- Dirt, criminality everywhere
- Outbreak of epidemic feared
- Minister’s silence worries residents
Abuja, the nascent capital of Nigeria, reputed to be the fastest growing city in Africa is gradually losing its candour and prestige. The city is becoming opposite of what the founding fathers had in mind- a beautiful, serene, safe, well-organized and comfortable capital city offering residents and visitors peace of mind and good ambience for business, leisure and relaxation.
Regrettably, reports from our correspondents who went round the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, show that presently, Abuja may not be the safest place following incessant criminal activities that are on the rise, and the dirtiest nature of the streets within and around the seat of federal government.
Nigerian Pilot investigations revealed that most housing estates now result to paying heavily for private security guards to checkmate the upsurge in criminal activities in their neighbourhood.
Recreational gardens and parks in the capital territory are not left out of this ugly development as the criminals have often harassed and disposed unsuspecting persons of their valuables especially when night falls.
These parks are also being used as hideouts for the sale and consumption of illicit drugs, even as the criminals also hide under the parks to commit rape and other crimes.
Cases of car burglary and car theft are rife. As a result, vehicle owners are afraid to park them unattended to as they may return without seeing their vehicles. And these happen very often in major city areas such as Wuse zone 5, opposite the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, national headquarters/Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, NSCDC corps Headquarters. Other crime prone areas include: Berger roundabout, Jabi/Utako, Wuse zone 2, Maitama, and Garki (including Garki 2). The suburbs are not left our particularly, Kubwa, Jikwoyi, Kurudu and Dutse.
Cases of armed robbery and kidnapping have become a daily occurrence as residents no longer sleep with their two eyes closed. One of the kidnappers was tracked and arrested by the Police at Jikwoyi suburb on Wednesday.
Responding to the rising rate of crimes, FCT Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, DCP Bala Ciroma told Nigerian Pilot that there is a massive manhunt recently against the operations of 419 popularly known as ‘one chance robbers’ and other petty crimes in some parts of the FCT.
DCP Ciroma said the command has continued to evolve novel measures and strategies to beat the perpetrators of this heinous act at their game. “I can say that our strategies are indeed yielding positive results that have led to the arrest and bursting of numerous syndicates. This result yielding operation will be intensified and the strategy continuously reviewed until the last of these enemies of the safe and secured society are flushed out of operation”, Ciroma vowed.
He said the command recently paraded 30 suspected criminals who specialize in car theft, while 16 cars were recovered from them.
A worried resident, Olusegun Malami speaking to our correspondent yesterday summarized his experience thus: “ If you say Abuja is dirty, (referring to our reporter) you have just given a correct description of Nigeria’s federal capital, because everything imaginable can be found littering the streets.
“When you go round the city and its environs, small public bins are overflowing and the increasing number of makeshift, refuse heaps are growing higher and smellier by the day, even as thousands of black nylon bags and transparent water sachets have taken root in the soil, implanting themselves on trees and security barbed wires, even though the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB reportedly spends N1.3 billion per annum on cleaning Abuja metropolis alone.
“But one thing is certain, if Abuja residents know the street-cleaning schedule, they can avoid the overflowing bins that blight the streets and attract dogs and scavengers, and residents acting as partners to the authorities can report the cleaners when they fail to show up with their brooms and Bagco sacks”, he concluded.
Indeed, a walk through major streets in highbrow areas like Jabi, Utako, Maitama, Garki, among others in Abuja, makes one to wonder if there is government at all in the FCT not to talk of a minister, because the worst scenario is that one can hardly breathe fresh air as the ambiance is often polluted with the foul stench from urine and faeces that now litter everywhere.
To think that such an eyesore is now common place even within the inner city and the relevant authority in charge of environmental sanitation within the FCT, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, seems not to be on top of the situation, is unheard of as observers have noted.
The Head of Information of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, Joe Ukairo while responding to text message from our correspondent said he is on study leave but denied the existence of dirt in the city.
Abuja too dirty for a capital city –Senate
Corroborating Nigerian Pilot report, the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, recently gave the Area Councils in the capital 21 days to clean up parks, markets and the entire FCT or face sanction.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), gave the directive when the committee met with the chairmen of the six area councils in the territory recently.
Melaye said the FCT was too dirty to be the seat of power and a capital city, stressing that no state capital around the world was as dirty as the FCT.
“This committee is giving you three weeks to clean up the metropolis; the environmental sanitation in the FCT, the area councils especially AMAC is poor.
“You see heaps of rubbish on the road side; Abuja is the pride of Africa, we cannot let this continue.
“After three weeks, if you don’t clean up the FCT, we will clean you up: you cannot be collecting revenue from the market and the market will be very dirty.
“You go to our parks and it is an eyesore; two weeks you won’t clean the parks and you are generating money from that park and when they ask, you will say there is no money.
“We are very serious about cleaning up the city within three weeks, clean up Abuja, especially the satellite towns,” he said.
All efforts to get reactions from the Honourable Minister of the FCT Mallam Mohammed Bello proved abortive as at press time.
But residents who spoke to our correspondents expressed concern over the apparent silence of the FCT Administration led by the Honourable Minister over the plight of residents and the deterioration of basic infrastructure in the territory.