*Districts, suburbs where crime holds sway
From FRED ITUA
Across the world, governments place serious emphasis on security. This seriousness attached to security has led countries into voting billions of dollars for the sector every year. For them, nothing is left to chance. Those who foment trouble are compelled to face the wrath of the law.
The story has been the same in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. However, the situation seems to be changing for the worse as insecurity has been creeping into the city. A number of factors have combined to make it so. There are no security cameras nor adequate policing and protection of lives and property in the city.
In Abuja, some areas are particularly notorious for various crimes. Kubwa, Gwarimpa, Mabushi, Utako/Jabi, Wuye and Wuse districts are considered as the epicentre of crimes in Abuja. Lokogoma is considered by some folks as the major flashpoint in Abuja. Many believe that some of the boldest crimes are hatched in these areas.
Kubwa is one of the major suburbs within the metropolitan area of Abuja. Kubwa district has been in existence since 1990 as a satellite town of Abuja. The distance from the city centre is approximately 25 kilometres. The Gbagyi people were the original residents, but Kubwa has become an entirely new and heterogeneous community as a result of government policy on relocation of the Gwagyi people.
It now houses residents from the three major ethnic groups, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and other ethnic minorities. Residents are mainly civil servants, businessmen and women, commercial motorcycle riders, artisans and entrepreneurs.
Since the advent of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Kubwa has become a shadow of itself. It has transformed from a peaceful suburb to a notorious den where all manner of crimes hold sway. The popular Arab Road, located on the outskirts of the town, has a really bad reputation. Frequent armed robbery attacks, kidnappings and other vicious crimes happen in this part of the city.
Arab Road has many uncompleted buildings that have become safe havens for criminals. It is not well-lit at night, hence criminals lay ambush and feast on residents. There have been cases of rape, murder, car-snatching and ritual killings in the area.
In June 2016, a ranking member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mrs. Eunice Mojisola Olawale, was murdered by suspected Islamic fundamentalists while she was preaching in the area. In 2015, the lifeless bodies of some policemen were found along the same notorious road in Kubwa.
Mid last year, some daredevil armed robbers attacked a new generation bank in Kubwa and had a good outing. Ironically, the bank was located a few metres from the Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
Gwarimpa is a 20-kilometre drive from the central district and contains the largest housing estate in Nigeria and one of the largest in Africa. The estate was built by the administration of Gen. Sani Abacha. It provides residence for the majority of the civil servants in federal ministries and government parastatals.
Gwarinpa is still developing,mthe district has many unoccupied and uncompleted buildings, which have been taken over by criminals. From their hiding places, they launch soft attacks on people, especially at night. During the day, when people go to work, they break into homes.
Although there are only a few entry and exit points in Gwarimpa, criminals who have mastered the road networks in the place ambush people and get away with their cars. There are several instances.
It is also home to ‘one chance’ business and kidnapping.
Mabushi, Utako/Jabi and Wuye
These three districts are located at the heart of the city. Though these areas are adorned with marvelous road networks, beautiful edifices and cars, beneath all this is a den of crime. Utako, for instance, is in the second phase of the development plan of Abuja. It is mainly a residential area. Most commercial transport companies have their terminals in Utako.
Mabushi is sandwiched between Wuse, Jabi and Kado districts. It has numerous uncompleted buildings. It also has one of the worst road networks in the city. There are no primary or secondary infrastructure in the area. It is a soft spot where prostitutes convert uncompleted buildings into sex havens.
Criminals have also taken advantage of the poor road networks in the area to lay ambush on residents. The deadliest spot in Mabushi is the link bridge, just after the popular VIO office. Whenever policemen hang around, pedestrians and drivers move freely. It becomes a no-go area whenever there is no security presence in the area. There have been numerous cases of car snatching in the area. Pedestrians have also recounted their ordeals of how their bags and jewelries have been forcefully taken away from them.
Wuye District is strategically located off Berger-Area One road. Until recently, the district did not have infrastructure. Though there are beautiful houses, the vast undeveloped areas pose serious threats to residents. It is believed that some criminal elements who launch attacks on drivers and other residents of the city, hide in some uncompleted buildings in the area.
Wuse district is one of the oldest in the city. It is in northwestern part of the city, with Maitama district to its north and the Central district to its south. The district is numbered Zones 1–8. The Wuse Market is Abuja’s principal market and it located in Zone 5. The second most important post office in the city there. The district houses the Sheraton Hotel and Towers and it is located at Zone 4. Ibro International hotel and Nigerian Customs Services Headquarters, Federal Civil Service Commission, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) are all located in Wuse.
Beside the heavy presence of government offices and the private sector in the district, Wuse is the unofficial headquarters of prostitutes in the city. With the presence of nightclubs and gardens in the area, prostitutes openly ply their trade.
That is not all. Car snatching is a major issue in Abuja. Incidentally, Wuse has become the reference point whenever victims of car snatching recall their ugly experiences. Cars are snatched on regular basis in Wuse, despite the heavy presence of security agents in the area.
Drug peddlers also ply their trade in Wuse. The popular Banex Junction in Wuse is well known as the unofficial spot where sellers and consumers of cocaine and other hard drugs meet. Though they disguise whenever they approach intending customers, people familiar with their modus operandi understand how it works.
Since the drug peddlers started plying their trade about four years ago, no major crackdown or arrests have been made by security agents in the area. Sometimes, police vehicles park few metres away from where the dealers sell their products.
In all, Abuja metropolis is gradually becoming a jungle where people get away with crime and murder. With the excruciating hardship in the north, occasioned by activities of Boko Haram, there have been influx of people into the city. Many of these new comers into the city have no decent places to stay, hence, they take over any open space or uncompleted buildings. Many of these internal migrants have been involved in various crimes and their activities usually go on unchecked.