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A CITY ON EDGE: Abuja’s Kidnapping Crisis turns Nigeria’s capital into a city of fear, despair

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In the heart of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, fear grips the city, shattering the tranquility that once defined its streets. The emergence of a kidnapping epidemic has not only left its mark on the statistics but has etched heart-wrenching stories of loss, resilience, and the painful choices faced by families caught in the grip of this escalating crisis. Many lives had been forever altered by the ruthless actions of kidnappers.

 

The surge in Nigeria’s kidnapping industry is increasingly evident in Abuja, the capital, causing heightened fear among residents for their safety. Recent months have seen a notable increase in minor thefts, ‘One Chance’ robberies, armed robberies, and home break-ins, pointing to a rapid deterioration in the country’s security situation.

 

Moreso, according to the 2023 Nigeria Security Report by Beacon Consulting, an Abuja-based security risk management and intelligence consulting company, 749 Nigerians were killed in January; 624 in February; 961 in March; 707 in April; 679 in May; 854 in June; 552 in July; 638 in August; 581 in September and 1,127 in October.

 

Al-Kadriyar’s household : Painful death of Nabeeha

 

A poignant example occurred on January 5 when Mansoor Al-Kadriyar’s home in the Bwari area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was invaded. Kidnapped alongside six daughters, Mr. Al-Kadriyar later secured his release but faced a daunting demand of N50 Million ($35,336) for his children’s freedom. Tragically, Nabeeha, a 21-year-old final-year student at Ahmadu Bello University, lost her life when the family couldn’t meet the ransom. Despite the later payment, the other family members were eventually released.

 

 

Kidnapping causes a long-term rupture in the psyche of those kidnapped and of those who wait for their return. It doesn’t end.

 

Kidnappings Plague Dutse-Alhaji Area, 60 Million naira Ransom paid

 

In the Dutse-Alhaji area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a distressing incident unfolded as 11 individuals fell victim to kidnappers, reportedly armed and clad in military camouflage. Among those abducted was Folasade Ariyo, a 13-year-old girl taken alongside her mother and siblings. Despite her father, Oladosu Ariyo, a lawyer, raising N7 million of the initial N60 million demanded by the kidnappers, the tragic outcome was the loss of his daughter. Subsequently, the wife and other children were released following the complete payment of the ransom.

 

Over 30 million ransom at Kurudu Phase 2

 

Adding to the unsettling wave of kidnappings, gunmen invaded the Nigerian Army Estate at Kurudu Phase II in the FCT around 2200 hours on January 18. In this incident, two individuals, including the wife and an in-law of Barrister Cyril Adikwu, were kidnapped. The kidnappers, after the abduction, demanded a ransom exceeding N30 million for the release of the victims, intensifying the distressing situation in the region.

 

On the 28 of January, kidnappers abducted seven residents from Kuduru again, a neighboring community of Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory, have stipulated their demands. The hostages, comprising a pregnant woman, three children, and four adults, abducted on January 28, have spent over a month in captivity. The ransom sought amounts to N290 million, alongside a plea for foodstuffs and drugs to secure their release.

 

Kawu Abduction Update: Demand for motorcycles persists

 

On December 26, residents were kidnapped. Subsequent to this, on February 3, it was reported that the terrorists collected N8.5 million and released four of the 17 captives, which included a nurse from Kawu in the Bwari area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). However, the distressing situation continues as the kidnappers now demand two new Bajaj motorcycles to secure the freedom of the remaining eleven victims still in captivity.

 

It is important that gang members are aware that if they engage in aggravated assault, maiming, kidnapping, or manslaughter that they will receiving a minimum sentence of 30 years.

 

Travellers abducted along Kaduna – Abuja Highway

 

Bandits targeted travelers along the Abuja–Kaduna highway, kidnapping over 30 individuals at Dogon-Fili near Katari, along the Kaduna-Abuja highway in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Despite the audacity of these kidnappers, the government’s response to the escalating threat has been lacking, compelling residents to take extensive measures for their own safety.

The security deterioration in states neighboring the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), such as Kogi, Nasarawa, and Niger, has attracted bandit groups seeking new territories and wealthier victims, with the capital becoming a prime target. From 2019 to the end of 2023, kidnap attacks were concentrated in areas like Bwari, Kuje, Gwagwalada, and Kwali, with the latter two experiencing additional challenges such as armed robbery and pastoral conflicts.

Craftsmen in Peril: Juju musician, band members regain freedom

 

After enduring a four-day ordeal, Juju musician Omoba De Jombo Beats and his band members have been released following their kidnapping. The incident occurred as they were en route to Kogi after a performance in Abuja. Reports indicate that their freedom came at a steep price, with millions paid in ransom for their release.

 

Nightmarish Episode in Mpape

 

Gunmen, numbering about six, invaded Mpape district, killing four and burning a monarch’s house. The grim reality continued as two residents were kidnapped, prompting a swift police response. SP Josephine Adeh, spokesperson for the FCT police command, confirmed the incident, assuring that the kidnapped victims were rescued and would soon be reunited with their loved ones.

 

Nigeria’s kidnapping racket is a symptom of a failing state

 

Conclusion

 

As we reflect on the harrowing accounts of kidnappings in Abuja, we are confronted with a stark truth – lack of safety and insecurity is on the rise, leaving communities vulnerable and families shattered. The echoes of Nabeeha’s tragic demise, the anguish of parents desperately scraping together ransoms, and the persistent demand for motorcycles in the Kawu abduction all paint a poignant picture of a city grappling with its vulnerability.

 

The government’s response, or lack thereof, underscores the urgency of addressing this crisis head-on.

 

Abuja, once a symbol of governance and stability, now stands at a crossroads, demanding collective action to restore its promise of safety and protection for all its residents.

 

The stories of those affected serve as a call to action, urging society to unite against this menace and reclaim the sanctity of home and hearth in the face of adversity.

 

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