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Our ordeal in the hands of robbers – Mararaba residents

Posted by By LAMBERT TYEM, Abuja on 2008/09/21 | Views: 1527 |

Our ordeal in the hands of robbers – Mararaba residents

Residents of Mararaba, a suburb of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), now sleep with their two eyes wide open. For sometime now, the residents have had to contend with the fearsome activities of men of the underworld.

Residents of Mararaba, a suburb of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), now sleep with their two eyes wide open. For sometime now, the residents have had to contend with the fearsome activities of men of the underworld.

Lamenting their plight in the hands of robbers, a retired police Inspector, James Dangeri of Kabayi area of Mararaba, described it as horrible.

“Please, you journalists should help us write and appeal to government to come and help us. We no longer sleep with our eyes closed because of armed robbers raiding our area almost on daily basis. In fact, my families and many others are forced to become prayer warriors at night while some of us joined the vigilance group in the area until 4.30am before retiring to sleep,” he told Sunday Sun in an interview.

Dangeri further stated: “With all these measures put in place, we are still not safe because when the robbers start operation, we run into hiding. They even have sophisticated weapons than police and it appears the security agencies are helpless.”

He also lamented that his job is at stake in one of the first generation banks in Abuja, as he had to battle with sleep at work, adding that he has received several queries for sleeping on duty.
Another resident, Njoku Nathaniel, said he was beaten to coma in early May immediately he returned from his shop at Ado about 8.30pm.

“I went to take my bath immediately I came back and while I was coming out from the bath room, I heard an unusual sound in the compound and when I came to my parlour, I saw two young men with mask on their faces with jeans and sophisticated arms. They asked me to bring all the money and I told them the money I made for the day don’t always follow me home but they did not believe.

“The next thing I heard was a knock on my head from one of them and I fell down. I cannot really explain what happened to me until I saw myself at Mararaba hospital after a day. In fact, it was a horrible experience and since then I have been sleeping with a friend in the night at Nyanya near the Mobile Police barracks,” Njoku narrated.

Similarly, a Superintendent of Police (names withheld) formerly serving in the FCT Police Command Medical Services and now with the Kano State Police Command, narrated his ordeal.
“It was a bad experience that still torments my children, especially at night. The robbers came to my house about 8pm. They locked all my children in one room and took my wife to our bedroom while I was in the sitting room.

“They inquired whether I was the police officer that recently moved to the area but I denied and claimed to be a Medical Doctor with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) newly posted to Nyanya Hospital. They asked me to bring all the doctors money on me and I took them to the bedroom where they collected N23,500 and other monies from my wife. They also went away with some electronic items and our new generator,” he narrated.

Another officer serving at the Force Headquarters said he keeps his uniforms in the office or with his dry cleaner and not in his house for fear of men of the underworld in Mararaba.
Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State and a stone throw from the FCT, with a population of over a million people, became a city of refuge during the peak of the demolition exercise embarked upon by the FCT Ministry under Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and the monetization policy of Federal Government during the last days of the immediate past Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Most people rendered homeless as a result of the demolition exercise relocated to Mararaba as well as those affected by the monetization policy that were unable to acquire the houses they occupied. As a result of this unprecedented influx of people to the place, the population exploded with its attendant effect on security.

Sunday Sun investigation revealed that one or two robbery incidents or at least a serious crime is recorded every day, a development that prompted a private security arrangement by some of the residents to complement the effort of the police in the area.
Another victim of the robbery attack, now a widow, who gave her name as Morin, lamented: “It will not go well with the killers of my husband. When the robbers came it was like a dream because we were all sleeping when we heard whistle and thought it was the vigilance group alerting people that they were awake.

Later we heard a hard knock on our door with a threat that if we delayed they will deal with us.
“I insisted that the door should not be opened but it appeared they wanted to break the door. Before my husband tried to open the door, the robbers had gained entry through the back door and pointed a gun at my husband. After beating me, they said I should bring our money and my husband said I should not argue with them. I brought all the money my husband brought from the market, including the one I collected from contribution, all about N87,000.

“After collecting the money, one of them still said we should bring our handsets and we handed everything to them. When they were about to leave, one of them said my husband should pray and as he closed his eyes, they shot him in the chest. He died when we got to the hospital,” she narrated amid tears.
Another victim, Salisu Abdullahi, lamented that he has left the issue in the hands of God, adding that he suspected connivance between the police in the area and the hoodlums.
“I suspect that either the police are not working or they deliberately look the other way while the robbers have a field day whenever and wherever they are operating. Statistics show that whenever the robbers strike, they spent not less than two to three hours on their operation.

“In five years that I have been in this Mararaba, all the robberies, including the one I fell victim, there is no record that the police intervened or averted any one. Almost always after the robbery, you will see police patrol team coming around or sometimes they pass shortly before a robbery incident.
“I want the media to help us appeal to government and the Inspector General of Police to assist us by deploying mobile policemen to patrol this area. We have lost so many people in this place as a result of armed robbery. Is it because we don’t have top government functionaries living among us?” Mallam Abdullahi wondered.

However, some residents of Aso Pada, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the situation has improved in the last one month since a new Divisional Police Officer (DPO) arrived in the area.
The DPO of Mararaba-Guru, Chief Superintendent Adala Peter Danbenji, in a chat with our correspondent, blamed the residents for not reporting the robbery incidents on time, adding that most of the cases were reported a day after the attack.

“You know, they don’t come to the police station to report immediately after the alleged robbery but they go to their work in the morning and come back in the evening to report at the station after the criminals had gone very far,” the DPO said.

He, however, explained that the condition under which the police in Mararaba operate was pathetic, adding that in his past years as a DPO, he had never served in a place like Mararaba.
“I cannot imagine a police division like Mararaba with a population of over a million people and the immediate entrance border to the FCT and just five minutes distance to Abuja City Centre with 80 per cent of the population working in Abuja. We virtually have no working equipment, no standard office.

“Since I arrived this station five months ago, I have recorded about 25 robbery cases and made 20 arrests. I referred 15 out of the cases to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and five of them convicted. I also have 182 personnel with 65 women,” he stated.
Danbeji lamented further that the division has only one rickety pick-up van that cannot be trusted during patrol, adding that the situation has forced him to commit one of his personal vehicles for his men to use for patrol. Our correspondent also reports that the three single-room police station is porous and surrounded by beer parlours, where security is not guaranteed.

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Comments (27)

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