Abuja

How Abuja is fast becoming a capital of crime and criminalities

NEWS DIGEST – For anyone who hears about crime in Nigeria, he or she would have felt that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which is the administrative headquarters of the country would enjoy and experience some sanity.

Robert Harrison said: “The capital of a republic, should possess, and should exhibit to all sections of it, an ambience of beauty and safety.”

Abuja replaced Lagos as the capital of the Nigeria, after the creation of The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the 1980’s.  The increasing population of the city has been a major source of concern.

According to the United Nations, Abuja had grown in-terms of population by 139.7 per cent between 2000 and 2010, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The increase in population brought about satellite towns like Lugbe, Gwagwalada, Karu, Bwari, Kwali, Abaji and Kuje, to mention but a few.

As at 2016, the population of the metropolitan cities in Abuja is put at Six Million. Numbeo, a data platform has this about crime in Abuja as at January 2019.

Crime- 67.65%
Problem people using or dealing drugs -59.72
Problem property crimes such as vandalism and theft – 65.28
Problem violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery- 72.37
The United States embassy while lamenting the crime rate of Abuja in 2018, noted that:

“The Police lack of basic resources (communications equipment, vehicles, skilled leadership, training), requests for assistance by the diplomatic and expatriate communities typically require the provision of transportation/fuel to facilitate police response. Similarly, police investigators, while often well-intentioned, lack the training and resources to conduct effective investigations. As a result, criminals feel emboldened.”

When Sarah  (not real name) was attacked along Area 1, in Abuja, she was very devastated especially as all her gadgets were taken off her including her new laptop.

The popular host of a radio program in Abuja, Brekete Family, Ahmed Isah recently shared his experience of how some young men attacked his vehicle. He also lamented that he called a high-ranking military officer (who he failed to mention) and he was told that those who attacked him are children and should be left. He also described that a woman was attacked right in-front of him with injuries to account.

The tale is not just limited to a part of Abuja but is now a trending challenge in the area.

Findings by The News Digest newspaper shows that the increase in rate of theft especially a crime popularly called ‘One chance’ has become very prevalent in Abuja.

The criminals who operate most times in supposed commercial vehicles, stop to  convey you to your destination, only to attack you and rob  you of your properties, in most instances beating the victim to stupor.

A witness who does not want his name in the media narrated how a man was beaten in Lugbe area after his properties was taken off him.

“I witnessed a scene in Lugbe where a man was robbed and his properties taken, he was beaten to stupor and no one could help him because it has become a recurring decimal in the area,” he noted.

A journalist with (names withheld) at a conference shared an experience of how a friend was robbed at gunpoint in Abuja and pleaded for the Nigerian police to find a solution to the crime rates.

Findings show that areas such as Berger roundabout, Area 1, Lugbe, Area 3 and about all other major parts of Abuja have become very alarming.

Our investigations also show that while theft is an issue, the rate of kidnapping has become very rampant. A source who does not want his name in print mentioned that Kuje area has become dreaded due to high rate of kidnappings.

Sharing with this newspaper his experience, a motorist who was leaping and could not walk very well stated how he was almost killed in Area 1 of Abuja.

“I had gone down from my car which I use as a commercial vehicle. I came down around 6pm to urinate , I noticed that some young  boys were moving towards my car, so I quickly rushed towards the place, before I knew it, I saw knives being brandished, I was asked to drop all I have including the car key but I refused so they cut me severally”.

He also noted that motorists sped by as people have become very afraid of the crime rates and no one wants to help.

“I was bleeding and people refused to stop, I struggled to reach out for a screw driver in my pocket and I used it on one of them , luckily for me , a man stopped and with a high speed  and wanted to hit them with his car, so they fled.”

The motorist whose name  was simply Tunde stated that the thieves came back again and while the man who helped him was trying to take him to an hospital they regrouped, it was at that point that he took a cutlass he left in his booth ready to die.

“I took a cutlass because I did not want the man to be hurt, the way they operate, they have a clique and easily regroup for operations, I cut one of them , then people started gathering because I was shouting all along, that was how they left us and ran away” he noted.

CAUSES OF HIGH CRIME RATE
Apart from the fact that Abuja plays host to the Police Headquarters, the expectation in the city would be lesser crime but findings show that a police division in Abuja receives nothing less than three to five cases per day on “one chance”, that is those who make it to report at the police station.

Another prevalent crime is fraud.

Findings show that crime has become rampant in Abuja metropolis because of high number of destitute.

A security official who spoke under anonymity stated that most cases are caused by destitute who have nothing doing in Abuja but want to live up to the standard of the city and the fact that policing has become very inadequate for the Federal Capital Territory.

A sample of opinion shows that 7 out of every 10 residents would not risk staying outside after 7pm due to fear of attack from the men of the underworld.

Survey of areas show that even Maitama and other high-brow areas for the elites have been populated by criminals.

Other areas like Mabuchi-Gwarinpa, Jabi, Apo bridge according to findings are flash-points.
ABUJA RESIDENTS REACT
To Chris, it is alarming that even Abuja is suffering from high rate of crime and theft.

“Basically, when I heard about crime in Abuja, I did not believe it until my friend had an experience, he was robbed and till today he doesn’t move anyhow, even his stay in Abuja has been curbed to some extent.”

Another resident who doesn’t want to be named said: “I do not move out of my location once it is past 7pm, I do not allow my children to move too, it is very dangerous here and no one is doing a thing about it” the respondent noted.

POLICE REACTS
The Police Commissioner of the Federal capital Territory, Bala Ciroma while reacting stated that efforts are in top gear to curb excesses of criminals in Abuja.

He also denied that there is an increasing rate of crime in the Federal capital.