Despite the high rate of kidnapping in Abattoir New Extension in Abaji Area Council of the FCT, Mr. Benjamin Edward, could not see how he could be a victim.
“Why would someone kidnap me,” he said noting that he had nothing or money that could attract kidnappers. Few days after, however, he was faced with the grim reality when armed men broke into his house and whisked him away at gun point.
“It was then that I realized I have been kidnapped,” he said when he was released after spending five days in the den of his abductors. The father of three said he is now in debt to pay the ransom raised by his wife and family members to get him released.
He said it was after he was set free from the kidnappers den that he decided to relocate with his wife and three children to a more secure place for their safety.
“I just have to relocate because the place I am staying currently with my family is more secure compared to the former place. My travail in the hands of kidnappers forced me to take the decision because I don’t know if these people would still come after my children,” he added.
He said he and members of his family now sleep with their two eyes closed since they relocated, recalling how the kidnappers had always taken advantage of the bad terrain in the area to cross a small stream through the bush to attack residents of his former place.
Another resident of Abattoir New Extension, Abdullahi Yakubu, said he was also forced to relocate because of the incessant cases of kidnapping by armed men who always invaded the area during odd hours and shoot sporadically to frighten residents.
He said the recent kidnapping incident has left many residents very devastated and “they sleep with only one eye closed”.
“Just two weeks ago, when kidnappers again came shooting into one of my neighbour’s house, I and my family had to hide. We couldn’t sleep that night because of the sound of their guns,” he said.
Yakubu, who said he was a tenant, later decided to relocate with his family, even as he said the rent at the former place he resided was cheaper than the new place he moved to.
“Actually Abattoir New Extension is a very quiet and isolated place where you can’t hear any noise but the area is too porous for crime, especially kidnapping. No week passes that you will not hear that somebody has been kidnapped, either an adult or a child, and that has been giving people of the area, including me and my family, sleepless nights,” he said.
Another resident of the area, who also spoke with Aso Chronicle on condition of anonymity, lamented how two of his children and wife were taken away when the kidnappers invaded his apartment in the odd hours of the night.
He said it was only by the grace of God that one of his friends and some of his relatives raised the sum of N500,000 to pay ransom before the kidnappers set his family free, after they were held captive for eight hours in an undisclosed forest.
“It is unfortunate that some people residing in the area, especially tenants are relocating to another area within Abaji town, because of the rate of kidnapping in Abattoir New Extension,” he said, adding “I am calling on the security to step up measures to address the problem.”
Mrs. Grace Afolabi, a mother of two children who resides at Abattoir New Extension, lamented how gunmen riddled the house she was staying with her mother with bullets and abducted an 11-year-old boy, Gbenga Segun, after the boy’s uncle was hit on the head with a hard object.
She said the kidnappers, who used a hefty piece of wood to hit her legs, had attempted to abduct her six-month-old baby, but later went after the 11-year-old boy, saying they were always terrified by the kidnappers.
“Because of the rate of kidnapping incidents, some of our neighbours are relocating but we cannot because the house belongs to my husband and he mostly comes around during the weekend from where he works outside Abaji town,” she added.
“To be candid, the vigilante men are trying their best in this area but the gunmen always overpower them with the weapons they carry which scare them and other residents away. The spate of kidnapping is now forcing some tenants to relocate,” another resident, Musa Haruna, said.
Reacting, the chairman of the council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, said his administration has not rested in the effort to address the incessant kidnapping in the area.
He said in order to stem the security challenge in the area, the council decided to collaborate with the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, to engage the services of the boys of the popular hunter (Ali Kwara) who had been embarking on joint patrols with the local vigilantes and the police in the area.
“But despite this effort, we still receive reports of kidnapping in the area, but as I am talking to you now, the area council is making arrangement to meet chairmen of Kogi and Toto local government areas of Nasarawa State to see how we can come together to bring in soldiers to also help curtail the situation.
“I learnt that the kidnappers always come through the bush path from neighbouring Kogi and Nasarawa states and cross the river to carry out the attacks,” he said.
Reacting, spokesman of the FCT police command, DSP Anjuguri Manza, said the police was working round the clock to secure the lives and property of not only Abattoir residents, but the entire FCT.