Recently, apart from the abduction of nine civil servants, as well as a 12-year-old student in Pegi community in Kuje Area Council, Abaji Area Council has been the worst hit of attacks by these armed bandits who invade homes and abduct their victims at gun point.
In one of the recent attacks, an officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Suleiman Adamu and his two children – Balkisu and Ibrahim, were abducted after his residence in Naharati, Abaji Area Council, was invaded on June 5, 2020. The officer and his children were held captive for two weeks, until the sum of N4m was said to have been paid as ransom by the family before they were set free.
Also, a retired director at the FCT Agency for Mass Education, Mr. Shekwolo Anyinu, was shot on his hand after armed bandits also invaded his residence in Nuku village of Abaji Area Council and whisked away his wife Abgada Anyinu and daughter Favor Anyinu on January 7, 2020.
Few weeks after the attack, the bandits struck again and abducted four persons including the son of the chief Imam of the area, Umar Bala, until after a ransom was said to have paid before they regained their freedom. One of the wives of the Secretary for Local Education Authority (LEA) in Abaji, was also said to have been abducted early this year from their residence in Anguwar Kekeshi. A ransom was also said to have been paid before she regained freedom.
However, last week’s abduction of eight children of a retired director of the FCT Area Council Service Commission, Alhaji Attahiru Abdullahi Pandagi, was the worst in the history of abductions in the area. The attack threw the entire community into panic due to sporadic gun shots by the armed men, said to be in large numbers, who divided themselves into three groups before the kidnapping was carried out.
Also, Kwali Area Council has suffered several attacks in the last few weeks as the bandits mostly attack victims along Kwaita-Yebu Road, and whisk them into the bush.
One of the recent attacks was the killing of four persons including a vehicle conductor who were ambushed at Yambabu village of Kwali Area Council while returning from Kwali market. The bandits were said to have killed the conductor on the spot, while three others were abducted and taken to their camp and killed.
The traditional ruler of Rubochi, in Kuje Area Council, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Pasa, was also a victim. Armed bandits were said to have laid siege in his house in November 2019, and whisked him away. The monarch was later set free after a ransom of N6m was said to have been paid to the kidnappers.
He was held captive for five days by the kidnappers, despite one of his sons being inflicted with machete cuts by the bandits during the attack.
Few weeks after the attack, a younger brother to the former chairman of Kuje area council, Alhaji Mohammad Galadima, was also abducted from his house in Rubochi.
Also, two brothers, Alhaji Mohammad Mishebwa and Yunusa Mishebwa, were reported to have been abducted by armed bandits from a farm at Dobi village in Gwagwalada Area Council recently.
The bandits, according to the victims’ family, collected N4m before they were set free.
However, some residents who spoke to our reporter have expressed concern over the upsurge in cases of kidnappings across FCT, especially in rural communities of the satellite towns.
A resident of Kwali Area Council, Isyaku Ayuba, said the recent rise in kidnappings in the area has made farmers to abandon their farms over fear of being abducted.
He said rural farmers are now scared to go to their farms. “Those you see going to the farm go in groups while others farm close to their villages,” he said.
A traditional ruler, who preferred anonymity for security reasons, said the bad terrain of rural roads was responsible for increase in bandits’ attacks.
“In fact, there are some rural roads that even a motorcycle cannot ply and these kidnappers have taken such places as their hideout; where they keep their victims and demand for ransom,” he said.
He added that most of the forests in many communities where farmers cultivate their crops have been taken over by bandits, while calling on authorities concerned to, as a matter urgency, come to the aid of residents by providing more security.
A top civil servant, who preferred anonymity, said it was quite worrisome that the FCT, which is the centre of the nation, has been under siege by armed bandits.
He said the recent attack by kidnappers have forced many civil servants working outside the towns to remain at their work places, noting that there are informants who give useful information about people to the kidnappers.
“The only way to tackle this menace is to have intelligence officers who will go after the informants and arrest them. Doing so will reduce the rate of kidnapping in the FCT,” he said.
Reacting, the spokesman of the FCT Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manza, said the Police are not relenting in efforts to protect lives and property of residents.
He said the command has launched community policing across the six area councils where stakeholders and the communities will collaborate in giving useful information to the police to tackle kidnapping and other crimes in the territory.
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