By FRED ITUA, FAITH JAMES and CHIAMAKA NZENWEAKU
Kubwa is the biggest suburb in Abuja, the nation’s capital. Kubwa is in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It has been in existence since 1990 as a satellite town. The distance from the city centre to Kubwa is approximately 20 Kilometres.
The Gbagi people were the original residents, but Kubwa suburb became an entirely new and heterogeneous community as a result of government policy on relocation of the Gbagi people, having the three major ethnic groups Hausa, Yorubas, Igbos and other ethnic minorities as the main inhabitants of the area. They are mainly civil servants, businessmen and women, commercial motorcycle riders, artisans and entrepreneurs.
However, the one peaceful town is gradually transforming into one of the most notorious places in the FCT. Petty thieves who lurk around Automatic Teller Machine (ATMs) and robbers who disguise as bike (Okada) riders now ply their trades unhindered in Kubwa. Beyond that, Kubwa is also carving a name for itself as the ‘official’ refuse dump site in Abuja. Driving through the 5-lane expressway, dump sites stare at you from every corner.
ATM scammers in Kubwa use different means of extorting money from people. Sometimes, people receive different messages that their accounts have been blocked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), unknown to them that the information is false and they eventually end up as victims.
According to Victoria Onah, a student in one of the universities in the country who resides in Kubwa,”It happened to a squatter in my room during our first semester. She got a call by these fraudsters one morning and he told her that her sim had issues and it was blocked by CBN. Out of fear, she disclosed her ATM details and in some minutes, they made away with her N42,000 she kept calling to no avail.
A security guard at First Bank Nigeria Plc in Kubwa, Abuja, said they have reported cases of robbery attacks at ATMs, especially at night.
“People swap ATM cards, all in the name of assisting people to withdraw. At times, bike men who walk hand in hand with criminals, wait for people to withdraw and after that, they pretend to board them home and on their way, they rob the person. Some use guns as a way of scaring people to give them their money immediately,” the security guard who did not want his name published, said.
A staff in of the new generation banks who identified herself asRachel advised that “people should be careful on how they give out their ATM details. It is for you and for you alone. People fall victims to these ATM fraudsters, due to carelessness and neglect. When the ATM card is issued, we coach our customers how to use the card and we also tell them never to give anyone details about the card.
“We get complains everyday of how people’s money are being stolen after withdrawal and online too, but we keep trying to control this and we also advice our customers not to be misled by these scammers.”
A resident of Dawaki, opposite Gwarinpa Estate, Muktar Hepzibah, said: “ATM fraudsters are everywhere. My sister was raped after withdrawing N10,000 from her account. They took her money and raped her as well. So many other people have fallen victims to this same act. I pray the banks provide more security men to keep watch over people withdrawing at night and that people should try as much as possible not to give strangers their account details for safety precautions.”
In other instances in Kubwa, people have been scammed. Some victims who recalled how they were defrauded, said people lurk around ATMs, pretending to have difficulties in making withdrawals.
One of the victims, Victor narrated: “I went to the ATM and I met a pregnant woman who was with another person, trying to withdraw money. She approached me and asked for help. Because of my kind heart, I decided to assist her. While I was trying to make the withdrawal, the woman, without my knowledge, took the one I had already withdrawn from my back jean pocket. I only noticed when I got home.”
As for improper waste disposal, Kubwa is facing the music. Problems of improper domestic waste worsens everyday in Kubwa suburb.
Refuse dump sites are reserved land areas that are meant for the disposal of unwanted materials. It can also be seen as a place for disposing things that are unhealthy to human beings, while waste management includes all the activities required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. Waste management in cities is an ongoing challenge and may struggle due to weak institution, under resourcing and rapid urbanization.
When Daily Sun visited Kwaba, along Channel 8 Street in Kubwa, it was learnt that a drainage meant for the easy flow of water is being converted to a dump site. A resident, Mr. Shehu Umar told Daily Sun that he is not happy with the situation, which has been making him uncomfortable. He said he has lived there for over four years and since then, people still come to dispose all sorts of things.
He said the police have made efforts to arrest people who dispose refuse improperly, but residents still engage in the act. He added that he disposes his refuse properly through the garbage boys who walk around the street collecting refuse.
Along Gwoza Crescent along Phase 3 Junction in Kubwa, Mr. Kingsley, a gas dealer shared his experience on how he has been coping with the stench from a very small land area along the road where individuals often dispose wastes. He said he has caught individuals severally who dump refuse, which he does not like because it makes people who patronize him to change their mind.
He added that whenever he talks to them about it, they claim that they are being embarrassed. He said he has no authority over another person because the environmental officers that are supposed to check these things overlook them.
Daily Sun captured the scene of a large fenced refuse dump site along Kubwa expressway in Abuja. According to Muhammed, one of the garbage boys who dispose refuse, “The refuse dump site has been there for a long time. The refuse is gradually encroaching the road which needs immediate attention.