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FCT in the throes of kidnappers, “one chance” robbers, bandits

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With the rise in cases of kidnapping, ritual killing, one chance robbers across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), residents in the city centre, area councils and surrounding suburbs have continued to live in fear of the unknown. AJUMA EDWINA AMEH writes on the deteriorating security situation in the FCT.

On April 14, 2022, a female youth corps member, Stephanie Se-ember Terungwa, serving in the FCT-Abuja was declared missing in a post by her uncle on Facebook. She was reported to have left home in her NYSC uniform to participate in a community development programme and was last seen in the Lokogoma area of the FCT.

However, almost two weeks after her disappearance, on April 27, Stephanie’s body was found in the highbrow area of Maitama, Abuja, in her NYSC khaki trousers, defaced beyond recognition, and with some of her vital parts removed by her killers.

In March, the traditional ruler of Bukpe community in Kwali area council, FCT, Hassan Shamidozhi, and four other persons were kidnapped by armed bandits. They demanded N20 million ransom for his release.

Persecondnews recalls that on March 24, residents of Chukuku community in Kuje Local Government Area of the FCT, barricaded the Kuje-Gwagwalada road over unrestrained kidnappings and abductions in the community.

The protest followed the raid on their community by armed kidnappers said to number over 20, who shot sporadically to scare the residents and kidnapped two men and a woman.

A resident estimated that more than 30 persons have been kidnapped in the area since January. He said one person was killed during a previous raid while farmers were also kidnapped from the field by some of the bandits.

The protesting residents were demanding the setting up of a military checkpoint along Chukuku road to Kwali, to ward off the kidnappers using the road as the entry point to commit notorious act.

Also, a pastor of ECWA Church, Rev Yohanna Joshua and two sons of the former Secretary of Kuje Area Council Local Education Authority, Danladi Bulus- Felix and Victor — were abducted Gudoji community in Kuje.

The above-mentioned cases are just a few out of the numerous cases of the insecurity situation bedeviling the FCT in the past months, with the suburbs being the hardest hit.

Another major issue of concern is the rising spate of ‘One Chance’ robberies in FCT. Even though the One-Chance is not a new phenomenon in FCT as It has been in existence for more than 10 years, its modus operandi has remained the same.

 

One-Chance red alert areas/routes, modus operandi in FCT

These criminals use both painted and unpainted commercial taxis to carry out their nefarious acts. Their main target are usually female commuters, as they believe they won’t give them much stress. They usually operate in the mornings and the evenings usually from 7p.m.

Checks by Persecondnews revealed that they mainly operate around the Federal Secretariat, Area One, Berger, NICON junction, UTC, Apo Roundabout, Life Camp Junction, AYA, Games village axis, with the Gwarimpa-Kubwa-Zuba expressway being their major point of operation.

Persecondnews gathered that the suspected robbers pose as commercial drivers and passengers in the vehicle. Sometimes they use a woman carrying a baby or one of them will wear the NYSC uniform to trick unsuspecting victims.

They usually wait till they get to less busy road before pouncing on their victims, who they beat, dispossess of their belongings, and in some cases stab them multiple times before pushing them out out of the moving car.

 

Residents live in fear

Persecondnews spoke to some residents of Pegi community, a resettlement area in Kuje Area Council FCT-Abuja, which has become one of the hot spots for kidnapping and banditry in the past few months.

They disclosed that even though they have set up vigilantes who patrol the community from night till morning, they still find it difficult it to sleep peacefully.

A retired civil servant, who declined to mention his name for security reasons, said he moved to Pegi community two years ago after building his house in the resettlement.

According to him, the resettlement and neighboring communities were very peaceful when he moved in, until about eight months ago when everything changed.

“I moved here about two years ago after I retired from civil service. I built my house here because I had plans to go into farming after retirement which I did. I have a big fish farm around here which I have been managing.

“This place used to be very peaceful, you can go out and come back at any time of the night, but all that has changed now. For the past eight months, you can’t wake up without hearing news of attacks and kidnaps by bandits.

“I can’t even go to my farm as regularly as I do before, because they kidnap people from their farms too. My friend who thought me everything I know about fish farming, and his son were kidnapped about nine months ago from his farm here in Kuje. His family paid N10 million for their release.

“We sleep, wake up and move in fear because we don’t know who their next victim may be,” he lamented.

Speaking to a resident of another community, Adagba community, Abaji Area Council of the FCT, which also suffers constant attacks by armed bandits, revealed that they are living at the mercy of these bandits and kidnappers who enter and leave the community at will, without any form of resistance from the inhabitants of the community.

The resident, Ayidu Adamilo, said they usually come in large numbers with sophisticated weapons, shooting sporadically into the air to scare people.

“They usually come in large numbers; usually about 30 and above, on motorcycles. They come at night to kill and kidnap people. In some cases, they steal food items and livestock.

“About two weeks ago, more than 50 of them came here, moved from house to house to rob people of money, motorcycles, livestock etc. They killed some people including a 9-year-old girl.

“They also kidnapped about six people, but have freed them. This is not the first time this is happening, we are tired of begging the government to come to our aid.

