allow this to happen again.
“That is why just this morning, Mr. President has given me an approval, to provide every module required, to the security agencies. Security agencies will not have any reason to say that they are not equipped; we will provide everything required. All we require from you is your support. Everybody has a role to play, Information is key”.
The Rise in Kidnapping
Mr. Abdullahi Sabo, a resident of the nation’s capital, was abducted while heading home. He was with his wife when gunmen intercepted his vehicle at Sabon- Lugbe, Airport road in the nation’s capital. This development came less than 48 hours after gunmen invaded Army Resettlement Estate in Kurudu, still in Abuja, and abducted some residents.
In another development, some days ago, kidnappers abducted a family of six in Abuja demanding over N60 million before their release. Unfortunately , one of the abducted siblings, Miss Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, was murdered by the kidnappers to force the family to pay the ransom.
The killing of Nabeeha has drawn country-wide condemnation, with the #Najeebahandhersisters trending on X.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar also recently jumped on the trend. His word : “I am saddened by reports of the brutal murder of Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, who was abducted with her siblings and has been in the custody of their abductors for almost two weeks.
“This is yet another reminder that kidnappers and bandits are operating unhindered in our country. The security architecture needs to be rejigged to the extent that it stems from the free rein of criminal elements and guarantees the safety of lives and property”, he stressed.
“The security agencies should step up action to rescue the rest who are still in the custody of the kidnappers,” the post read.
On Monday it was reported that kidnappers who abducted ten persons from Sagwari Layout Estate Dutse, Abuja, killed three of their victims.
The high rate of crime has affected the once bustling nightlife of Abuja as many residents now live in fear of being victims of one-chance or kidnapping.
Renewed Hope from Police
The commitment of government to quell banditry in the Federal Capital may have started yielding fruits as the Nigeria Police last Thursday rescued an Abuja resident, Mr. Segun Akinyemi that was kidnapped while driving out of his house in Abuja. Police were able to rescue the man after a fierce gun battle with the kidnapers.
The kidnappers, according to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Kaduna, Mansir Hassan were taking Akinyemi from Abuja to Kano State when the police swooped on them. He said operatives attached to Kawo Divisional Headquarters, Kaduna received a distress call of a kidnapping incident from Abuja.
Former Kaduna central lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, has lamented the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. In a tweet via his X handle on Friday night, Sani blamed the situation on the migration of people into Abuja. He urged residents of the capital city to take precautionary measures to protect their lives and properties.
“Abuja residents should take lessons from the unfolding events and take precautionary measures to protect their neighbourhoods,” Sani said.
“The deterioration of security in other states, the increased migration of people into the FCT and the desecration of the master plan of the city have contributed to the rise in crime in Abuja. Insecurity in Abuja has a serious implication for our global image.
”No investor will come to a country where every head has a price,” he noted on Friday.
Police Strategic Intervention
In light of the recent incident of abduction in the Federal Capital Territory, and other similar incidents across the country, the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Mr. Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, convened a crucial meeting with the Force Management Team and Tactical Squads, on Monday 15th January, 2024, to address the rising concerns surrounding insecurity in the country.
According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer( FPRO) Assistant Commissioner of Police( ACP) Mr. Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the IGP expressed deep concern over the unfortunate events and emphasized the need for decisive action to curb such heinous crimes.
“During the meeting which centred on a comprehensive review of current security challenges, strategic planning, and the deployment of tactical resources to tackle emerging threats, the IGP emphasized the need for a coordinated and intelligence-driven approach to address the evolving security landscape.
“While reassuring Nigerians, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory, of improved security, the IGP ordered the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, to personally coordinate the upscaled security strategies emplaced to decimate kidnappers and other criminally minded individuals in the FCT, and immediately restore normalcy.
“In addition to operational strategies, the IGP underscored the significance of community engagement and collaboration with relevant stakeholders to gather information, enhance trust, and foster a collective effort in combating criminal elements”he said.
FCT Senator Not Happy With FCT Ministers
The pressure in the country over the seemingly helpless situation as a result of organised kidnapping of helpless Nigerians is already taking its toll on the political terrain.
The Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Ireti Kingibe, said the Senate will summon the Minister of FCT, Mr. Wike, over the rising rate of insecurity in Abuja.
Senator Kingibe, while appearing on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Sunday disclosed that the Senate will summon Wike and heads of security agencies over the spike in crimes in the nation’s capital.
Hear her: “When the Senate resumes, I plan that the (Senate) FCT committee specifically needs to sit with the two ministers and the security agencies for them to give us their plans concerning security.
“It is not that I am hoping. I know he will be summoned. But whether he responds or not is a different matter entirely. But as the chief security officer of the FCT, he should have a plan.
“He should be able to tell us, the committee, and specifically me, that this is the plan for protecting the people of the FCT. Between him, the police commissioner, and the head of the DSS, they must have a plan”, she stressed.
She added : “ I must commend the security agencies for doing something when we started to scream. But the truth is a little bit earlier, I tried to draw their attention and I was told that it was exaggerated and I said it couldn’t be because what I’m telling them, I did not get from social media. I got it from my constituents. But I’m glad that everybody, we are now all seem to be on the same page.
“They’re trying to take it all seriously, but a lot more needs to be done. Catching the kidnappers is just the symptom. We need to get to the root cause of what is causing all of this insecurity”, Senator Kingibe said.
Her comment did not go unnoticed by the embattled Minister of the FCT. He responded that the Senator lacked facts on some of the issues raised in the interview, particularly on the installation of CCTV cameras in the FCT.
According to the Minister it was the Police and not the FCT administration that awarded the unexecuted CCTV camera project.
Like Senator Kingibe observed, the Senate would be interested to know how over 69 persons were killed and 152 abducted during 194 attacks carried out by bandits and other criminals in the FCT in 2022, and the more daring ones between 2023 and 2024.