By Stanley Onyekwere
Mixed reactionshave greeted the directive by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, to all the six area council chairmen in the Territory to begin the registration of all aliens in their respective domains.
Peoples Daily reports that the minister who gave the directive last week, during an enlarged security meeting of the FCTA, in Life Camp, Abuja, to review the security situation in the FCT, also instructed the Councils chairmen that they are required to do so in conjunction with officials of the Nigerian Immigration Services.
This followed his earlier directive for the strengthening of security at all shopping malls and markets in the FCT particularly in the metropolis, prior to the explosion that rocked the corridor of the EMAB shopping Plaza, in Wuse II, rarely forth night ago.
Authorities say the casualty figure fromthe latest attack, barely two months after two explosions rocked the city has risen to 24, following the death of three more victims on admission in hospitals.
Also, as part of the preventive measures, the ownership and management of the plazas are also required to cooperate fully with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and other agencies to checkmate hawking around the shopping centres especially in areas that are considered soft targets for terrorist attacks.
Some residents who spoke to Peoples Daily expressed divergent views on the minister’s directive; while many say it was long overdue given the deteriorating state of security in the capital city, some were skeptic of the move.
One Ugomma Okere, residing at Jabi, Utako District, who commended the minister for given the directive, said the current insecurity in the country, particularly the nation’s capital required such drastic measure.
She said the directive if adhered to diligently by the Councils chairmen would help the grass root government to have complete knowledge about aliens amongst their people.
“The minister has shown that he is serious about tackling the insecurity ravaging the city, starting with the process of identifying some aliens living in the Territory, especially in its suburbs and rural areas.
“These aliens are everywhere, and most of them are living here without proper means of identification on them, especially our brothers from neighbours like Niger, Benin and Chad, including Cameroun”, Okere said.
Another resident, Ayodele Balogun, said even before the recent bombings in the city, the government should had commenced the registration of people living in the FCT especially the aliens, saying it was long overdue for the sake of security.
Balogun said that he appreciates the minister’s courage in not leaving no stone unturned in addressing the current insecurity in the land.
“In advanced countries even in most Africa countries, aliens are subjected to registration and proper documentation with the authorities irrespective of where they are coming from, but in Nigeria we don’t seemed to care about knowing who these people are”, he said.
Similarly, Isaac Emma, of Gwarinpa estate, said that it was a directive that should be acted upon, whether or not it would affect some interests, this our land, and whoever wants live here must be willing to properly identify his or herself.
He advised that people should try to ignore the politics and see the fact that the chief administrator of the FCT has made a pronouncement that has to be obeyed.
According to him; “it’s not as if it was the FCT minister who should give directive to elected public office holders to do the needful, so I do not see Chairmen disregarding the order. After all, we are affected by the insecurity in the land.”
However, Musa Kabiru, who expressed his fear over the development, said it may give room for the maltreatment of people from the not, giving their resemblance with some aliens from countries like Chad and Niger.
He said although that change was the only constant thing in life, but it just seemed to be happening in the FCT.
“What I am concerned about and fear now is how the directive would be followed up without unleashing terror on people because of our similarities in terms of cultural dispositions.
“We should be expecting news of some of us being subjected to humiliating checks merely because of our similar looks with some of the aliens from chad, Niger and other places; and that’s what the government should know.
He agreed that the current security problem in the country especially in the FCT demanded drastic measures be taken, in order to resolve it, only that the government must ensure proper handling of the situation, to avoid creating another problem in the way.
On his part, Uche Ibeh, of Asokoro District, advised the FCT minister, to ensurethat the Chairmen adhered to his instruction for them to work with in conjunction with officials of the Nigerian Immigration Services, in order to avoid being accused of the same thing the Imo state is facing.
He said that the minister’s directive however, was as a result of the need for efficient identification of foreign nationals residing in the FCT, which was part of due process obtainable anywhere.