Criminals on the prowl in Zuba
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.