In recent times, residents of Abuja suburbs have experienced an upsurge in kidnappings, bandits’ attacks and robberies. Daily Trust on Sunday throws spotlight on the situation and experience of victims among others.
Residents of the FCT, especially those in the suburbs, had heaved a sigh of relief these past few months without reported cases of crime, especially kidnappings which was almost dying down, while some of them had thanked God that they can now sleep with their two eyes closed and also go to their farms without fear of being molested or kidnapped.
However, their joy seems to be short-lived as kidnap cases are gradually springing up again in the FCT suburbs.
The Kwali Area Council chairman, Hon. Danladi Chiya, corroborated this when he visited Yewuti village, hometown of the former vice chairman of the council, Alhaji Zubairu Jibrin Yewuti, to sympathize with families of those who were abducted recently. He was shocked to discover that kidnappings, which had died down in the area councils, have suddenly resurfaced.
Residents of these rural communities who have suffered incessant kidnappings are mostly those residing in Kuje Area Council of the FCT, which has over 400 villages with bad terrains covering mountains and hills.
However, some residents of Chitumu, Shanagu and Ikwa communities in Gwagwalada Area Council witnessed pockets of attacks by kidnappers who invaded the communities, killing one person and abducting some villagers, including a cattle dealer alongside his children a month ago.
Recently, there’s been tension across some Abuja suburbs as kidnappers have resurfaced again, raiding seven FCT communities within three weeks and abducting scores of villagers.
The kidnappers’ invasion led to the killing of a class teacher with the Local Education Authority LEA Primary School, Gaube in Kuje Area Council, Musa Abari, while the deceased teacher’s pregnant wife, Mrs Hulaira Musa, was abducted.
Mrs Hulaira Musa, our reporter learnt, is still in captivity, with her abductors demanding for N10 million ransom before she will be set free. Five other villagers were abducted alongside the pregnant woman, and their abductors are also demanding for N2m each from the families of the five victims.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that some of the communities raided within three weeks by the kidnappers include Godoji, Shazyi, Kiyi, Gbau, Kusaki, Pavu, Sauka extension as well as Anguwar Gede extension which are all under Kuje area council.
Apart from the above rural communities, the kidnappers were reported to have also invaded Cheti village in Kabusa ward of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), in which some residents were abducted within the same week.
These attacks by the kidnappers, according to residents, have created serious fear and apprehension among residents, forcing some of them to relocate to Kuje town to stay with relatives.
A resident of Kiyi in Kuje Area Council, Barnabas Isaac, said that kidnappers invaded the community twice last week and abducted some residents.
Besides, 16 villagers were reported to have been abducted by kidnappers who invaded Gaiye village in Kwaku ward still in Kuje Area Council.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that kidnappers again invaded Yewuti village, hometown of the immediate former vice chairman of Kwali area council, Alhaji Zubairu Jibrin Yewuti, and abducted 29 residents comprising of women, children and adults. All these kidnappings happened within the month of April 2023 alone.
The kidnap of 29 villagers which occurred on April 24, 2023 could be said to be the worst in the cases of abduction across FCT rural communities. Two persons who sustained gun shot wounds are still undergoing treatment in the hospital.
The chairman of Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, bitterly expressed concern over the resurfacing of kidnapping in his council when he visited Yewuti village where 29 villagers were abducted on April 24, 2023.
“Speaking to newsmen during the visit, he said “I am in pains; I want to appeal to the FCT minister to come to my aid and rescue my people who were abducted in Yewuti village.
“At least, before now, the reported cases of kidnapping in Kwali area council had gone down to some minimal level, until recently when we started receiving reports of kidnap incidents in Chida village, where the village chief and his subjects were abducted two weeks ago,” he said.
He further said “This is barely two weeks and some days since the village head of Chida in Wako ward 9 and some of his subjects were abducted. All efforts to rescue them up till this moment have proved abortive,” the chairman said.
The council chairman added “Information reaching us now is that the 29 abducted victims were taken to the same place where they normally take their victims to in Sadauna Forest which shares boundary with Toto LGA of Nasarawa State and Kogi. We don’t have arms to go after them, which is why I am crying to the minister to come to my aid,” he said.
Before the kidnap of the 29 persons, there were other reported cases of abduction including that of a wife of the village chief of Bukpe, in Kwali Area Council, Mrs Sadiya Shamdozhi, alongside his children – Hamisu and Osama, who were abducted when kidnappers invaded the monarch’s private residence at Bukpe on February 6, 2023.
The monarch’s wife, Sadiya, and his two children were freed after ten weeks in captivity, with N2.5m ransom reportedly paid to their abductors.
Some community leaders in the affected suburbs have attributed the upsurge in kidnap incidents to the ongoing mining in some rural communities of AMAC and Kuje area councils of the FCT.
A community leader, Barnabas Ishaya, who spoke with our reporter, said the presence of strangers who are into mining in the rural areas attracts the attention of kidnappers.
“In my opinion, the re-emergence of kidnapping in some FCT villages, especially in Kuje and AMAC, is as a result of mining taking place in the hinterlands where even you cannot access. Some of these miners run errands for the kidnappers. They help them buy food stuff and drugs in town, and if they refused to go, they will force them to leave the place,” Ishaya claimed.
A second-class traditional ruler in the FCT, who preferred not to be named for security reasons, attributed the recent upsurge in kidnapping across Abuja suburbs to the deplorable state of some roads, saying “there are some roads that even to use motorcycle is a serious problem, and these are the kind of terrains most of these kidnappers use as their hideout,” he said.
He also attributed lack of support through equipping the local vigilante by the relevant authorities to the rise of kidnapping in the area. “I was part of the security meeting that always took place with the minister where I always emphasize the need to equip our local vigilantes but up till now, most of the vigilante have no equipment that will enable them to go after these kidnappers,” he said.
He further said why kidnapping still persist was due to lack of zeal by relevant security agents to go after kidnappers’ informants, saying informants posed more threat than the kidnappers.
However, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the FCT security committee, which is usually chaired by the FCT minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, had at last week’s security meeting, said plans have since been put in place to secure lives and property of both residents of Abuja and its environs.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Security Committee has assured residents of the nation’s capital of adequate security arrangements for the safety of their lives and property.
But a statement issued by the director, Information and Communication to the FCT minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule, during last week’s security meeting and made available to newsmen, urged the security operatives to intensify surveillance in and around the territory to ensure that all forms of crimes and criminality are nipped in the bud.
The statement, however, noted some security infractions, particularly cases of kidnapping in rural areas, and appealed to residents of such communities to volunteer useful information to the security agencies.
However, the spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, DSP Adeh Josephine, was yet to react to the kidnap incidents as at the time of filing this report.