Senator Ireti Kingibe, representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has accused the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, of ignoring her entreaties about the need for a decisive approach to end wave of kidnapping across the nation’s capital when the criminality was just beginning to rear its head. Speaking during an interview on Channels TV, the only Senator from the FCT expressed frustration that all her efforts were ignored as the Minister neither replied letters nor returned phone calls or Whatsapp messages. She also called for collaboration between the minister and the elected officials to address the root causes of the problem. The Senator lamented that she had been warning the minister about the security situation for a long time, but he did not take any action until it got out of hand.
“For my assessment and the way I have seen it, it has been building up for a while. I remember few months ago, I drew the attention of the minister when he came for appropriation. I drew his attention to the fact that security is priority and I have been saying that for a long time. It started up with the people of Mpape unable to sleep, dirt everywhere. Some months back, a girl that was accidentally thrown out of a taxi from one chance that she eventually died. All these things I drew his attention on, but nothing was done till it got to the point where we are. And I must commend the security for doing something when we started to scream, but the truth is that a bit earlier, I tried to draw their attention and I was told that it was exaggerated,” she said.
She also lamented the lack of communication and cooperation between the minister and the elected officials, saying that there is a big disconnect between them. She said that the minister is new in the territory and does not have the historical knowledge of the area, unlike the elected officials who have lived there for a long time.
“I know that these things are really happening. I have lived in the FCT since 1988 and I can see how insecure it has become. But there are some certain issues we need to address, things like employment, empowerment, abandoned buildings all over the place. The truth of the matter is that the minister is new in the territory. We are the ones who have historical knowledge of the whole area and it is imperative that we work together,” she said.
She added that she has never met the minister except when he came for appropriation, and that she has reached out to him several times, but he did not respond to her messages or letters. She said that the minister for some reasons thinks that Senator Aduda is still the senator of the FCT, unfortunately that is not true. She said that she has prepared to bombard the minister with letters when she goes back this time, since obviously just talking to him on the phone or sending messages is not working.
“I have WhatsApp messages, everything I sent to him. I have written him one or two letters. I don’t get any response and this is FCT. I am the highest elected official in the FCT, accountable to the people of FCT. And therefore, they bring their complaints to me and the person I have to convey to is the minister. He is the chief security officer of the federal territory and therefore in charge of security and must account to the people and me as to why these things are not being resolved,” she said.
On the root cause of the worsening state of insecurity in the FCT, Senator Ireti said that it should be tackled from many angles. She said that she believes it was the military that chased the kidnappers to the point of getting hold of them and handing them to the police, but that the military’s primary job is not really policing. She said that the borders coming into the FCT, like FCT-Nasarawa, FCT-Kaduna, FCT-Niger, need to have better monitoring, because that is how the terrorists and the bandits come from all these places.
She also said that there is a need to relocate the IDP camps that are located in the city centers, and to build them with perimeter fence and accesses. She said that there are so many unemployed young people who fall prey to the terrorists and the bandits, and that there is a need to look for empowerment programs for them.
She also said that the police force needs to be optimized, because right now, a lot of police officers are guarding VIPs, which is not their primary function. She said that they are supposed to be enforcing law and order, and that they should be available for community work and policing the streets of Abuja. She urged the minister to listen to the voices of the people and to work with the elected officials to find lasting solutions to the security challenges in the FCT.