From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Not long ago, robust nightlife was one of the attractions of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Then commercial sex workers, in particular, freely sold their wares all through the night, from one end of the city to another.
But things have changed. Insecurity has virtually shut down the once bubbly city. People now retire as early as possible out of fear. And the flesh traders and others are counting their losses.
Indeed, since July 5 when members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) bombed the Kuje Correctional Centre and released over 100 inmates, residents of the FCT have been living in fear.
Those mostly in Kwali, Abaji, Gwagwalada, Dei Dei, Madala and Zuba are apprehensive because they are surrounded by thick forests, where the bandits are reportedly coming from.
Gardens, plazas, markets, hotels, places of worship and commerical vehicle drivers close earlier than usual, for the fear of being attacked. Night crawlers, food vendors and commercial sex workers have been confined to their homes.
Landlords have resorted to self-help by raising their perimeter fence, fortified with razor wire. Also, some communities contribute money to hire vigilance groups to protect their areas, mostly at night.
Strange faces moving suspiciously are interrogated. Motorcycle riders are prevented from plying certain areas from 6pm. Social media messages of imminent attacks circulating on different groups are received with mixed feelings.
A trader at the Kabusa Market, Oge Emmanuel, said they used to sell till 10pm but they are now forced to close at 6pm.
“Nobody is safe. We used to sell till 10pm. But now we are compelled to shut down at 6pm. Failure to do so, attracts a fine,” she said.
Although the Federal Government had assured residents of its resolve to repel any attacks, with the claim that the situation was under control, residents are still in panicking.
The threat by the terrorists to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir El’Rufai of Kaduna State has heightened the anxiety. As early as 7pm, the roads begin to get scanty. Friends and family members are enveloped in fear when phone numbers of their relatives do not go through.
People are avoiding crowded areas like a plague for the fear of bomb blast. Those who spoke to Daily Sun described the assurance as a means to save face following endless shootings, kidnappings around the city centre.
Veritas University, Bwari, had to shutdown after men of the underworld sent a letter of their intention to visit. The bandits demanded a ransom for about 500 students ahead of the attack.
As part of its precautionary measure, the school’s public relations officer, Evelyn Obekpa, in a statement, said: “The Management of Veritas University wishes to notify the general public that the university has successfully completed the 2021/2022 academic session.
“However, due to the current security tension and the directives of the Minister of the FCT for the closure of schools in Abuja, examinations for our 100-level students shall be conducted at a date to be announced later.
“Candidates seeking admission into Veritas University for the 2022/2023 academic session are encouraged to visit the university or the university’s website, to obtain an admission form. All correspondences may be forwarded to the following emails.”
The Nigerian Law School in Bwari also followed suit by changing the venue of its call to bar event. Within the same period, heavy shootings were heard around Federal Government College (FGC) Kwali, Abuja, causing a pandemonium that led to parents evacuating their children
The director, press and public relations, Ministry of Education, Ben. Bem Goong, who confirmed the tragedy, noted that the minister in charge, Adamu Adamu, gave the directive for the closure of the school until further notice.
He said: “The closure became necessary following a security breach on Sheda and Lambata villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council, which also threatened FGC Kwali.
“According to the minister, the timely intervention of security agencies saved the situation.”
Bem Goong added that, “Adamu also directed that arrangements should be made for final year students to conclude their NECO examinations.”
Apparently piqued by the video of bandits terribly flogging kidnapped victims of the Kaduna-Abuja train victims, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wondered why the present administration would sit pretty comfortably and dish out excuses.
The PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Olugungba, at a press briefing in Abuja, said the figure of people killed by terrorists between 2020 and 2022 had risen to about 18,000.
Ologunagba said: “The party is deeply saddened, alarmed and distressed by the video of terrorists mercilessly flogging, inflicting grievous bodily harm and threatening to sell into slavery and kill traumatised victims of the bloody Abuja-Kaduna train attack, who have been held in captivity since March 28, exactly 120 days today.
“It is indeed heartbreaking to watch fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, helpless children, compatriots and citizens of Nigeria in captivity and being tortured, brutalized, humiliated and crying in pain, agony and anguish just because we have the misfortune of being under the APC government that has proven to be derelict, irresponsible, unconcerned and completely numb to the pains and sufferings of our citizens.
“Between 2020 and 2022, about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists who continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.”
Aligning with the PDP’s worries, some Senators drawn from different political parties gave President Buhari six weeks ultimatum to address the wave of kidnappings and killings or risk impeachment.
The senators had staged a walk out when the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, thwarted their efforts to raise the issue on the floor of the Senate chamber.
Angered by Lawan’s action, the minority leader, Philip Aduda, Muhammed Bulkachuwa, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Ahmmad Babba Kaita, Enyinnaya Abaribe and Utazi Chukwuma, among others staged a walk out.
Aduda who spoke to Senate press corps, decried the height of insecurity in the FCT. He said: “We also took into cognizance that the Senate at various fora, at various times and various meetings within which we recommended to government, various steps have been suggested aimed at cubbing this issue of insecurity but we have realised that even Abuja is no more safe.
“So at the closed session we agreed that we will give the President an ultimatum failing for which we will move to give an impeachment notice.
“This was our agreement at the executive session but when we came out the Senate President refused to inform the public of our resolution.
“Since that didn’t happen, we have come here in protest, to let Nigerians Know that we are with them.
“That we are worried so we staged a walkout from the chambers to register that the insecurity in Nigeria is out of hand and urgent steps need to be taken so that the issues are addressed immediately.
“We have come here to say that we have passed so many resolutions on security, we have given all the support and all the enabling appropriation that they need.”
Equally, the House of Representatives, joined the bandwagon and demanded an end to insecurity. Minority leader of the lower chamber, Ndudi Elumelu, who is representing Aniocha/ Oshimili Federal Constituency, Delta State, said the House had aligned with the Senate should he fail to address insecurity within six weeks.
Elumelu said: “They (Senate) have given six to eight weeks for Mr. President to address the insecurity that is, of course, affecting this nation, and I want to also join on behalf of my colleagues to also say that upon the expiration, we will proffer ways of ensuring that we will gather all the signatures.”
He clarified that decision cut across political parties and that it was in the internet of the country.
“And let me make it clear. Those who are thinking that it is only the issue of PDP or the minority caucus, no. Many of our colleagues under the bipartisanship are affected. Many of them are affected.
“So, they may not be speaking but we may be speaking for them. And when the time comes. I heard somebody this morning saying it is a laughable attempt to want do that.
“Perhaps, when the action starts, the person will find out that it’s not a laughable action. It’s real and we will not stand to allow this nation collapse.
“We think that it is high time the insecurity of this nation is addressed. And of course, we also have the issue of oil theft which has risen, now making it difficult for us to earn income from oil revenue.
“And these and many others are the reasons we are joining our colleagues in the Senate to ask Mr. President to address the insecurity of this nation within six and eight weeks.
“Otherwise, we will find the constitutional means to ensure that we serve him an impeachment notice.”
He concluded that the directive by the Minister of the FCT, Mohammad Bello, that private schools should close, signified that there is insecurity in Abuja.
“Why should the FCT minister direct private school to close? This in effect gives a signal that Abuja is not safe,” he said.
Your email address will not be published.
By Doris Obinna The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given Garki Hospital, Abuja, a pass mark over…
Follow us on social media: