Crim­i­nals on the prowl in Zuba

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Abubakar Sadiq Isah

The Zuba fly-over on the Abuja–Kaduna Ex­press­way con­nects mo­torists go­ing to Kubwa, Dei-Dei, Mad­dalla, Kaduna and to Zuba-Gwag­wal­adaLokoja axis. Re­cently, the road has be­come a den of sus­pected crim­i­nals who lurk un­der the bridge and at­tack in­no­cent vic­tims.

The bridge a ma­jor stopover for trav­ellers com­mut­ing from the North to other parts of the coun­try.

Com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles used to drop pas­sen­gers com­ing to Abuja at Zuba and if the pas­sen­gers are ig­no­rant of the swarms of mis­cre­ants lurk­ing around the bridge wait­ing to pounce on their prey, they eas­ily fall vic­tim to them.

As the sun be­gins to set, the mis­cre­ants po­si­tion them­selves and wait for un­sus­pect­ing com­muters who usu­ally alight from ve­hi­cles and trek to the next park or bus stop to board an­other car.

Malam Musa Mai Tu­lare re­sides near Dan Kogi is Fill­ing Sta­tion, which serves un­of­fi­cially as a road­side park for com­muters trav­el­ling to the West, South and East from the North.

He said that the bridge has, over the years, be­come dan­ger­ous, es­pe­cially for pedes­tri­ans and trav­ellers who ar­rive at the town at late hours.

He said that some of the mis­cre­ants some­times pre­tend to be as­sist­ing peo­ple to get ve­hi­cle “and be­fore you know it, they dis­pos­sessed their vic­tims of their valu­ables and money.”

He lamented that de­spite the prox­im­ity of the po­lice sta­tion to the Zuba fly­over bridge, the mis­cre­ants operate freely.

“These rob­bers also tar­get ve­hi­cles that break down on the high­way. When your car breaks down and you de­cide to leave it there or go to look for a me­chanic to fix it, be­fore you come back, they have re­moved some parts,” he said.

He re­called how some mis­cre­ants trailed and at­tacked him on his way home af­ter he closed from work.

“The crim­i­nals ac­costed me and forced me to han­dover the money I re­alised for the day. In fact, what al­ways hap­pens un­der this Zuba fly-over is ter­ri­ble, es­pe­cially when it is 7:00p.m. Any per­son that treks un­der the bridge at that time is at the risk of ei­ther los­ing his purse or hand­bag.

“Some­times you will come across a corpse un­der the bridge. And it baf­fles me that the bridge is not far from the po­lice sta­tion, even though the po­lice some­times mount a check­point there. Yet rob­bery cases take place un­der the bridge,” he said.

Other res­i­dents who spoke with Aso Chron­i­cle said the area is dan­ger­ous at any time of the day.

They say that the mis­cre­ants used to snatch hand­bags, mo­tor­cy­cles and rob pedes­tri­ans at gun­point un­der the bridge.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions have re­vealed that the crime wave is not only re­stricted to un­der the Zuba over-head bridge, but also at set­tle­ments like Giri, Ana­gada and Tun­gan Maje vil­lages which are lo­cated on the Gwag­wal­adaZuba-Kaduna Ex­press­way.

These vil­lages, Giri, Ana­gada and Tunga-Maje, have be­come flash­points where there have been re­ported cases of armed rob­bery, car snatch­ing, mo­tor­cy­cle and hand­bag snatch­ing as well as rit­ual killings.

Mr Sylvester Nwokedi, a res­i­dent of Giri vil­lage, who is a com­mer­cial driver ply­ing Gwag­wal­ada to Zuba road, laments how some gang of car snatch­ers al­most es­caped with his car, af­ter the sus­pects boarded his car to go to Madalla from Gwag­wal­ada.

He said that the car snatch­ers, three in num­ber, de­cided to pay for two other pas­sen­gers and, shortly af­ter Ana­gada vil­lage, one of the gang mem­bers pointed a pis­tol at him and asked him to park and hand over the car keys to them.

He said that in the process of try­ing to park his car, he force­fully broke the car’s key in the ig­ni­tion and. luck­ily for him, he said, the three men sighted a po­lice high­way pa­trol team car com­ing and fled into the bush.

