Insecurity: Wike Charges Area Council Chairmen

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has caution the chairmen of the six area councils in the capital Territory to strengthen local vigilance teams in their areas and ensures that all their needs is supplied.

Wike made this promises during the security town hall meeting with stakeholders and residents of kwali Area council held on Tuesday in kwali, Abuja.

He stressed the need for collaboration in tacking insecurity. He however ,ensures the stakeholders and residents , fast deployment of the security vehicles.
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Wike,said his administration has almost concluded procurement processes for additional security motorcycles.

He said: “I have listened to what the chairman has said. The chairman has virtually requested for everything but he has not told me what he has done.

“For me, whatever that is going to bring development or improve security government has no hesitation. The president has directed me to let you know he feels your pains and that is why he has said I must go and see all the councils, talk to them and tackle insecurity headlong.

“I can assure you that in a matter of days, you will be hearing positive stories. We are ready to support our security agencies with whatever they need to ensure that our people can sleep with their two eyes closed. we have almost concluded procurement of vehicles for security agencies.
We are going to provide the councils with motorcycles to support the vigilance teams so that they can get information and assist the security agencies ”

“Our youths, we have directed the council chairmen to ensure that the vigilance teams are well taken care of. We need information from you because without information, the security agencies would have little or nothing to do. If you give them information on time, they will make sure bad things don’t happen.”

On the issue of bad roads fueling kidnapping, the minister asked the council chairman to recommend two more roads, in addition to the earlier ones recommended to the FCT administration for reconstruction.

While promising that President Bola Tinubu’s administration would not abandon the people of FCT, Wike said every year before submitting any budget proposal to the National Assembly, he would meet with traditional rulers and the people to get their inputs by way of getting them to recommend people-oriented projects that can be incorporated into the budget.

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“We will not abandon you. We will make sure we develop the area councils. Before the end of the tenure of President Tinubu, you will see a lot of infrastructure going on in the area councils.”

Earlier in his remark, the Kwali Area Council Chairman, Danladi Chiya, had listed several challenges facing the council and asked for the establishment of a police division at Gwako as well as a military base in another part of the council.

He said: “We have a lot of challenges security-wise. Indeed, we have challenges because of the hills surrounding Kwali. There are bad roads that the bad guys also use to abduct people. The roads are not motorable. Come to our aid to help put the roads in good shape. That will help reduce the incidences of kidnapping.

“We also require further military presence. We have vast lands. We need more police stations, especially at Gwako which has become a haven for these bad elements.

“We will write to your office because there is another road that has been abandoned by the contractors. Wherever they discover that the roads are not good, they use such spots as hideouts.

“Our people are prepared to chase them but for the bad roads. Then our stadium in Kwali, the bad boys have turned it into a hideout. There is little we could do on the stadium because it is an FCDA project.

“We also need motorcycles for the vigilance teams. I have given them some before but we need more and, therefore, I seek your intervention in this regard.”

In bid to tight security laws for checking crimes in Abuja.

On ”one chance” robbery attacks, Wike said the FCTA would soon begin the recertification of all taxis as well as ride-hailing services suc as Uber and Bolt.“Recall that often posing as taxi operators, armed robbers and ‘itinerant kidnappers’, criminals use taxis to abduct passengers, rob them and sometimes kill them.

The miscreants had on a few occasion, reportedly held their victims for hours, demanding ransoms from their relatives.
But while noting that crime might not be completed eliminated in any state or country, Wike said what was important was to ensure proactive steps were taking against their occurrences or that when they do occurred, the perpetrators were either arrested or the people protected.

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He said: “On one chance, remember there was a time it was an issue in this city. We were able to bring it down.
“What we are trying to do now, which we did not do in December but which we think we can achieve by February, is we are not going to allow vehicles without FCT colours, that are not registered by the FCTA to operate commercially.

”That way, you know the driver is approved and his vehicle is approved by the FCTA, so that as a passenger you don’t take the risk of going to board a vehicle that you don’t even know.”.

On whether the policy would apply to ride-hailing services suc as Uber and Bolt, the minister said; “They would have to be registered too. It tells you who the drivers are. We need to certify them. We need to profile then, using the security agencies. This is a city. If we don’t have rules, it will be a problem.”

The minister, who expressed surprise that a world-class capital city like Abuja does not have a single loading terminal, said he hoped to establish at least three of such terminals this year.

On kidnapping, he said his administration has concluded plans to strengthen collaboration with the four contiguous states of Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger.

“Series of election petitions took the time of governors and many politicians, but now that most of the petitions have been settled, we will be having our first meeting next week.

“FCT will host the four states to fully implement the cooperation. If we don’t do that, it is going to be difficult.
“We need the support of Nasarawa, Kogi states; we need the support of Niger and Kaduna states. We need to work majorly with Kaduna and Niger states.
“There is no day or week you will not hear that bandits attacked residents in Niger, bandits struck in Kaduna, and when that happens, where do they go? They go to the forests bordering FCT and the neighbouring states.

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“We will look at what will work between FCT and Kogi, we will look at what will work with Niger and, of course, Kaduna State.
“Are we going to form a joint security outfit or just sharing intelligence? It will also mean that not only FCT will be providing the needed logistics support and all that, but also the affected states, to fight crime.

“We will not just come together to have a meeting, no, there must be practical steps taken to reduce crime,” the minister added.
Stiffer penalties

He also advocated stringent laws to deter criminalities in the territory, adding that currently, criminals were vandalizing solar powered street lights in the FCT.

While noting that the existing penalty when caught was N30,000 or even less, Wike said: “What I am saying is that legislation should be put in place where it will no longer be easy for criminals to operate. ”If you are caught and the penalty is heavy, it gives you an option not to either participate in crime or pay a heavy penalty when caught.

“If for example you are caught and the penalty is N10 million, how many people can afford to pay N10 million for just one solar panel? So, that will be a deterrent.

“This is why the legislators need to amend the laws and not give a loophole which criminals will capitalize on and continue to perpetuate crime.”

By Sophina Ovuike, Abuja