Addressing insecurity in FCT
On Saturday, September 14, 219, the city of Abuja was thrown into a frenzy when it emerged that five people have been kidnapped. Those taken hostage include; a lecturer with Baze University whose identity was not made known, Miss Aisha Ardo, a daughter of a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Umar Ardo, who was abducted at 7.45pm outside a popular supermarket in Nkwame Nkrumah Crescent, Asokoro, two teenagers returning from an Islamic school at Wuse Zone 6, and one Mrs Hannah Azuibuike, who was reportedly taken away near Habiba plaza, Maitama, around 8.30pm.
All of these were within 24 hours and in the heart of the city.
Before these particular kidnappings, Abuja has been rife with incidences of ‘One Chance’ that is taxi robbers, burglary and car theft.
No one is spared from the activities of these criminals. From journalists to civil servants, students, businessmen/women; just about everybody.
As the criminals seem to have a free rein, the authorities engage in political speak that city is safe and secured. Nothing can be farther than the truth.
Worried by the pervading security challenges, the Nigeria Union of Journalists FCT Council held a town hall meeting on rising insecurity in the FCT on August 28 to aggregate opinions of residents to address the common challenge.
In his address at the town hall, chairman, NUJ FCT Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, noted that the meeting was an aggregation of daily reports and citizens’ apprehension of emerging threats that seek to undermine their safety and general well-being.
According to him, "let me say that this town hall meeting is not to indict the administration, or the security agencies, rather an avenue for critical stakeholders in the FCT to evaluate the security challenges we all share at the growing determination of a few individuals who threaten our peace and livelihoods".
The chairman noted that the town hall meeting will serve as an agenda setting of the media to offer insights on social and policy issues to the administration that the NUJ decided to organize the meeting on security challenges in FCT.
Despite the spirited denials by the administration, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Ciroma, revealed recently that over ‘100 One Chance’ criminals are in the custody of the police.
Also, the FCT minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, has ordered the immediate removal of speed breakers on major highways across the city owing to the increased crime rate in the nation’s capital in recent times.
The minister said the directive to get rid of the unnecessary speed breakers on freeways, is to allow the free flow of traffic in areas identified as dark spots.
A source at the traffic control unit of the transport secretariat had told this newspaper that the directive was given to check the growing cases of robbery and forceful dispossession of victims’ properties on identified routes.
While the measures taken by the FCTA are commendable, there is the urgency for it to engage more robustly with residents in the area of intelligence gathering.
It is pertinent for the authorities to realize that Abuja is not just any city in Nigeria, but the very heartbeat of its pulse, policy and administration, therefore, the imperative to ensure that it is safe and secured.
The administration ought to realize that all the High Commissions, Embassies and Consulates are aware of security developments and their advisories can have far reaching implications on the city as conference and business destination.
There is also the issue of deploying requisite technology in addressing the security needs of the territory. It is still a shame that the city-wide deployment of CCTVs was drained in corruption.
However, it is something of a cheer that pedestrian bridges and similar infrastructures now have CCTVs. The FCTA can leverage on businesses in Abuja to get them have cameras in and around their premises to augment whatever the administration have.
In all, the residents should see security consciousness as a duty and vouch information when necessary to the police and other security agencies.
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