10 Zuba: An Abuja suburb where crime thrives
A few kilometres from Abuja city centre, Zuba, is becoming a criminal hub raising concerns among residents, security agencies and the traditional institution.
Zuba is a thriving community under Gwagwalada Local Government Area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It is situated on the fringes of Abuja central city and shares boundary with Madalla in Niger State.
Apart from being a gateway to the FCT, Zuba is also located on the major highway that linked Kaduna-Kano as well as Lokoja, Kogi State, to major cities of the south.
But, the community has over the years witnessed cases of crimes such as armed robbery, car snatching, hand bag snatching, motorcycle snatching, pick pocketing, house/shop break as well as kidnappings.
In fact, these crimes surged recently causing concern in the community due its proximity and gateway status to the Abuja city centre.
Daily Trust recalled that on September 23, some suspects were arrested and paraded by the FCT Police Command for allegedly operating an illegal fire arms factory at Shenagu village, near Zuba. The police, who gave the name of the owner of the fire arm factory as Philip John, Onegabueze Okpara, as the supplier and Joseph Bulus, as the distributor.
The police had during the raid of the factory recovered items to include a locally fabricated revolver pistol cylinder, four dane guns, one double-barrel gun, one singlebarrel among other weapons.
The police said it was during interrogation that John confessed to have been in the illicit business for 17 years and selling the fabricated single-barrel and dane guns for N20, 000 and N10, 000 each respectively.
According to the police, prior to the discovery of the arms factory, two suspected armed robbers were also arrested at Zuba fly-over on their way for an operation in Minna, Niger State.
Also, on October 18, a fiveyear-old girl, identified as Asmau, was said to have been kidnapped at Zuba, after a resident of the area, Hussaini Hamza, said she was on an errand to buy cooking sauce cubes for a nearby shop.
He said the girl’s mother, who waited for several hours her daughter raised the alarm after the girl did not return for hours. In fact, she has still not been found.
These incidences among others triggered the Agora of Zuba, Alhaji Muhammed Bello Umar, to call for a security meeting at his palace on October 23 to nib in the bud the rising crime rates. Village and district heads, traditional rulers, community and security agents were in attendance.
Daily Trust gathered that six children were so far suspected
According to the police, prior to the discovery of the arms factory, two suspected armed robbers were also arrested at Zuba fly-over on their way for an operation in Minna, Niger State
to have been kidnapped in his domain. As if that was not enough, on November, 5, two kids were reported to have been kidnapped at Anguwar Pawa and Anguwar Galadima in Zuba. They are two and half years Usman Yakubu and one year six months Ahmed Ismaila.
It was leant had the two kids were playing in front of their houses when they were abducted.
The Sarkin Padan of Zuba chiefdom, Alhaji Muhammad Murtala, who confirmed the missing of the two kids, said the Agora has directed all Imams and pastors to embark on prayers so that those behind stealing children in his chiefdom are exposed.
A member of the vigilante group in the area who preferred anonymity said they are frustrated in the discharge of their duties by the police in the area, especially whenever they arrest a suspect and handed them over.
He said the police had not been cooperating with the vigilante in order to allow them carry out arrests by assisting in raiding criminals hideouts.
He explained that: “In fact, there is no day that we don’t go out without carrying out arrests because most of these criminals stay and lodge at hotels here in Zuba and Tungan Maje. You can imagine someone lodging in a hotel for two months and if you find out, such person is not working and the police know some of them.”
According to him, whenever the vigilantes arrest even a motorcycle thief in the area, a police officer would put a call across requesting that such motorcycle be released to the suspect, a situation that discourages them from embarking on patrol.
“There were times when we arrest a suspect, the suspect will be bragging that even if we take him to the police station, we should give him two to three hours that he would be released, and truly we have been coming across such suspects,” he added.
The vigilante added that Tungan Maje is another area some of the criminals hide and later at night come out to attack their victims by dispossessing them of their valuables.
The vigilante member gave the names of some of the black spots where some of the criminals hide to include, Uncle P brothel at Tungan Maje, Anguwar Jahanama road, Zuba, and I.K brothel, Ikwa, stressing that these are the areas some of the criminals relax and at night go out to strike.
The Agora told Daily Trust that the spate of missing children has become a nightmare not only to him but the entire chiefdom lamenting that just within the last one month, six children were missing.
According to him, it was on that premise that he suggested to security agents on the need to liaise with Okada unions to advice their members to start using reflective jackets for easy identification.
He said even when the issue of discovery of an illegal fire arms factory at Shenagu came up, he immediately summoned the village chiefs of Shenagu, Tungan Malam Hassan and Chitumu on the matter.
According to him, the palace has not rested on its oars in ensuring that it holds peace and security meetings that involve all village chiefs and district heads and representatives of various security agents every month to deliberate on security of lives and property of residents.
The traditional ruler said he would be meeting with the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Abubakar Bello and the FCT minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, on the need to provide more security to Zuba, in order to address criminality in the area.
The FCT Police Command spokesperson, DSP Anjuguri Manza, said the command has always been liaising with all the relevant stakeholders in the area to checkmate any form of crime at Zuba.
He said the command had also carried out several arrests of suspected armed robbers in the area who were charged to court and convicted.
He added that the command has deployed plain clothes officers and detectives who have always been patrolling Zuba axis and its environs in order to checkmate activities of suspected criminals.
The vigilante added that Tungan Maje is another area some of the criminals hide and later at night come out to attack their victims by dispossessing them of their valuables
Suspects arrested by the FCT Police Command for operating an illegal arms factory at Shenagu, near Zuba.