“As I’m talking to you right now, so many people have fled the community for safety, because you can’t stay in a place where you are not sure of being alive tomorrow,” Adamilo said.

 

The fear of “One Chance” by commuters

Commuters in the FCT move with the fear of ‘one chance’ robbers and ritual killers, as news of commuters being thrown out of moving vehicles, killed or wounded by these robbers make the rounds daily.

A victim, Favor Ogwuche, who narrated her ordeal in the hands of these daredevils to Persecondnews, said she boarded the vehicle from NICON junction to Kubwa, a suburb in FCT.

“I’m usually very careful when boarding vehicles for fear of entering One Chance, but little did I know I was about to fall a victim that faithful day.

“I left the office a bit late that day at about 6:30 pm. I spent more than 20 minutes at NICON junction trying to get a vehicle going to Kubwa. At about 7p.m, an Abuja-painted vehicle, green, stopped in front of me pointing towards Gwarimpa-Kubwa-Zuba axis.

” I told the driver Kubwa to be very sure he was going there and he asked me to enter.

“Before I entered the vehicle, I peeped inside to see the occupants. I saw a young guy kitted in the complete NYSC uniform sitting behind and a man holding a laptop bag sitting in front.

“I didn’t suspect anything because of the ‘youth corps member’ I saw. Immediately I entered, the driver said I should close the door that he will pick other passengers in the front and that he didn’t want to waste time there.

“He drove to the front a little and picked another passenger, a lady, from ministers hill junction. I shifted to the middle and the lady entered.

“The driver zoomed off shortly after. My mind was more at rest when I saw a lady, little did I know they were all working together.

“We had barely got to Katampe, when the guy wearing NYSC uniform brought out a knife and told me to cooperate with them or they will waste me and dump my corpse and nobody will find me.

” Before I could say anything, the lady slapped me twice and snatched my bag. The guy in front brought out a gun from the laptop bag and showed me. Everything was happening to fast that I was crying, confused and begging them not to kill me.

“They collected everything I had on me, my phones, money, laptop and my ATM cards. They asked for my ATM pin and I when I was reluctant to give them, the lady stabbed me on my right lap.

At this point I had not option than to give them because I was at the verge of losing my life. When they were done, they stopped at a lonely place before Dutse junction, quickly pushed me out, and zoomed off speedily.

“A good samaritan saw me by the roadside with my jeans soaked in blood and took me home. it was a terrible experience I can never forget. It’s been over eight months it happened, but anytime I see the scar on my lap, I feel like it happened yesterday.”

Miss. Ogwuche’s experience is one out of many by some commuters in FCT.

 

FCT Minister reacts to upsurge of crimes and parlous security situation

On April 11, 2022, The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammed Bello, raised an alarm over the upsurge of insecurity in the suburb areas of Abuja.

The Minister, who summoned an emergency security meeting with the heads of various security agencies across the FCT, said there was need to synergize to mitigate the invasion of miscreants and criminal elements into the capital city.

FCT Police Commissioner Sunday Babaji, who was present at the meeting, acknowledged the situation and stressed the need for residents to provide “actionable intelligence” to security agencies in their battle against criminalities and insecurity in the city.

“You know we cannot be everywhere and like the popular saying, ‘security is everybody’s business’, We expect the residents to always be security conscious, give us actionable intelligence which we will act upon,” Babaji said.

On the issue of ‘One Chance’, Babaji advised commuters to go to recognized motor parks within the city to board vehicles and not on the highways.

According to him, boarding unregistered commercial vehicles exposes them to “one chance”.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Security, Salihu Mohammed, said the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS) was also working hard to clamp down on unregistered commercial vehicles used for “one chance”.

“Directorate of Road Transport is doing a lot on the issue of “one chance”. We know the profile of ‘one chance’ vehicles, most of them are not registered or they use tinted glasses, ”Mohammed said.

 

Police reaction

FCT Police Command Public Relations Officer (PRO), DCP Josephine Adeh, in a telephone interview with Persecondnews, disclosed that CP Babaji Sunday, has created another tactical unit called Anti-One Chance to checkmate the activities of ‘one chance’ robbers.

“We have been on our toes on the issue of ‘one chance’. The commissioner of police FCT, has created another tactical unit called Anti One Chance, to get these people.

“The commissioner of police has also deployed some of these tactical teams to the motor parks. They have also been patrolling too and we are working on our intelligence gathering to clamp down on their activities.

“We advise residents to always board their vehicles in well-identified motor parks. Some of our intelligence operatives are also there watching all the activities in these motor parks without anyone knowing,” DCP Adeh said.

On insecurity in the suburbs of FCT, the police PRO disclosed that the police are working with other security agencies to clamp down on the activities of these kidnappers.

She said: “We have our intelligence gathering in the suburbs, who are working in synergy with other security agencies including the hunters because these hunters know the terrain.

“We have been raiding a lot of kidnappers’ camps with the help of the hunters and vigilantes.

“There are also other things we are doing that we cannot put out for security reasons.”

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