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Rise of violent crimes in Abuja

“When they yanked my earringoff my ear, I felt the pain in my head and down to the rest of my body. I didn’t think…

“When they yanked my earringoff my ear, I felt the pain in my head and down to the rest of my body. I didn’t think I was still alive as blood from the wound dripped down the rest of my body. But the pain was unbearable enough for me to beg them to let me take the other one off by myself and hand it over to them. They took my handbag and abandoned the car at some point when they couldn’t operate it.”
This is the narrative of Rosemary (not real name) who was attacked about two weeks ago in Maitama in daylight. Four days after this incident, her eyelids and face were still doubled in size and blood shot from the beatings the robbers had given her.
At Dawaki Extension junction, YakubuBindu’s car was snatched at gunpoint on his way to work at 7.10am. 
LilianEso chartered a taxi from Kado Estate to UtakoMarket. But rather than go up the Mabushi-KadoBridge, the driver went in the direction of Life Camp. She remembered that whilecomplaining about this, the taxi driver threw a powdery substance over her face. About an hour or so later, she was awoken by water poured over her in Karmo Market. She was told she had been thrown out of a moving taxi.
In recent times, there have been complains about such crimes in the FCT with residents feeling less secure to go about their normal businesses.
“Before we were scared to go out at night because those were the hours they operated. But now, even in daylight, it doesn’t feel any safer,” said BunmiOkosun, a Dutse resident. 
In the same light Gibson Ikobi, a plumber, said: “I didn’t used to allow my wife go out alone in the evenings, but what I see now is that even us (men) are at risk of being attacked if our timing and location are wrong. It reduced sometime ago but it now seems to be increasing, the DakiBiyu resident said.
Although 31 percent of respondents to online polls carried out by Daily Trust indicated that such crimes are on the rise in the city centre, 28 percent opined that it is more in satellite towns, 23 percent said there is an increase across board, while 18 percent disagreed with the notion that there is an increase in these crimes.
Public Relations Officer of the FCT Police Command, ASP AnjuguriManzah, told Daily Trust that although these crimes are still perpetuated, they are on the decline.
He said: “We are aware of these incidences and I can say that in the last one year, they have reduced. The Command has taken the fight to their dens; we are not just waiting for them to operate or attack before we act.”
He added that: “We have raided several of their hideouts across the FCT. Our teams do a lot of information gathering from residents and other sources that have also provided us with useful information. We are not resting on our oars at all. We keep re-strategizing and updating our techniques as often as possible. That’s how we have been able to bring some of these suspects who are here today, to book.”
Daily Trust spoke to some of the detained suspects.
“My work is ‘price and take.’ That is what I specialize in. I had never done ‘bude’ before until my friend introduced it to me at a time I was very desperate,”said IbiangOfemUbi – a thirty two-year-old father of three and breadwinner of his extended family – remanded at Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit.
Ubi explained that the nature of the acts results to the names the crimes are called. He said for ‘Price and take’ “I carry with me a handkerchief or file to a shop. I stand by the door and when I browse through for what valuable item I want I then distract the shopkeeper by telling him to get me some small provision items. While he is doing that, I use the handkerchief or file to take what I want. If I see he is suspicious that something is missing, I send him off again and return the item somewhere else and go back to my place at the door.” Proceeds from the sale of such stolen items are what he feeds his family with. Ubi said: “I started this after I lost my job driving Abuja taxi and couldn’t meet up.”
Penultimate Tuesday, Ubi had trailed an unsuspecting victim from a bank in Area 8 from where he had come out with a black polythene bag given by most banks to customers withdrawing large sums. He trailed him to a second bank in Wuse 2.
Ubi said: “On the way, I called my friend Fredrick who had introduced me to ‘bude’ to come and meet me where I was because it seemed like a deal was about to click. He came there and managed to break into the car. As he was rummaging through, I noticed the bank’s security was watching what was going on.
“I immediately alerted Fredrick but he said he would first find the money before going away. As we were talking, one of the security men was already by my car and we engaged in an intense struggle for the steering wheel.In the process I bashed some cars but successfully escaped,” he said.
During the struggle, Ubi’s accomplice and owner of the getaway car, Kenneth Numbe(20), who had run out of the car, was caught as Fredrick escaped.
As if this wasn’t warning enough, Ubi embarked on a similar mission three days after. This time with KassimLonge (40) – whom he met the day before at a drinking spot -but this was their day of reckoning. The vigilant would-have-been victim instead led them to a plaza in Central Area known to frequently have mobile policemen on guard.
Ubi said he parked his car some distance away and trailed the victim by foot only to find him talking to the policemen as all eyes simultaneously looked in his direction when the man said loudly, “he is the one. There are two of them in a blue car with sun roof.”
Longe was located in the car and dragged to the plaza. In no time a mob had gathered and began pelting them with stones. They were rescued just in time and whisked away to the FCT Police Command from where they were taken to SARS.
‘Bude’ is a Hausa word meaning ‘open’. But for the like of Ubi it means ‘open and close’. “We open the door with a screwdriver. Before we burgle any car we must first see and access who comes out of it. That way we can determine if it has an alarm or not.”
AbubakarSadiq and Monday Reuben were caught after they – and a third accomplice Emeka, who is now at large – stole a wallet and phone from a man after he was stopped by a traffic light in Kubwa.
In assuring FCT residents of their efforts to bring such crimes to a halt, Manzah urged residents to report criminal activities and not assume that nothing would be done about it if they do.

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