Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, are facing heightened unease as widespread insecurity grips the city center and its outskirts. Incidents of frequent and indiscriminate robberies and abductions of motorists and commuters have created a sense of insecurity among the population.
This concerning situation is beginning to affect the nightlife in the vibrant city just as the country prepares to celebrate its 63rd independence anniversary.
Various residents of the FCT have expressed their apprehension about the escalating rates of kidnapping and robbery within the city center. They believe that the FCT has become grossly under-policed, with visible policing operations in short supply.
Motorists often traverse extensive stretches of Ahmadu Bello Way, one of the city’s longest roads, without encountering a police patrol. Rapid patrols are mainly conducted by agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Vehicle Inspection Officers, but they lack the authority to combat criminal activities.
In a recent incident, a journalist from a television station was abducted by hoodlums in front of the NNPC Towers, near Conoil petrol station, and transported to an unknown location where she was robbed of her phone and personal belongings.
The mounting insecurity within the nation’s capital has prompted the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to alert its staff about high-risk areas, especially at night. An internal memo from the agency advises staff to exercise caution when using taxi services and to board registered and traceable taxis. It also emphasizes the importance of avoiding late-night or early-morning trips.
Identified routes vulnerable to criminal activities include areas around Berger, Lugbe, Apo Mechanic Village, Kubwa Express Way, Jabi, City Gate, and more.
Concerned residents believe that economic hardships are fueling the rise in criminal activities. They are calling on security agencies and the FCT Administration to take urgent measures to protect the population from these threats.
Another resident points out that the surge in insecurity can be attributed to an influx of jobless individuals into the nation’s capital due to insecurity in other parts of the country. The police are urged to address the issue of destitution and prevent further entry of potential criminals into the FCT.
The activities of scavengers, known as Maibola, have also gone unchecked, with these individuals allegedly responsible for various crimes in the FCT.
To address the situation, it is suggested that robust vigilante services or neighborhood watch initiatives be established in the FCT. Additionally, efforts should be made to regulate transport services to minimize the risk of “one-chance” criminals operating under the guise of transport providers. The installation of closed-circuit camera projects in strategic areas should be revived.
Yushau Shuaibu, CEO of PR Nigeria, believes that the police are overwhelmed due to insufficient resources, outdated equipment, and low morale. He highlights the need for inter-agency collaboration and synergy among various security services providers.
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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) expressed deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in the FCT. They call for a swift and robust response to address the escalating challenges.
The group recommends intelligence-driven operations, community engagement, increased visibility of law enforcement personnel, and enhanced cooperation among security agencies as part of the strategy to combat insecurity in the FCT.
HURIWA also emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of criminality through social programs and education, reducing the incentive for involvement in criminal activities. They call on political leaders to prioritize security in policy and budget decisions.
As the security crisis continues to affect the lives of Abuja residents, it is hoped that urgent and comprehensive measures will be taken to restore peace and security to the nation’s capital.
In response to the concerns, the FCT Police Command reassured residents that they should continue their lawful activities without fear. The Command is actively addressing the situation and has urged residents to report suspicious activities.
As the country approaches its independence anniversary, addressing the security challenges in the FCT is of utmost importance to ensure the well-being and safety of its residents.