By Jaysim Hanspal, Nancy-Wangue Moussissa
Posted on Thursday, 4 August 2022 13:36
Violence in Nigeria’s capital continues to worry citizens with rise in terrorist attacks.
Abuja residents have expressed concern that security has been relaxed across the capital after the recent engagements that neutralised over 30 of the bandits within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The country’s police department has a workforce of approximately 350,000 which analysts say is insufficient for a population of more than 200 million people.
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According to the Premium Times, 85 soldiers were killed by armed persons in the first six months of 2022. On 26 July, terrorists attacked presidential guards in the capital, killing eight soldiers in the raid.
To promote an air of security, The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has reinstated G7 security operations to secure the territory, partnering with bordering states.
The government also says it approved the purchase of vehicles worth over N1.4bn ($3.3m) to neighbouring Niger, to help improve security, despite its own problems growing at home.
READ MORE Nigeria: Buhari’s $2.7m car gift to Niger Republic despite rising poverty causes uproar
In a statement to the public, Police Commissioner Sunday Babaji reassured citizens that their security is guaranteed, saying: “FCT is safe. Every member of the community should go about their lawful businesses. We are on top of the situation.”
Despite assurances from security officials, Nigeria is becoming increasingly unstable: growing insecurity created by Islamists in the northeast; numerous kidnappings in the northwest; and armed groups across the region threatening citizens daily.
READ MORE Nigeria: Parents getting more worried as insecurity forces schools closures in Abuja
For many years, violence had been restricted to remote areas of the north, where poverty levels are considerably higher. But recent events have seen that insecurity spread to areas normally thought as safe.
It is weird that Lagos and Abuja are both under threat from terrorism per leaked intelligence memos and all the public officials im Nigeria are just like, brb. When did getting killed become normal?
— Dr Ayo Sogunro (@ayosogunro) July 27, 2022
Following a jihadist raid on the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja that saw 879 criminals liberated, including 68 members of the terrorist group Boko Haram, authorities in capital announced the capture of two high-profile terrorism suspects.
Since April 2022, the Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, has carried out numerous attacks in Kogi, Niger, including the FCT.
ISWA has often chosen to target public places where crowds gather, such as places of worship, markets, and shopping malls. Reports of home invasions are also common.
Some of ISWA’s recent attacks include:
On 28 July, the State closed schools in the country’s capital and in nearby Nasarawa state, marking a turning point for Nigeria’s insecurity.
Ahead of Nigeria’s presidential election slated for 2023, many wonder how the state will be able to ensure safety during the polls when already insecurity has been spreading, rather than being contained.
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