By Omeiza Ajayi
In the wake of recent reports of increase in the kidnapping of people in the nation’s capital, Federal Capital Territory FCT minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has declared that the territory is safe but called on residents not to leave security matters to the law enforcement agencies alone.
The declaration was contained in a late Tuesday statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Anthony Ogunleye.
The statement quoted the Minister as saying this after a meeting of the FCT Security Committee which comprises of the heads of the police, military and para military services in the FCT as well as Area Council Chairmen and religious leaders.
According to him, “It is almost impossible for security agencies to be everywhere 100 percent, so every resident in a way is also a security officer. So, it is very important for residents to be vigilant, to be very conscious of their personal security. If for instance, you see a vehicle without number plate, it means that vehicle is not registered and can be used for criminal activities, please report to the relevant authorities”.
Malam Bello who noted that in comparison with several cities around the world, FCT remains quite safe, however conceded that there were indeed two incidences of kidnappings over the past few weeks, adding both victims have been rescued.
He called on residents to not be swayed by rumours or unverified news in the social media but to confirm their veracity before circulating. “Fake news or false security information has the capacity to lead to breach of peace, he said”.
On the issue of communal clashes, he commended the efforts of the Area Council Chairmen and traditional rulers in curbing the herders/farmers clashes and urged them to continue on the path of ensuring peace.
Malam Bello also assured residents that the FCTA will continue to partner and render support to the Nigerian police, the military and para -military commands in the FCT that are charged with the task of keeping the city secure.
On her part, Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu called for synergy among all security agencies in combating crime and enforcing security measures in the FCT.
The FCT Commissioner of Police Bala Ciroma disclosed that there will be more deployment of officers and men across the city to combat crime. He revealed that they were also intensifying both vehicular and foot patrol to ensure more visibility of officers and men of the Force in the city. The raid of black spots he said, will be stepped up.
Mr Ciroma echoed the opinion of the minister when he said that community policing, which involved a robust collaboration between the police and the citizenry will be intensified. He said this method has succeeded in curbing criminality in the Area Councils, especially Abaji where information provided by the citizens stopped a kidnapping ring which operated between Kogi State and the FCT.
On the menace of “one Chance” the police commissioner said the criminals perpetrated their acts by using unregistered and unpainted taxis. He said the police was collaborating with the FCT Directorate of Road Transport Services to apprehend the criminals. He also revealed that a unit within the CID was created specifically to combat one chance and so far, over 100 of suspected one chance perpetrators have been arrested and their vehicles confiscated.