The recent attacks on commuters along the Abuja/Kaduna expressway, has raised an awareness of unusual dangers in the suburbs of the capital city. TARKAA DAVID in this report, writes on the daily experiences of these dangers by road users.
It was a shocking Monday, when residents of the FCT and it’s environs, woke to the news that several people had been ambushed and killed along the FCT -Kaduna expressway.
The death toll included a professor and former commissioner of education, a three-year-old girl and her mother and senior police officer among several other unidentified fellows.
The attacks have also recorded several abductions and left commuters scared of the road, which is a major link from the South and East of Nigeria to the North Central.
LEADERSHIP Friday findings reveal a deeply embedded fear among the city residents, citizens and commuters as there is hardly a time one is spared the gory details of individuals being hacked to death or dropped off by criminals.
Some of the people, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday, highlighted some flashpoints for the attacks and the criminals’ modus operandi.
Narrating his ordeal, Lawrence Anyanwu said he was attacked around Zuba over head bridge, while returning from Kaduna around 8.00 pm.
Lawrence recalled that his attacker, had approached him from behind after calling out to him several times. He siad, when he stopped to listen to him, his assailant asked him what the time was and just as he was about to tell him, he brought out a dagger and asked him to surrender or be killed.
Recounting his experience,
Lawrence said, “Zuba, which is usually rowdy, during the day, was dead quiet and there was nobody around to help me out except God that came through with the wisdom to attack and run.”
“Two weeks back, I was returning from Kaduna. I alighted the vehicle in Zuba, the place was dead quiet so I opted to cross the express rather than climbing the bridge.
“Just when I crossed the first lane, a young man called me three times, he didn’t call me by name anyway, but I knew I was the one so I stopped to listen to him.
“He approached me and asked what the time was because I was holding my phone in hand, when I told him what the time was, he brought out a dagger and asked me to hand over my phone but instinctively, I attacked instead, pushed him into the gutter and ran across to safety,” he said
He said though there is a police station close by, the police were not around when the incident happened.
Another resident, Emmanuel Omo, who narrated an encounter of his friend with a gang of hoodlums, said she had boarded a vehicle early morning to town but was robbed and dropped off.
He said the guys, who put her in between them, beat her up and collected all her belongings, both money and jewelries and left her in the middle of nowhere.
Emmanuel said the most reported period for their operations are between 4.30 am to 5.00am, when police leave their duty posts for others to takeover.
But one begins to wonder if the police should leave their post before the people to relieve them come, but the answer remains with the police hierarchy and the government.
In a related development, Emmanuel said that the gangs now take their victims to the ATM to withdraw cash.
He noted that, his friend who set out some days ago for work, entered the vehicle heading to the city centre, thinking he was in a commercial vehicle but behold, he was asked to bring his ATM and password and one of the robbers took the card to the machine and withdrew the money.
He said the robbers however, did not touch him but removed his SIM card and also gave him N200 and left with the phone.
He added that even though the case had been reported to the police, no success had been made.
Desmond Jas, speaking on the rate of crimes on Abuja routes said there are many black spots that are considered as no go areas at night.
Citing Gwagwa for example, Jas said there are numerous spots where hoodlums hide to smoke and take all kinds of hard substances, which influences their action against passers by.
He stated that in a bid to get more substances, they resort to bag snatching and physical attack on unsuspecting victims.
He noted that the criminals in these areas, disguise in the day as motor park touts smoking and consuming all sorts of hard substances and later engage in theft- breaking and entry and robbery.
He called on the government to sanitise the areas by clearing those areas used as safe haven for criminals, adding that such places are not hidden.
Corroborating the account of Jas on the activities of motor park boys, Aliyu Ahmed said he was at the popular Berger round about to pick someone coming into the city to visit and his phone was snatched right in front of the crowd and no one assisted him to recover it from the criminals.
Ahmed said he was on the phone talking to his visitor when someone came from nowhere, snatched the phone and ran into the bush, adding that even the so-called tout, who were around, never cared to chase after the criminal, which raised his suspicion of the guys being involved.
He noted that, though he was told of tales around some certain bus stops in Abuja and its environ being flashpoints for car snatching, bag snatching and others, he never believed until it happened to him.
He noted that even the police around could not help recover his phone even though they seemed to understand the modus operandi of the criminals, adding that their inability to recover his phone increased his fear for the weaker sex, especially women as even the police have no power over criminal elements in a place as popular as Berger round about.
Yeni Ajai, said his brother was attacked around the National Hospital, Abuja and stabbed several times while returning from work at night.
Ajai said the hoodlums stabbed and stripped him of all his possessions and left him in the pool of his blood only to be saved by a Good Samaritan who was passing by and saw him.
He said if the guys could be operating for long without being apprehended, it is a sign that the security of the people is not guaranteed, whether at night or during the day.
LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that places notorious for one-chance include the Kubwa expressway while Apo bridge, Mabushi bridge, Mpape junction, Area one and three junctions, Berger round about are flashpoints for robberys.
Others include Zuba over head bridge, which is described as a danger zone for loners at night, phase 3 junction, Arab junction, Giri junction and others.
The federal capital territory (FCT) command, in a statement signed by DSP Anjuguri Manzah, Police Public Relations Officer, Abuja, released numbers to the public for complaints and possible ways to arrest the culprits.
He stated that proactive crime fighting measures have been deployed by the Command to protect lives and property across all parts of the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the FCT Police Command had arrested some notorious suspects who specialise in lurking at black spots to rob phones and other valuables from their victims.
According to him, the suspects were arrested during separate police operations at Arewa Junction and Wuse market.
He further stated that all the suspects reside in the neighbouring Nasarawa State, adding that the suspects were arrested at the canal after their attempt to escape with a phone was foiled by eagle-eyed police operatives.
He further stated that the police operatives attached to Wuse Division had, on Tuesday, arrested a suspect for stealing a phone and a victim came up to identify him as one of the three persons who used dangerous weapons to inflict injury on him before robbing him of his phone and the cash sum of N4000.
“The Commissioner of Police (FCT), CP Bala Ciroma, has assured members of the public that proactive crime fighting measures have been deployed by the Command to protect lives and property across all parts of the Federal Capital Territory.
“In case of distress, the CP enjoined members of the public to contact the Command Control Room on the following emergency helplines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653 and 08028940883.
If the guys could be operating for long without been apprehended, it is a sign that the security of the people is not guaranteed, whether at night or during the day.
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