People in many communities in the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have continued to live in fear and agony because of constant attacks and abductions by bandits.
Even though most of the incidents have been reported by the media, a new trend where by the bandits force residents out of their communities around the seat of power is akin to some of the happenings in neighbouring Niger and Kaduna states.
- Bandits abduct Village Head in Kaduna, demand petrol, recharge cards as ransom
- Govt raises alarm over high influx of bandits
Before now, the bandits only stormed communities, steal food and other necessities and then abduct some people for ransom.
However, recent happenings suggest a new approach by the bandits which is more dangerous and deadly.
For instance, on April 23, 2022, not less than 2,000 people were displaced following an attack on Adagba community in Yaba ward of Abaji Area Council of the FCT.
The bandits, numbering over 1,000 and wielding sophisticated weapons, rode on motorcycles from the neighbouring Zago village in Niger State and went on rampage, killing a 23-year-old man, Nura Mai Gyada and abducted eight villagers, including a nine-year-old girl, Daraja Bature.
Daraja’s corpse was later found behind the Local Education Authority LEA (primary) in the community the next morning and later buried.
The Madaki Adagba, Adamu Wambai, who managed to escape through Gurara River alongside his family and slept inside the bush till the next day morning, said the bandits went away with 36 motorcycles.
Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the attack forced the entire villagers to desert their ancestral homes and seek refuge in neighbouring villages and towns where some of them have relatives.
Some of the villagers were forced to trek long distances with different types and sizes of luggage on their heads, while others chattered vehicles, including motorcycles, to move out some of their belongings.
Mohammed Yimabwa, a 53-year-old native of Adagba community, who was displaced as a result of the attack, told our reporter that he was forced to quickly move with his family to Yangoji in Kwali Area Council.
He said the situation was quite pathetic, adding that his 11 children and two wives are squatting with his relative in Yangoji, who provides them with food daily.
“In fact, there is no place like home. After we were displaced by bandits, life has not been easy,” he said.
Yimabwa said farming was his major occupation at Adagba, but he had been forced to abandon his farms and escape with his family.
He said he always slept on mats on the floor inside the room with his children while his wives were given a single to stay.
“There is no comfort here, but we have no alternative than to bear the situation since God spared our lives,” he said.
While appealing to the administration of the FCT to, as a matter urgency, deploy security operatives to the community so that he and his family would go back to their ancestral land, Yimabwa said his major concern was his farms.
“Here, I and my children wake up every morning to join my relative to his farm because he can’t accommodate us and still give us food without helping him,” he said.
Another Adagba resident displaced by the attack, Shuaibu Gwatana, who is currently taking refuge in Kwaita community in Kwali Area Council, said life isn’t comfortable for him and his family.
He said he, his wife and six children were forced to stay in a rented one-bedroom. He added that he occupied a four-bedroom flat in his hometown.
“It is quite unfortunate that I and my family were displaced by bandits and we have become strangers while my farm and other valuables were abandoned in the village,” he said.
Gwatana said it was the little money on him that he had been using to buy foodstuffs to feed his family since they were displaced by bandits in his community, Adagba.
“I pray that the government would, as a matter of sympathy, come to our aid by deploying security agents to the village to enable us go back and continue our farming activities,” he said.
Another displaced Adagba resident, who is currently taking refuge in Gwako community in Gwagwalada Area Council, Wokili Mohammed, who also has two wives and nine children, said life had not been the same for him and his family after the attack in his community.
He said that despite the fact that he and his family were given two rooms by one of his relatives at Gwako to stay, he was still not comfortable because he was forced to abandon his valuables, including farms.
He said, “I have food piled up inside my store in the village, but here I am with my family struggling to survive. You would wake up in the morning and start thinking of what your family would eat, before even talking of yourself. And I don’t want to continue to be a burden on someone.”
He also appealed to the government to provide security in the community to enable those who were displaced to go back home and continue with their farming activities.
Meanwhile, the Etsu of Yaba in Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, has called on the administration of the FCT to come to the aid of the displaced victims by providing them with relief materials.
Reacting to the situation, Abdullahi said many villagers from Adagba community were taking refuge at some neighbouring communities and within his chiefdom.
He said majority of the victims did not have access to good shelter and enough food, adding that the situation is quite worrisome.
The monarch also appealed to the FCT National Emergency Management Agency (FNEMA) to come to the aid of the displaced victims by supporting them with relief materials.
The Madaki Adagba community, Adamu Wambai, told our reporter that some of the displaced victims normally visited the community and their farms before going back to wherever they are taking refuge around 3pm.
“But I have asked some of my kinsmen to return back home as I have personally made arrangements with some vigilante people from Niger State, who always come to stay with us at night,” he said.
The incident prompted the FCT minister of state, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, to summon an emergency security meeting, which had representatives of various security agencies, religious organisations and traditional rulers. During the meeting, the minister blamed the attacks on some of communities in the territory on the failure of intelligence gathering.
She stressed the need for traditional rulers and other stakeholders to evolve new methods of tackling insecurity in the country’s capital.
“Despite all these, we are still having reports of people invading communities, especially in satellite towns where the terrains area difficult. Therefore, royal fathers should come up with new strategies that would put an end to this menace,” she said.
Reacting, the chairman of the council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, said security arrangements had since been put in place to ensure that those who were displaced would return back to their homes.