More than 200 violent attacks have occurred across all six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) since President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29, 2023.
These incidents resulted in the death of at least 87 FCT residents, with 176 persons kidnapped within the seven-month period, according to Beacon Consulting, a local firm monitoring security issues.
“The FCT is grappling with a concerning surge in banditry and kidnapping , causing anxiety among residents and authorities. The once-considered relatively immune capital is now experiencing an escalating wave of criminal activities, particularly kidnapping,” said the report.
These incidents are widespread in various locations within Abuja, including Gwagwalada, Kuje, Lugbe, Pegi, Abaji, Keti, Bwari and Kwali. Of concern is how the criminals operate with impunity.
Mapping Major Incidents
Notable incidents over the past seven months include the abduction of the Al-Kadriyar sisters in the Bwari area of Abuja on January 5, 2024. The sisters were abducted alongside their father and some other residents of the community. The bandits reportedly killed one of the sisters, Najeebah after their demands were not met.
Fortunately, the five surviving sisters regained freedom on Saturday night, January 20.
An uncle to the girls, Kabiru Aminu, disclosed the news of their release, in a video on his X handle @kabiru_aminu, showing the sisters and their relatives jubilating.
At the time of filing this report, The Explainer could not independently verify whether the girls were rescued by security operatives or were released after meeting the ransom demands of the kidnappers.
Residents of Kurudu area in the FCT are still in shock following the abduction of the wife and in-laws of a lawyer, Cyril Adikwu on Thursday, January 18, at the Nigerian Army Post Housing Scheme.
This was immediately followed by the abduction of another resident Abdullahi Sabo in Sabon-Lugbe, Airport Road.
It was gathered that Sabo was driving in his Ash color Lexus Jeep with registration number ABC 769 TP when his abductors opened fire and deflated the tires.
Armed men reportedly abducted 12 residents from another estate in the Bwari area of Abuja on January 7, 2024. On December 12, 2023, 23 residents of the Dei-Dei community in the Bwari area were also abducted.
Following the outcry, Inspector-General of Police Olukayode Egbetokun launched the Special Intervention Squad (SIS) in the FCT to curb the activities of kidnappers and bandits.
The SIS, tasked with patrolling and securing border communities has commenced operations across the FCT and border towns, villages, and hamlets.
“SIS would be stationed at borders and move in and out of the FCT to apprehend criminals disturbing the peace,” said FCT SIS Commander, Bennett Igwe.
Meanwhile, the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike has also directed the FCT Commissioner of Police to establish two new divisional police stations in Gwagwalada.
Wike, during a security town hall meeting, reiterated his commitment to enhance security in the nation’s capital.
Human Rights Activist Faults FCT Minister
A human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju has attributed the rise in insecurity to the displacement of vulnerable persons and destruction of their livelihoods, criticizing the FCT Minister for neglecting the marginalised population.
The convener of Concerned Nigerians said, “rather than adequately relocating these individuals and providing them with alternative means of sustenance, the minister has callously sent them to the streets, exacerbating the desperation and criminal activities in the city.”