· Vigilante services up
· Night businesses suffer
· FCT, neighbouring states team-up
Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory, is enveloped in fear as residents fear of possible terror attacks in spite of assurances by the administration of efforts to thwart threats by the Islamic State West Africa Province and Boko Haram to attack Abuja and some states in the North-Central, North-West and South-West.
Life in Area Councils
In the area councils such as Abaji, Bwari, Kuje and Kwali, residents are constantly on the lookout for suspicious movements or news of attacks in far-flung communities.
In Bwari Area Council an attack on a team of the Presidential Guards Brigade which left three officers dead and five other soldiers have heightened tension in the council area.
The continued heavy military presence around the Nigerian Law School and the Bwari campus of the Nigerian Defence College, which ordinarily should help douse tension seems to reinforce the apprehension of residents as they say the military deployment to the area further confirms the presence of terrorists in the council area.
The first batch of the 2022 Call to Bar ceremony of graduates of the Nigeria Law School, earlier scheduled to hold in the premises of the institution, was moved to the secretariat of the Body of Benchers along the Airport Road Abuja following threats of attacks.
Our correspondent who visited the area council over the weekend observed the presence of vigilantes, especially around Kogo village.
The vigilantes bearing locally made guns were seen patrolling the Kogo 1 and Kogo 2 area in broad daylight, scrutinising vehicles going in and out of the community.
Also, most recreational spots like the popular palm wine spot at Ushafa, De Arena gardens, now close early for fear of being attacked.
The situation is worse in villages around the fringes of the council like, Ido and Zuma communities, where the terrorists reportedly hibernated before the attack on the Army.
Zuma village, which is about 3 kilometers from the headquarters of Bwari Area Council host the Veritas University owned by the Catholic Church.
The agrarian community has been shaken by the reports of the territory attack and possibility of terrorists laying siege in the area.
Some of the villagers who spoke with The Abuja Inquirer are worried that the terrorists could capitalize on the poor state of the roads in their communities to rain terror before help gets to them.
One of the residents of Zuma village, Mr Wale Akoshile, who lives close to Veritas University, Zuma village, said Bwari no longer feels safe.
He said the killing of armed soldiers shows how daring the terrorists have become emboldened and that the presence of few military men was not enough to quell their fears.
“The military have been hovering this area since the army was attacked by bandits. Though their presence is good for us, but it further confirms our fear that indeed the terrorists are actually within the location and may possibly to carry out their plans if the army are recalled. We only hope that this is brought to an end because we can’t sleep at night. Even the vigilantes we employ can’t do much because how can they repel the terrorists with their local guns when those ones are armed with sophisticated weapons?” He asked.
In Kuje, some of the residents say attacks by bandits and kidnappers have become their daily reality and there is little they can do about it.
The Kuje correctional attack by ISWAP elements have left the people defeated and they have now taken their fate to God.
“There is little we can do. For a long time, we cried for concrete action to be taken by the administration and security agencies over the near-daily kidnapping and assault we face from bandits and kidnappers, nothing was done,” a resident who asked not to be named said.
According to him, the Kuje prison attack has left them at the mercy of security agents who are now using the poor security situation to brutalise and undermine the civil liberties of citizens.
“Security agents now have an excuse to brutalise and man roadblocks without meaning further endangering our lives,” the resident bemoaned.
Owing to the poor security situation, the Ministry of Education and the FCTA Education Secretariat ordered schools to close latest by last Wednesday following an attack in the Sheda area of Kwali.
FCT, States step-up security synergy
As a means to improve security across their domains, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, and neighbouring states stepped-up joint security operations to curb rising insecurity in Abuja.
The FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sunday Babaji, after a meeting, last week in Abuja, explained that the joint security operations with the neighbouring states is to take the attack to the enclaves of the terrorists mostly of adjoining states.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT, Anthony Ogunleye, Thursday, quoted Babaji as saying; “In order to enhance the provision of security in the nation’s capital, the FCT Administration has taken steps to re-invigorate the G7 security operations which involves security collaboration and partnerships with states that are contiguous to the Federal Capital Territory.
“According to the FCT CP, the re-invigoration of the G7 security operations will see the commencement of security actions and procedures by members of the G7, which will involve taking the fight to the bandits and terrorists in their camps which are mostly located in states bordering the FCT.
“The Police Commissioner, however, called for the collaboration and cooperation of residents of the FCT whom he urged to provide actionable and timely intelligence to the security agencies while also calling them to be security conscious at all times.”
The Senior Special Assistant on Security to the Minister, Ambassador Abu Mohammed, reiterated the readiness of the heads of security agencies in the neighbouring states to participate actively in the G7 operations.
The neighbouring states are Niger, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Benue and Plateau.