From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The recent activities of terrorists in Abuja and its environs that resulted in the death of military men have triggered fear, panic, suspicion and anxiety among residents of the federal capital.
Susan, a staff of FCT Administration but who lives in Madalla told Saturday Sun in a telephone interview that she and other residents couldn’t sleep peacefully on Thursday night because of the unexpected attack on soldiers at a military checkpoint at Zuma Rock, along Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
She said: “I was still in an engagement in town in when I got a call from some family members that there were terrorists activities going on at Madalla where the military checkpoint is located. At first, I was frightened and wanted to change my movement and sleep at a friend’s place at Gwarimpa. But suddenly, I realized that my spirit was strong, so I continued my journey until I got home.
“While I was going, I noticed that fear and anxiety had enveloped some parts of Madalla and environs as people returned to their houses earlier than usual. Even before now, we have had elements of fear and suspicion of possible infiltration of the town by terrorists. My brother, insecurity is a big challenge in Nigeria, and little or nothing is being done about the deteriorating state of affairs.”
Fubara, a resident and student of Federal College of Education, Zuba, Abuja, confessed that he had have been living in fear along with other students, adding that their predicament was worsened by the Kuje jail break, in which many convicted Boko Haram commanders and other criminals were freed back into the society.
He said: “Our situation is something else because we are close to Kaduna which has apparently become the hotbed of bandits and their activities. In addition to that, Zuba has one of the biggest motor parks in Nigeria. And, it is home to hooligans, touts and other homeless people who are making life unbearable for people.”
Chidimma Ekezie who resides at Cairo Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, said she doesn’t move around like before. This she said is caused by the deteriorating state of security in FCT as shown by the terrorists’ decision to attack Kuje Correctional Centre and free their detained members, and to attack and kill men and officers of Guards Brigades, and also to threaten to kidnap the President.
She said: “I love night life and other social activities like hiking, swimming and others. But I have stopped all those activities temporarily, because the country is not safe anymore. The fact is that an innocent person can be victim of military offensive activities. So, it’s better I take precautionary measures pending when security improves.”
A trader at Wuse market who identified himself as Henry, said residents are really feeling the harsh impact of the rising insecurity in Abuja and Nigeria. He said: “Our customers don’t turn up any more like in the past. And, many of them said it’s because of the fear of being molested, attacked or kidnapped.
“We have had customers who were kidnapped in the past. I think the best option now is for Nigerians to follow the several advice suggesting that people should procure arms to defend themselves because the government has failed in its responsibilities.”
Goodluck Ajah who resides at one of the estates located at Lokogoma, Abuja said he began to avoid some places when the warning came from the FCT Administration for gardens and parks to close from 7pm due to insecurity. “My brother, I have even avoided church. That’s how bad and fearful it is for me.”
Zubairu Musa from Mararaba, a neighbouring town with Abuja, said they have witnessed massive increase in number of bike men, keke drivers and other hooligans in recent times, and that had caused serious fear and anxiety among residents.
He said: “The fact that Nasarawa State government ordered immediate closure of all schools, private and public, in the state is an indication that things are not well. The governor had even earlier raised the alarm that bandits have built a camp for themselves in some parts of the state and are ready to unleash terror on residents.
Public Relations Officer of the FCT Police Command, Josephine Adeh, said there was no cause for alarm as the police was working in conjunction with the military and the security agencies round the clock to provide adequate security for the FCT and its environs.
Adeh, who said the command has embarked on heavy deployment of men as assets to crisis prone areas, said it was also working with local security in the local communities to foil any attack.
She said: “There is no cause for alarm on security in the FCT. We are not taking anything for granted and treat every security report we get with uttermost diligence. We urge the people to go about their legitimate businesses and report strange movement to the police and security agencies.
“We are working with hunters, vigilantes and local security in all the communities in the FCT to get real time information and avert any attack.”
We have also embarked on routine patrol operations some of which is being led by the Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, himself.”