By Danladi Akilu
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT and indeed other parts of the country have been witnessing pockets of security challenges in recent times, ranging from kidnapping, armed banditry, armed robbery, car snatching, communal clashes and even the outright vandalism of public facilities.
Reports and explanations given by the relevant security agencies show that criminality and crime in the FCT is now taking a more sophisticated dimension with people using very disingenuous means to perpetrate crime and criminality in the territory.
For instance, there have been rising cases of carjacking from both car owners and even dealers by persons posing as mechanics, passers by or even buyers. Also on the increase are cases of some unscrupulous persons using private vehicles or even registered commercial taxis to rob unsuspecting passengers, a term popularly known as “one chance” in the FCT, apparently taking advantage of the restriction imposed on tricycle operations.
Added to these problems, are the recent incidences of kidnapping along the Kuje and Abaji axis of the FCT where scores of persons have been kidnapped and huge sums of money collected as ransom before their release. Those who have been unfortunate enough to not have the huge amounts being demanded have had to pay the ultimate price with their lives.
Much as there have been very strong emphasis on the need for all the relevant security agencies in the FCT to do their work with added vigour, it has become very clear that the FCT Administration and the security agencies, as city managers and security officials respectively, need to relook at the strategies for combating crime to be able to match this new level of sophisticated criminality.
It is in this light that the recent efforts by the FCTA in partnership with the Area Councils and the security agencies to come up with a more robust approach in tackling insecurity in the territory could be seen as a step in the right direction.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, having reviewed the security situation in the FCT with emphasis on emerging threats as well as efforts required to curtail them, had during the routine security meeting of the FCT Security Committee, directed that three syndicate teams be set up to tackle all forms of crimes and criminality in the FCT.
The three syndicate teams, on the orders of the FCT Minister, have been given the general tasks of identifying black spots, mapping out proactive measures, highlighting possible challenges and areas that require the intervention of the FCT Administration for effective action.
The first team (A), comprises of the representatives of the FCT Police Command, Department of State Services (DSS), the Military, Chairman of AMAC and Kuje Area Councils, FCT Security Services Department, the media and the FCT Traditional Council. This team as reliably gathered, will examine closely the serious crimes of banditry, kidnapping, vehicle snatching, armed robbery, insurgency and the policy on community policing.
A second team (B), according information made available, will look closely at traffic control and management, curbing traffic offences, regulating of bus/taxi parks, enforcement of the restriction order for tricycles and motorcycles. This team will be made up of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FCT VIO, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, FCT Security Services Department, FCT Police Command, the military as well as the Chairmen of Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Councils.
A third syndicate team (C), has been charged with the task of looking into the crimes of drug (abuse and peddling), human trafficking, illegal immigrants, prostitution and smuggling of illegal items. This team will have as members, representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigeria Correctional Services, Nigeria Customs Services, Nigeria Immigration Services, FCT Security Services Department, religious organizations, FCT Traditional Council and NAPTIP. All teams have been given 4 weeks to submit their reports at the next security committee meeting.
This recent approach by the FCTA, indeed, could be seen as a ray of light in the dark time of serious security challenges currently facing the territory.
Not only is it a novel approach, but it also has all the relevant security agencies, political and traditional institutions working together as a team, sharing intelligence information and preferring solutions to the problem of insecurity in the FCT.
On the part of the FCT residents, it is very important that we continue to partner and give maximum support to the FCT Administration and the Nigerian police, the military commands within Abuja and other paramilitary agencies that are charged with the security of the city, so that jointly, we will make the city more secure.
Every resident should consider himself or herself as a security officer. Whatever you see that is not normal, it is very necessary to report such to the security agencies. For instance, if one sees a vehicle or a taxi plying an area without number plates, definitely it is possible that such a vehicle is not registered and could be used to perpetrate crime. So, it is necessary to alert the security agencies through the hotline number of the FCT Call Centres or that of the police which are all available. These hotlines actually do work and citizens are encouraged to use them. If we all work jointly together, I think we are going to make Abuja a very safe place for us to do our work and live peacefully.
Danladi Akilu, wrote this piece from Durumi II District, Abuja