Residents in FCT communities abandon their homes as kidnappings escalate in Abuja

A rising wave of kidnappings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), specifically within the Bwari Area Council, has triggered a mass exodus as residents flee their homes to escape the clutches of bandits.

Despite promises from past and present administrations to address insecurity in the FCT, abductions persist, forcing residents to abandon their residences.

The FCTA identified Kuje, Abaji, and Bwari as areas with the highest records of kidnapping in the FCT, particularly during the festive period.

Numerous kidnapping incidents were reported, including the mass abduction of 23 residents in Dei-dei, Bwari, and 12 others in Gbaupe along Airport Road.

Residents, especially in developing areas of Bwari, are being targeted, leading to an exodus from homes due to fear. The situation is said to be impacting the cost of rent in safer areas.

Speaking with The ICIR, a resident of Bwari, Somto Ekwerike, said those living within the developing areas of the area council were mostly targeted. She said they had vacated their homes out of fear.

“People are leaving the area, especially the rural areas or residential houses built in developing areas. You know that people in these developing areas mostly build their own houses, so they are seen as wealthy, making them targets.

“Most of them had to leave their homes for Bwari central. It is even beginning to affect the cost of rent here,” she told The ICIR.

Narrating his ordeal to The ICIR, a homeowner in the Barangoni area of Bwari, Ijaodola Wasiu, said he was forced to relocate with his family to other parts of the FCT. This move cost him nearly N1.4 million despite owning a four-bedroom flat.

He said he took the decision after separate abductions were successfully carried out for three consecutive days within his community and neighbouring areas.

“After the first, second, and third day, my family said they were not safe anymore. Everybody started moving. That is how my family left the house. Other families, too, are going. Many people have gone,” he said.

Despite Minister Nyesom Wike’s reassurance of the FCTA’s commitment to residents’ safety in his New Year message, kidnappings continue to plague various parts of the FCT.

In the first weeks of 2024 alone, the Bwari Area Council witnessed a surge in abductions, affecting at least 42 people.

A particularly gruesome incident occurred in Zuma 1 Area of Bwari, where a father and his six daughters were abducted, leading to a tragic loss as one of the sisters was killed.

The spate of kidnappings persisted, with ten residents of Sangwari Estate, Dutse, in Bwari, being abducted three days later.

The most recent incident on January 10 in Kawu, a community bordering Niger and Kaduna states, saw 23 residents abducted, further intensifying the security crisis in the FCT.

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