Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city is under siege. As I write, residents live in perpetual fear of terrorists who last Friday remembered the political capital of Nigeria after 15 months of ‘grace’.
Terrorists ferociously returned to Abuja at the weekend, simultaneously bombing locations in two satellite towns of Kuje and Nyanya killing at least 15 persons and injuring about 39 others with properties worth millions of Naira destroyed. These were successfully executed despite huge fortification of the capital territory against attacks – through extensive roadblocks and security patrols – by combined team of military and police officers.
Since the first blast occurred in Abuja in 2010, human and vehicular movements into the city centre have been thoroughly searched by stern looking soldiers wielding machine guns and other sophisticated rifles.
This development has unleashed untold hardship on Abuja residents particularly those living along Abuja-Keffi, Abuja -Kubwa and Airport corridors.
Most of the commuters ostensibly leave their homes around 4.30 am daily hoping to beat the usual traffic jam on the road. In the process they spend over four hours each day on a journey of about 20 minutes. The traffic jam is so severe that many of the workers get to office late, while cars frequently brake down due to the strain. Nevertheless, the workers silently bear the burden of sacrifice with the expectation that their lives and properties are protected. But the ease with which terrorists execute their dastardly acts has made commuters to think otherwise.
While I support measures to protect lives and properties not only in Abuja but all over the country, I frown at the method being used by soldiers to carry out the exercise, which from available evidence, has failed to achieve the desired purpose.
The failure is because the method used by the military and police operatives is not in line with modern technology. They should adopt modern, scientific methods of searching vehicles as obtained abroad even in neigbouring West African countries.
For instance, in the Middle East where suicide bombing is rampant, people still go to work without necessarily going through the stress Abuja residents, those in satellite towns and neigbouring states are being made to go through.
My thinking is that the military does not have the equipment to carry out scientific method of searching; since they never prepared for this alien culture of bombing that has left over 5,000 Nigerians dead and loss of property running into billions of Naira.
Come to think of it, since the mounting of road blocks began, how many arrests have the military made? How many Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, have they recovered? Were the check points not there when Nyanya, Kuje, Emab Plaza Bomb blasts occured?
Why are the check points restricted to roads leading to the city centre from neigbouring states? And who said those living in the city cannot improvise the devices? Going by findings from the first Nyanya bomb blast, it was discovered that those behind the dastardly act perfected it in Utako before going to Nyanya to detonate. So, if bombs could be assembled in Utako, what stops it from originating from Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse and other highbrow areas of Abuja?. If I may ask, the blast at EMAB Plaza in Wuse 2 and the recent ones in Kuje and Nyanya where did they come from and which road did the master minders pass? How come it was not detected despite several military check points.? Let us stop this showmanship in the name of checking terrorists and get down to real business as done in other parts of the world.
Viewed critically, the increase in criminality in Abuja is as a result of the failure of the National Public Security Communication System, NPSCS; otherwise known as the CCTV project. The project which was initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua, was conceived to help security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory check growing insecurity in the town.
But since the installation of the CCTV cameras and allied equipment, criminals and insurgents have repeatedly launched violent attacks on the city without being detected.
Between 2010 when the project was initiated and now, Abuja has come under nine deadly attacks, leaving scores of people dead and properties worth billions of naira destroyed.
The first bomb explosion happened on 1st October, 2010, a few meters from the Three Arms Zone, during the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND claimed responsibility for the twin car bombs which killed 10 and injured many more.
On June 16, 2011, a suicide bomber drove a bomb-laden car and rammed into the parking lot of the Police headquarters, shortly after the convoy of the then Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, entered the complex.
Two persons died, including the traffic warden who prevented the bomber from ramming the bomb-laden vehicle into the main building, while several cars at the parking were burnt.
On August 26, 2011, another suicide bomber rammed a bomb-laden car into the United Nations building along the Diplomatic Drive in Abuja, killing 20 persons.
On April 26, 2012, terrorists attacked the Abuja office of the Thisday Newspaper, ripping off the roof of the building and killing some innocent staff including the bomber.
Again on April 14, 2014 twin blasts rocked the Nyanya Motor Park killing 71, while 124 persons suffered life-threatening injuries.
Barely two weeks after, another one occurred opposite the same Nyanya Motor Park on May 1, 2014 killing nine and injuring scores of persons.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2014, EMAB Plaza, Wuse 2 was bombed killing 21 persons. And last Friday night, the terrorists again visited Nyanya and added Kuje in the list. Who knows their next Abuja target?
In all the attacks, the CCTV cameras installed across the city could not pick up images of the perpetrators of the dastardly acts. In all the cases, the victims are the poor and middle income earners- traders, artisans, workers, and the unemployed.
What this means is that most of the CCTV cameras installed around the capital city are mere toys, placed there by dubious individuals to deceive the public. God save the poor masses in this country.


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