· Communities suffer weekly attacks
By Sarah NEGEDU
Communities of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, are bearing the brunt of bandits and kidnappers on a near-weekly basis even as the minister of the territory vows stiffer measures.
Badly affected are Guto, Kuchiko, Sokolo and Pitawe communities in Bwari area council, leaving residents in horror and fear for their lives.
Many of these residents have resorted to self-help to be able to continue to live in these communities.
Though just barely 4 kilometers radius from the council headquarters, the attacks in these communities have largely been under reported in the mainstream media.
Only last Tuesday, dare devil kidnappers, numbering over 20, allegedly stormed Sokolo community, after Veritas University, where they abducted 19 persons.
Unfortunately, 3 out of the victims were allegedly killed by their abductors following their failure to meet the ransom conditions.
Same week, a 67 year old man was abducted from his home in the Guto area of Bwari where the bandits also kidnapped two other victims. The aged victim was later killed after N2million ransom was allegedly paid to his abductors.
Kuchiko village which is close to the Nigerian Law School, has also had its share of the attacks. Gunmen invaded the popular El-Rufai Estate in the area on Saturday, September 2, where they abducted one resident, Mr. Chinedu.
The victim’s wife said the armed kidnappers forcefully took away her husband after breaking through the fence to gain entrance into their compound.
“They shot sporadically in the air to scare our neighbours before taking my husband away.”
Residents of Kuchiko Resettlement Development Area, KRDA, recently raised alarm over the incessant attacks and kidnapping in their community.
Chairman of the residents association, Mai-Baba Bego, told journalists that five people have been abducted in the last couple of months.
He said, “We now live in fear as nobody knows who the next victim would be.”
Some residents of the community told this reporter that they have no option but to resort to self-help.
A resident of Kuto Sabon Gari, Mr Sodehinde, told this reporter that the community have had to engage the services of local vigilante who they arm and provide bullets for.
“Bwari has been under serious attacks but unfortunately not much is said about it. I learnt 3 people died from the kidnapping after Veritas University and 16 people were kidnapped making a total of 19.
“Here in Kuto, we organise our own vigilante but they are not enough to withstand the strength of the bandits who come in their numbers. Most times they are over 20 and armed with AK47 guns shooting non-stop. How can our 4 or 5 vigilante withstand them with the 6 rounds of bullets we give them?
“The community has tried to hold them off but we are overwhelmed by these brazen kidnappers who don’t even bother to wear face mask. Most of them are young Fulani boys in their 20s.
“We hear the chairman has finally invited the area commander because Sokolo, which is close to his own village, was attacked. Let’s hope the police will find a lasting solution because we had a police post here before but the moment they policemen were withdrawn from this area that was when the attacks became regular.”
The chairman of Bwari Area Council, John Gabaya, broke the news of the kidnapping of 19 persons at a maiden meeting between the FCT minister, Nyesom Wike and the six area council chairmen.
The minister, who was miffed at the development, said he would summon the FCT Director of State Services as well as the Commissioner of Police to receive adequate briefings on the kidnap and facilitate rescue operations.
The minister, while stressing that security issues must be taken more seriously by the chairmen considering their proximity to the grassroots, directed them to constitute surveillance teams in their respective domains.
According to him, “Insecurity is a major problem all over and those of you who are outside the Municipality, you have to work hard. Information is key. The incident of kidnap you talked about, nobody has reported that to me.
“It is a serious issue and we need to call an emergency security meeting. I have to call the Director of SSS and the CP now to give me more details because it is every embarrassing to me. Though, I am happy you said the SSS official and the DPO in the affected council are informed and on the situation.”
Attempts to get the police reaction to these issues were unsuccessful, as the spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, Josephine Adeh, failed to respond to messages sent to her known mobile network.