Authorities of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) say they have suspended Alhassan Musa, the Anagada community’s chief in Gwagwalada Area Council, for aiding kidnappers.
Ramatu Aliyu, the Minister of State for FCT, revealed the development at an emergency security meeting with traditional rulers and graded chiefs and chairpersons of the six area councils in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Musa’s suspension followed an intelligence report indicting him of complicity in insecurity ravaging his domain, Aliyu said.
Gwagwalada and other suburbs in the area council of the country’s administrative seat have become hotbeds for kidnapping in recent times, raising concerns about the peace once enjoyed in the region away from conflict-ravaging northwest and northeast regions.
Aliyu said it was regrettable that some paramount chiefs had become complicit in the crimes going on in the nation’s capital.
The minister assured that the administration would double down in ensuring high-level security in the FCT.
“We are gathering security reports indicting one of the royal fathers in Gwagwalada Area Council. I don’t know how it will end, but we must begin to look closely at ourselves or activities,” she said.
“Royal stools are now being bastardised by some traditional rulers. The security agencies in their reports indicted one of you, and we tried as much as possible to see how we can get to the bottom of the matter.”
She criticised the character behind criminality that often alludes to poverty as the root cause.
“It is not in our character, no matter the level of poverty to betray the trust bestowed on you as a traditional ruler and the custodian of our traditions. This will not be acceptable in the seat of government where Mr President is the Governor-General,” the Minister fumed.
“Go and discuss with your various village heads and give them a sound warning that those found wanting will not be spared. And no one has the right to accommodate total strangers or groups of people, especially now that we are facing challenges of insecurity.”
“You cannot accommodate strangers. The people you accommodate can betray you. The people you harbour in your communities can be informants or bandits. At the end of the day, we battle with insurgents,” she warned.
While Nigeria battles insecurity with decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in its northeastern region—now extending to the northwest, a thriving kidnapping industry is booming across the country.
Civil society groups have expressed worry about the country’s worsening insecurity, especially with the rise of violent crimes like banditry, kidnapping, and human rights abuses.
According to Azeez Olaniyan, the deputy director of the Institute of Peace and Governance, Ekiti State University, the increasing spate of insecurity in the country signposts its failure to protect its citizens with the upsurge of the unemployment rate.
He said most violent crimes are caused by unemployment, adding “there is a linkage between joblessness and criminal activities.”
Six years ago, when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, ending insecurity was one of his top plans, but many have expressed concerns about his handling of the situation as insecurity remains one of the significant challenges in Nigeria.
With the recent appointment of new service chiefs, the President has promised again to end insecurity in the country.