By Sumaila Ogbaje, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
From every indication, kidnapping is latest challenge facing security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory.
The surge in the activities of the criminals involved in kidnapping especially in and around Abuja heightened the existing fears among the residents and visitors to the territory in the last one month or thereabout.
It is no longer news that parts of the seat of power such as Bwari and even the city centre have recorded intermittent cases of kidnapping for couple weeks now.
The most prominent of the cases were the abduction of 19 persons from the Sagwari Estate Layout in Bwari Area Council, and the subsequent murder of Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar who was abducted alongside her five siblings.
Al-Kadriyar was a 400-level student of Biological Science at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,
Among others killed by the kidnappers is a 13-year-old Folashade Ariyo which sparked debates as to the management of our national security with some calling for the heads to roll among the heads of security agencies.
Security agencies insist that contrary to believe among some FCT residents that the challenge has overwhelmed the agencies they are equal to the task and taking concrete measures to restore normalcy and punish perpetrators.
For instance, the Police Command in FCT on Jan. 21, announced that its Anti-Kidnapping Squad rescued the victims of a kidnap incident at Zuma 1, Bwari.
It said the operation, which freed the victims, who were taken hostage on Jan. 2 was carried out in collaboration with troops of the Nigerian Army.
The Command in a statement signed by SP Josephine Adeh, its spokesperson, said: “The operatives successfully rescued the Victims around Kajuru forest in Kaduna state at about 11:30 pm on Jan. 20.’’
Also on Jan. 18, Operatives of the Police Command in Kaduna State rescued one victim kidnapped in Abuja and arrested one of the suspected kidnappers.
During the operation, which took place in the early hours of Jan. 18, personnel of the Command recovered three pistols and a Hilux van belonging to the victim in the early hours of Jan. 18.
ASP Mansur Hassan, the spokesman of the Command, said the victim, Segun Akinyemi of Block 10, flat 2 FCDA Quarters, Area 3, Garki Abuja, was abducted around 5p.m. on Jan. 16 by while leaving his home.
According to Hassan, on Jan. 18, operatives attached to Kawo Divisional Headquarters, Kaduna, received a distress call about a kidnapping incident from Abuja, indicating the culprits and their victim were transiting through Kaduna.
Their intervention led to the rescue of the victim and recovery of the items.
The military, though still battling with insurgency and banditry in different parts of the country, have also joined in the operation keep Abuja safe’.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, on Jan. 19, assured residents that the military were in partnership with other security agencies and stakeholders to haunt kidnap syndicates in FCT.
Buba said the troops had prioritised areas of kidnap incidents with increased ground and air surveillance.
He further said that technology had also been deployed to detect the hideouts and enclaves of kidnap gangs.
He said: “While troops probably do not have all the answers as at now, citizens should be rest assured that the armed forces are working relentlessly to address the hurtful situation.
“Additionally, troops are synergising with other security services and stakeholders to investigate and gather more intelligence on these kidnap gangs, particularly around the FCT.
“In the FCT and environs, some of the areas cleared include Kawu, Gaba, Dei-dei, Kubwa Hills, and Ushafa, Garam, Jibi, part of Zuma Rock in Niger State, and Gidan Dogo and Kuyeri/Kuyeri Hills in Kaduna State.
Buba also said the military had deployed its special forces to conduct targeted operations across the country as part of renewed response to tackle the menace of insurgency, kidnapping and other security threats.
The Air Force has not been left behind, having deployed its air firepower and sometimes providing aerial cover for land troops.
The air component of the special joint military taskforce “Operation Whirl Punch’’ neutralised a notorious terrorist and kidnap kingpin, “Janari’’ and several members of his syndicate on Saturday, according to spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, AVM Edward Gabkwet.
He said in Abuja on Sunday that Janari and his cohorts had been responsible for attacks and abductions within Kaduna State and on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.
He stated that the airstrikes were authorised and executed after Janari and his gang were sighted at a location near Gadar Katako in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Gabkwet also said that reconnaissance trips showed that the gang was massing up for a likely attack or kidnapping of vulnerable civilians, hence the need to immediately attack the location.
“Intelligence report received after the strike revealed that Janari was indeed eliminated alongside several other terrorists and kidnappers.
“Similar air strikes were also carried out on Saturday on confirmed terrorists and kidnappers’ hideouts near Chukuba in Niger with various degrees of success.
“Feedback after the strikes was also positive as it confirmed that the targets were neutralised and their mobility destroyed.
“Collaborative efforts by the NAF and other security agencies will continue across all locations suspected to be harbouring terrorists and kidnappers,’’ Gabkwet also said.
A security expert, Dr Abdullahi Jabi, attributed the rate of insecurity in the country to the prevailing economic hardship and unemployment among the youths.
Abdullahi said the economic situation was pushing more people into crime, urging government to do everything possible to improve the lives of Nigerians.
He also said that youth were increasingly becoming willing tools in the hands of criminals, who were brainwashing them into believing that criminality pays.
According to him, Federal Government must do everything possible to see how it can reduce the huge unemployment in the country and introduce more of social intervention schemes.
“Parents must also warn their wards seriously against being used particularly for kidnapping either as kidnappers or informants.
“There should be a resolution of the National Assembly and state assemblies to ensure that anybody suspected or anyone that is harbouring criminals should have their houses destroyed.
“Also, there should be no mercy for kidnappers, informants and terrorists. Those criminals should be given instant summary execution that will serve as deterrent to those who want to get involved.
“If these actions are not taken, we will continue to recycle this problem because the level of unemployment is unprecedented,’’ said Abdullahi who is also the Secretary-General, International Institute of Professional Security.
An expert in military studies, Dr Muhammed Abubakar, said that there was need to boost the capacity of ground troops, and maintain constant air and road patrols to effectively counter the activities of the criminals.
On the proposed installation of security surveillance systems by the federal government along Abuja- Kaduna expressway, the expert said the move could solve the problem of kidnappings on the axis.
To match words with actions, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, on Tuesday inaugurated an eighth-man committee for the provision and installation of security surveillance systems along Abuja-Kaduna highway and rail line.
However, the surveillance system will not achieve desired results if security agencies fail to respond swiftly to the intelligence they generate.
Security experts say one of the best ways of enhancing security is to develop synergy among security forces and the public.
It is incumbent on the government to explore ways of strengthening such a relationship. (NANFeatures)
**If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria.