The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, is currently experiencing a heightened sense of insecurity, with incidents of indiscriminate robberies and kidnappings affecting both the city center and its outskirts. This unsettling situation is dampening the atmosphere as the country prepares to celebrate its 63rd independence anniversary.
Concerned residents of the FCT have expressed alarm over the escalating rate of kidnapping and robbery within the city center. They have observed a significant lack of visible policing operations, pointing out that the FCT has become grossly under-policed.
It is not uncommon for motorists to drive along Ahmadu Bello Way, one of the city’s longest roads, without coming across a single police patrol. While the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Vehicle Inspection Officers conduct rapid patrols, they lack the authority to address criminal activities, as they are unarmed.
Recently, a journalist affiliated with a television station was forcefully abducted in front of the NNPC Towers, near the Conoil petrol station. She was subsequently taken to an undisclosed location, where her phone and personal belongings were stolen.
The growing insecurity in the seat of power has prompted the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to issue internal advisories to its staff. These advisories highlight red flag areas within the city, particularly at night, and provide general safety tips, such as boarding registered taxis and avoiding late evening or early morning trips.
Popular routes frequented by criminals have been identified, including Area 1 – Berger; Area 1 – Area 10; Area 1 – Lugbe; Apo Mechanic Village axis; Kubwa Express Way; Jabi axis; City Gate; Areas 1 under bridge and across; Area 2 Plaza Behind VIO Office area, and Zone 2.
Residents are increasingly concerned about the proliferation of insecurity, attributing it to rising unemployment and poverty rates. They urge security agencies and the FCT Administration to take urgent measures to protect residents from criminal activities.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has also voiced its deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in the FCT. The organization emphasizes that the safety and security of individuals are fundamental human rights that must be upheld by a responsible government.
HURIWA calls for swift and robust responses to the security challenges facing the FCT. It recommends a comprehensive review of security measures, increased visibility of law enforcement personnel, intelligence-driven operations, community engagement, and improved coordination among security agencies.
The FCT Police Command seeks to allay the fears of residents, urging them to continue with their lawful activities without fear. The Command emphasizes ongoing efforts to clamp down on criminal activities and encourages residents to report any suspicious activities through dedicated emergency lines.