“It was only God that saved me that day as I force­fully broke the car’s key in the ig­ni­tion and while they were strug­gling to re­move the key, they sighted the po­lice pa­trol van com­ing and ran into the bush,” he said.

He also said a busi­ness man, who was com­ing from Benin to Abuja in an un­marked Lexus SUV, al­most lost his ve­hi­cle to a gang of sus­pected car snatch­ers un­der the Giri fly­over bridge. He said that the rob­bers had snatched the ve­hi­cle and were es­cap­ing with it when men of the high­way pa­trol team who were alerted ran af­ter them and re­cov­ered the SUV.

Aso Chron­i­cle how­ever gath­ered that the rate of crime per­pe­trated on the Zuba to Giri road has made the FCT po­lice com­mand to de­ploy its men at some flash points, such as the Univer­sity of Abuja staff quar­ters at Giri, un­der the Giri fly­over bridge, Ana­gada and Tunga-Maje. Po­lice now un­der­take stop-and-search op­er­a­tions there.

An­other res­i­dent, Mrs. Eu­nice Adeg­boro, who sells cake at Giri vil­lage, was said to have been at­tacked re­cently be­tween Ana­gada and Tun­gan Maje and N3,500 taken away from her. It was learnt that the wo­man, a mother of four, was trav­el­ling to Zuba to buy items be­fore the money was stolen by some mis­cre­ants.

An­other res­i­dent of Tunga Maje vil­lage, sim­ply iden­ti­fied as Ya­haya, who op­er­ates a pro­vi­sion store by the ex­press way, told Aso Chron­i­cle how armed rob­bers have used to ter­rorise res­i­dents of the area, es­pe­cially mo­torists. He al­leged that most of the rob­bers who operate along the axis do so wear­ing po­lice uni­form.

He re­called how some two po­lice high­way pa­trol team mem­bers who were eat­ing at a res­tau­rant close to the pedes­trian bridge were shot dead by a gang of sus­pected armed rob­bers, last month. The sit­u­a­tion, he said, re­sulted in the ar­rest of some passersby and res­i­dents by the po­lice.

“In fact, there is no Sun­day that passes with­out armed rob­bers at­tack­ing mo­torists around Ana­gada, Tunga Maje and Giri vil­lage. The po­lice can’t with­stand them be­cause the rob­bers al­ways have su­pe­rior fire­power,” he said.

He said that some of the rob­bers who operate in the area hang around drink­ing spots in Ana­gada and Tunga Maje.

“Just come be­tween 5:00 to 10:00p.m. in the night and watch the kind of peo­ple that drink at these joints,” he said.

A mem­ber of the vigilante in the area, who spoke with Aso Chron­i­cle on con­di­tion of anonymity, also laments ac­tiv­i­ties of armed rob­bers and other mis­cre­ants that ter­rorise res­i­dents and mo­torists in the area.

Ac­cord­ing to him, mem­bers of the vigilante group in col­lab­o­ra­tion with their col­leagues in Madalla used to go af­ter rob­bers and crim­i­nals un­der the Zuba bridge, and hand over sus­pects to the po­lice when­ever they ar­rest them.

“But the ma­jor prob­lem we have with the po­lice is that when­ever we han­dover a mo­tor­cy­cle or bag snatcher to them, we see them (sus­pects) the next day walk­ing freely,” he al­leged.

“The sus­pects even brag be­fore our faces that they will be re­leased from po­lice de­ten­tion the next day and, the next day, you will see the sus­pects un­der the bridge pre­tend­ing to be trav­ellers,” he said.

He said that lack of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween mem­bers of the vigilante group and po­lice in the area dis­cour­aged the vig­i­lantes from dis­charg­ing their du­ties.

“Some­times, even when they alert us that a rob­bery is go­ing on or a vic­tim is at­tacked by some mis­cre­ants, we don’t re­spond be­cause these rob­bers be­lieve that we are the ones giv­ing them headache,” the vigilante said.

Aso Chron­i­cle also gath­ered how some sus­pected armed rob­bers in po­lice vest, penul­ti­mate Fri­day evening, at­tacked a petrol sta­tion at Tunga Maje vil­lage, and made away with un­spec­i­fied amount of money.

Zuba bridge

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