From Fred Itua, Abuja
Rising cases of kidnapping in various parts of the country have crept into Abuja, the nation’s capital, investigations by Daily Sun have revealed. Though Abuja houses 17 security-related agencies, the rising cases of kidnapping, especially in the suburbs, have heightened the already tensed situation.
A source in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), said there is hardly any day in Abuja that a resident is not kidnapped. He identified Kuje, Kwali, Bwari and recently Kubwa, as major hotspots where there are rising cases of coordinated kidnapping in Abuja.
In Pegi, Kuje Area Council for instance, residents are beginning to abandon their bikes and are relocating to more densely populated areas to avoid being kidnapped. A resident, Ahmed Jisalo, attributed the bad road leading to Abuja @30 Estate, as a major contributor to the rising cases of kidnapping.
He said from Kuje to the area, it takes about 20-25 minutes to access the bad road: “The road is bordered by a thick forest where the kidnappers have their camps. Despite assurances from the FCTA, the regular cases have not abated. Residents have been compelled to make monthly contributions to hire vigilante boys to police the road.”
Recently, at about 2am, a community close to the Nigerian Law School called Sabon-Bwari, was attacked by kidnappers. A resident said for two hours, the kidnappers held the community captive, ransacking houses and abducting residents.
“They kidnapped three females and two males. The next day, Thursday, they got in touch with the community and demanded for a 50 million ransom. The worrying linkage with the beheaded Borno State farmers is that, Sabon-Bwari is predominantly a farming community,” a resident who pleaded not be named told Daily Sun. He said the community shares a boundary with Niger State, where bandits attack farmers frequently.
In Kubwa, the biggest satellite town in Abuja, kidnaping is fast becoming a norm. Around the permanent orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), kidnapping has taken a new dimension.
A resident, Chidi, narrated a recent case: “We were awakened on this day, at about 1:30am, by some wailings. They were the voices of my neighbours, Hajia and her husband. We ran out to know what was happening and she broke the unfortunate news to us.
“In between tears she narrated how armed Fulani kidnappers abducted her first son, a young man of about 25 years. They had jumped over their fence and made their way to the window of the master bedroom.
“She said they banged on the window continuously, ordering them to open the door or risk being shot at, if they forcefully entered the house. They eventually opened the door for them and pleaded with them to accept all the money they had in their possession at that moment. They took the money and still took her son with them. They left through the bush path and that was how Hajia’s first son was kidnapped.
“We (I and my next door neighbours) followed the wailing couple to the house to confirm the incident. We saw the signs that the kidnappers left in the wake of the invasion.
“The security men who we pay on a monthly basis were no where to be found at this material time. They only started to crawl out of their hiding places after the poor woman’s voice had shattered the peace of the night.
“They gave an account of what they observed, and finished their story with the line ‘they shot severally into the air, and we hid ourselves to avoid being shot.’ I was deeply touched when the man tearfully told us that he offered the kidnappers his two cars in exchange for his son, but they rejected his offer and made away with the young man.
“This story is not made up. The incident just happened in my neighbourhood and we have lost sleep since then. Kubwa is actually the most developed and organised satellite town in the FCT.
“It was not long ago that news broke of the mass kidnap at Tungan Maji, another suburb in Abuja. Then, I just knew that the next operation base for kidnappers would be the FCT. Now, the kidnappers have too close than we ever imagined.
“If the FCT which houses the seat of power and all the military and paramilitary paraphernalia of government could be overrun by bandits, kidnappers and criminals without anything happening, then it clearly means that nowhere in Buhari’s Nigeria is safe.”
FCT Minister of State, Ramatu Tijjani, described incidents of kidnapping in Abuja as unfortunate and heinous. She regretted that abductions have become rampant especially in Kuje area council of the territory:
“It is regrettable and unfortunate that we are still having cases of abductions and kidnappings of innocent citizens in the Federal Capital Territory. It is regrettable because this is the seat of government and we must do everything possible to put to an end this senseless killings and abductions of residents in the territory.
“However, I want to appeal to residents especially those in the area councils to remain calm, as the FCTA is working assiduously to protect lives and properties of residents. I want to assure you that the security agencies are on top of the situation.”