Nkire Marcus & Mark Blessing

There has been an upsurge of robbery cases in Abuja in the last few months. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), crime rate has tilted towards 65 percent and beyond.

This indicates that crime is on the increase. This statistics is perturbing. This alarming discovery gives credence to the lopsided operational measures in curbing crime in Nigeria.

Although the city centre is a point of attraction to those who have never visited the Centre of Unity, it is, however, under serious threat.

This beautiful city is fast loosing its uniqueness and attraction due to incessant crime activities within the city and its environs. The crime rate recorded has posed a concern to residents of Abuja.

Some of the devilish acts include theft, kidnap and pick-pocket. Ajuguri Manzah, spokesman of the FCT police command, confirmed the death of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Michael Akawu, in Gwagwalada.

He was allegedly shot at a supermarket by an unidentified gunman. He served as an assistant parish priest at Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.

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The authorities ostensibly perceived the incident as a robbery case. Police investigations have progressed. However, that has done little to douse the fear. Most devastating report is the terror that has dominated the minds of passengers, pedestrians and even transport workers.

Emmanuel Peters would have been a victim: “The other day, I stood at Area 3 junction waiting for a vehicle. I had to be vigilant and pray earnestly in my heart so I won’t use my hand to buy market I didn’t bargain for.

When I saw one lady in a vehicle I wanted to enter looking at me suspiciously, I quickly avoided such vehicle. Even ladies have become accomplices of this crime.”

Reports have shown that car owners are often attacked at isolated traffic light zones by unmasked armed men. A victim who pleaded that his identity be hidden said:

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“I was observing the traffic light when suddenly some men came out of nowhere and pointed a gun at me through my wound down windscreen. I was asked to get down with immediate alacrity. I was helpless; all I did was to run as fast as my legs could carry me.”

Another victim: “After collecting my salary that had been withheld by my boss in the past two months, I stood at Banex bridge to board a vehicle to Lugbe Airport Road. Suddenly a green golf taxi halted and I hopped in alongside with a lady who stood next to me at the junction.

“However, as soon as the vehicle motioned, I discovered there were others who claimed to be passengers seated next to us who exhibited strange dispositions. No sooner than when I noticed this disposition that the driver increased the volume of his radio set so loud that I had to beckon on him to reduce the volume. But he ignored me and started speaking slang incomprehensible to me.

“The next thing I felt was a knife held across my throat with a voice urging me and the other lady to surrender our bags. I surrendered my bag including my two months salary while the other lady hesitated to give her IPhone and end result was that she was stabbed in the stomach.

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“They dropped us by the round-about close to the National Hospital where we were helped by an oncoming vehicle after relating what happened.”

Another account was by Inyang John: “It happened at Berger on my way from work, around six to seven in the evening. There was lack of vehicles from Berger to Lugbe, so everyone was struggling to enter any vehicle. So my opportunity came with Toyota Sienna full of passengers. I struggled and manage to enter as there was only one seat left.

“On our way reaching the National Stadium, the driver diverted the  vehicle back to a road leading to Wuse. I asked
where we were going and before I could say Jack Robinson one of the gang members slapped me. I decided to turn
back and ask the person what happened but the next thing I saw was a gun pointed at me. I lost my phone, ATM card alongside with the bread I was holding.”

Inyang stressed that the ugly incident was not the first nor the second time such has happened to him. He urged the
government and security personnel to double-up their efforts and bring a lasting solution to the menace: “If there was adequate employment in the country for improved standard of living reverse would have been the case.”

A security consultant, Ofem Inyali, is advising the government, especially the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to install streetlights to illuminate the city centre.