By Chikelu Chinelo, Abuja
The National Association of Seadogs (NAS), Pyrates Confraternity, Sahara Deck, has raised alarm over increasing insecurity in the FCT and nationwide.
The association has also offered intelligence collaboration with security agencies in Abuja to help curb these criminal incidences.
Speaking at a press briefing, the Sahara Deck, Capoon, Victor Ofili, said top amongst the criminal activities witnessed in the FCT and across the country include, armed robbery, kidnapping, one chance and rape.
Crime hotspots in the FCT, he reveals include: Apo area, where kidnapping is on the rise; rape incidents in Kwali, Gwagwalada and Kuje areas; and the influx of one-chance taxi operations, green taxis inclusive, in and around the city center.
Referring to a report by This Day Newspaper, which estimated that in the year 2019 about 22 persons were killed in the FCT, and another 22 kidnapped, Ofili noted that those, in addition, to a list of crimes in the FCT reported by the media in 2020 are further proof to drive home the point.
He noted that contrary to the past when Nigerians living around and within the FCT thought themselves safe as a result of residing close to the nation’s capital, that feeling of safety has long disappeared. Security personnel, he lamented, are also victims, with large numbers of kidnapped persons, both civilians and security officials yet to be found.
Ofili, however, noted that the association is ready to partner with the FCT authorities in the area of intelligence sharing without cost to ensure that peace and security is maintained in Abuja and its surrounding environs.
Towards that end, the association called on the federal government and the FCT administration to collaborate to light up dark areas in the FCT and its environs; to make available accessible toll-free and responsive helplines for citizens to reach the police and other security agencies in emergency situations; to ensure continuous citizens awareness; ensure increased collaboration amongst security agencies, and carryout frequent security sweeps in identified criminal hotspots.
“We have our intelligence unit that scouts out information because our own safety is important. We travel a lot and when we hold our quarterly meetings we are from time-to-time we are briefed by the security arm of the association to either not follow a particular road or not to travel at a particular time. The information is based on the intelligence they gathered. So, we are open to collaborating with them on that.”
Highlighting the importance of street lighting, the Capoon noted that as taxpaying citizens, Nigerians are within their rights to demand for security. He enquired that in cases where citizens have to provide their own streetlighting, as was the case in a community in Life Camp, “then what role has government play?”
Responding to the media’s inquiry if the association’s collaboration capacity includes the provision of streetlighting in crime hotspots as the Radio House and the International Conference Center (ICC) intersection, Ofili said, while it has collaborated with government in the area of medical aid, the association is not taking up the government’s work.
“We don’t have that kind of financial muscle. We are not here to do the work of government. It is the responsibility of the FCT administration to ensure that our streets are properly lighted. We are here to parley with government. We cannot take up security. We have security experts in our association. And if in our collaboration, they seek the advice of our security experts, we can give them those security tips free-of-charge.”
Sahara Deck, First Mate, Olamide Oni said the association will further circulate its press brief to the FCT Police, the military and other security agencies on how best to tackle insecurity.
In a related event, the association has made good on its promises to provide a wheelchair for young Naim’a Sulema, an orphan at the Abuja Orphanage Home in Karu. Last week, the association had visited the orphanage, which is one of its adopted charities to celebrate the World Literacy Day. At the event, it promised to assume the financial payments for the procurement of West African Examination Council (WAEC) forms for the orphanage children in the graduating Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 3 classes; and in addition, provide a wheelchair for young Suleiman to enable her move around independently.
Presenting the wheelchair to Sulema, Sahara Deck’s Mr. Chiazor Odoemena, urged her to utilize the wheelchair to its highest capacity for her easy movement.