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Security tops agenda as new ministers get portfolios

·       Criminals on free reign in FCTA offices

By Sarah NEGEDU

As residents of the Federal Capital Territory await the appointment of new ministers especially that for the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, later in the week, there are calls for the incoming minister to tackle issue of insecurity head-on.

This, the residents believe, will not only engender a sense of safety and security, but will also encourage economic activities as businesses can only thrive in a safe and secured environment.

The nation’s capital has had its share of security challenges, especially in the satellite towns and border communities around Abaji, Bwari, Kuje and Gwagwalada, where issues of robbery, kidnapping and banditry are now common and rampant.

Activities of one-chance syndicates, vandalising of public infrastructure, carjacking, among others crimes, have been on the rise in the city center mostly due to the unfettered migration of people to the FCT.

Inspite of efforts and assurances from the FCT Police Command, rural communities in Abaji and Bwari are still being hit by kidnappers an on almost weekly basis.

Only two weeks ago, dare devil kidnappers invaded the Piyawe community in Bwari where they abducted three men from their homes.

Though the victims have since reunited with their families after payment of ransom, residents of the community say the incident is one in the series of attacks on the community.

In May, about 15 persons including a driver who works at the Federal Capital Territory Administration, were abducted by gunmen at the 1,000 Housing Estate along Pegi community in the Kuje Area Council.

Earlier in April, kidnappers invaded Kasada village in Gaube ward of Kuje Area Council, where they killed a class teacher and abducted his pregnant wife and five others.

Barely two days after that, the neighbouring Ggau village was also attacked and 13 people kidnapped in a late night operation.

Also, despite the plethora of security personnel around the Federal Capital Territory Administration Secretariat, the complex may not be completely secured or immune to activities of these criminals, as claims of car theft and offices being bulged have been reported.

Only last Thursday, three cars worth millions parked just beside the minister’s block were broken into and their brain boxes made away with.

The parking lot is beside the block housing the office of the FCT minister, permanent secretary and other top officials of the administration.

The security breach has sent fear among staff of the secretariat, as only a few weeks ago, some yet-to-be identified persons operated at the FCT Treasury Department where they went away with a laptop, phones and other gadgets.

Workers in the secretariat who do not want their names mentioned, confirmed that one of the burgled vehicles, a brand new, white Toyota Hilux truck with registration number, FCTA – 06L -13CT, belongs to the Director, Administration and Finance, at the FCT Education Secretariat.

“The robbers broke the back glass door of the new Hilux which belong to the director administration and finance, and entered inside and opened the driver’s door, they removed the brain box and other sensitive items from the vehicle.

“The robbers had few weeks ago burgled the FCT Treasury Department and took away a laptop belonging to a senior staff there. There was also an attempt to burgle my car about a week ago. As it is now, most of us are afraid of the incessant robbery in the secretariat,” said a staff who asked not to be named as she was not permitted to speak to the media.

No explanation was immediately rendered for the invasion and why it was not prevented by the contingent of security officers, especially those at the main entrance, close to the administrative block where the robbers invaded.

The director, Security department, FCT Administration, Adam Gwary, did not return request seeking his response on the robberies and thefts.

Spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, Josephine Adeh, also failed to response to several calls put to her known cell phone number as at the time of filing this report.

Residents are hopeful that a new administration presents an opportunity to address these security issues and put an end to the pervasive fear that has gripped them.

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