Residents of lugbe, along the airport road of the Federal Capital Territory,FCT, Abuja, are now living in fear of the menace being unleashed on them by scavengers popularly known as “baban-bola”. These criminal elements, not only terrorise the people in their homes at night, but also waylay unsuspecting innocent residents at night at some strategic locations.
The recent of their criminal act, was perpetrated in the wee hours of Monday July 28. It was confirmed that a popular man known as Alhaji Yahyah, was on his way back from Dubai, on a business trip. Upon his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, he placed a call to one of his boys to come and pick him up on his arrival at Lugbe. This, according to information gathered, was around 3am in the early hours of Monday, Alhaji, was said to have arrived at the pedestrian bridge at the popular police signboard bus-stop, Lugbe, before his boy. He was said to have been accosted by these ‘baban-bolas’ on top of the bridge, wanting to cross over in anticipation of the arrival of his boy, he was however wrestled down stabbed several times in the stomach and chest and in their bid to cart away his bag containing money, his boy in company of some of his friends arrived at the scene. Immediately the ‘baban-bolas’ saw them, some took off while some stayed back hoping the boys were equally just passing by. When Alahji’s boys saw what had befallen him, they engaged the remaining ‘baban-bolas’ in a fight, a development that led to the death of one of the ‘baban-bolas’.
Furthermore, it was gathered that Alhaji died before he was taken to the hospital. The ‘baban-bola’ boys later came back to retrieve the corpse of their member who was killed by the Alhaji boys and secretly buried him early that morning. As it stands now, the death of Alhaji has raised concern everywhere in Lugbe and its environs where such criminal acts have been going on for a long time, while relevant authorities turn deaf ears. The most sickening thing about the whole scenario is that there is a Divisional Police Command post in Lugbe just a few metres away from the bridge. Its proximity to the pedestrian bridge is the reason it is called “police signboard”.
Many wonder why the police seem to turn deaf ears to the complaints of residents whose cars have been snatched at gunpoint, stolen while parked at what should ordinarily be a safe place and others who are daily harassed and robbed by these miscreants.
Their hideout ‘pan-taker’ at the back of the bridge has repeatedly come under public question, yet the police have done nothing to curb their menace.
They sell whatever they have stolen from the people there. They also sell marijuana and smoke same at will in addition to engaging in other nefarious activities. With all sorts of criminality going on in that place, one can imagine the kind of fear and trauma the residents are being subjected to on daily basis.
Another government agency that has not really helped matters is the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB. The refuse dump at the pan-taker, where the ‘baban-bola’ boys scavenge from during the day is of massive size. The stench that emits from the refuse, especially when it rains, is horrific. Every evening, traders and buyers cluster there to transact different full scale businesses there. One wonders whether the AEPB is not bothered about the health implications of allowing people to conduct business at the dump site.
The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, also has a big role to play in this, on closer interaction with some of this ‘baban-bolas’. It’s been discovered that most of them are really not Nigerians, they are mostly from Niger Republic. Although, we all agree that Nigeria has porous borders which are not all manned by NIS but, proper documentation at the point of entry and regular stop and identify exercise, for suspected aliens will go a long way in helping to curtail these security lapses, as well as fight insurgency. It is pitiable, when immigrants come into Nigeria without valid papers and still perpetrate crime. Nigeria is not the only country with porous borders, our neighbours too have porous borders, but Nigerians are not going there to perpetrate criminality. Apart from these ‘baban-bolas’ in lugbe, who are not Nigerians, others like them abound all over Nigeria and constitute security threat in our society.
Residents now pay to ensure their own security in lugbe and elsewhere, by employing the services of local vigilante men, this they do by burning tyres and keeping awake throughout the night. The implication of this is that, Nigerians virtually pay for all services utilised now, as everything has been privatised. Some of the criminals, after they have been apprehended and handed over to security agents, within a short period of time they are set free and they come back to the same environment to terrorise people again. This has been a source of concern to residence because, when people keep vigil in order to ward off these criminals and they succeed in apprehending them, after they are set free those that apprehended them become their target.
In addition to the above, criminal suspects apprehended by the relevant authorities or the people themselves, should be properly investigated and prosecuted if found guity by taking them to the appropriate place where they belong, so that they don’t come back and become a menace to the society again. The AEPB should also, as a matter of urgency, ensure that strict environmental laws are enforced not just in lugbe but the whole of FCT, so that national disaster like ebola will not befall the country again. In like manner, the NIS should also brazen up in tackling the influx of immigrants without proper documents into the country.
However, its Alhaji’s calamity that has generated the uproar about the activities of these criminal element, a lot of cases like his have gone unnoticed. Especially, when most of their criminal acts are being carried out at night. This is however, a wake- up call for relevant security agencies because, Nigerians cannot be battling with economic hardship and its grappling effects and still be subjected to security challenges like armed robbery attacks, kidnapping and the insurgency that is rocking the country. Therefore, if any meaningful change or development will take place in the country, the security of the citizens lives and property are germane, this is the only condition that can propel any meaningful change.

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