…..FCT Commercial Vehicles to Compulsorily Wear Designated Colour Soon
The Federal Capital Territory is ready and gearing up to work with the states contigual to it to bring an end to insecurity in the territory.
This disclosure was made by the FCT Minister in the course of his first media chat for the year 2024 which held on Monday, having noted that most kidnapping incidents occur in the boundary areas of the territory.
The Minister said: “When I came on board, as part of the hand over notes, there is a section where the governors of the four states and the FCT try to form a coalition on how they can support each other to reduce the level of insecurity amongst the boundary states and the FCT, but it was not implemented.
“But the governors are settled now after the elections. So, we will be having our first meeting next week which FCT is going to host the four states that share borders with the FCT in order to fully implement the cooperation between the four states and the FCT, because if we don’t do that it will be difficult because we need the support of Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger and Kaduna states and majorly, Kaduna and Niger”.
.He said most of the bandits when flushed out of the states run into forests bordering the states and the FCT and eventually into the FCT. The Minister also commended the Nigeria Army for their efforts in flushing out the criminals, adding that they could do more with more motivation.
“We are talking about forest that runs into thousands of hectares. Our soldiers have tried within their capacity. From time to time, they raid these forests but they can’t remain there permanently because they don’t have the resources and personnel to keep them there permanently. And as they move out, some of these bandits come in again. But with what we are doing now, and the support of the various area councils, we think they will soon be a thing of the past”, he assured.
The Minister also disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has granted an emergency approval for procurement of digital tracking devices to aid the fight against kidnapping and other violent crimes in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Barr. Wike who noted that the lack of adequate equipment in the past led to recent unpleasant events, said with the emergency procurement approval by the President, the story would soon change in the FCT.
The Minister also applauded the emergency approval by the President, saying it has eliminated the delay that would have been encountered in going through the normal procurement process.
According to Barrister Wike, the purchase of the special equipment will enable the security agencies to track criminals to their exact location in the city adding that it would help to limit criminal activities.
According to the Minister, “So, what we have done with Mr. President, giving us approval for emergency procurement, we have been able to identify what each of the agencies need and we will be able now to provide them”.
He also disclosed that the FCT Administration will provide motorcycles to ease specific movements of the security agencies in difficult terrains to enable them tackle insecurity in the nation’s capital.
The Minister said he learnt on assumption of office that the Nigeria Police Force had requested the procurement of motorcycles to enable them go into places vehicles could not get to, including remote and mountainous areas
“The basic thing is having identified all these and the security agencies have told us this is what they require, we have to do the needful. We have even gone further to ask the state director of DSS about what they would need to tackle this menace. What kind of equipment do you want? Not that if anything happens, you have to run to your headquarters to seek assistance,” he remarked.
Stressing that the government was not resting on its oars, the Minister said some of the informants recently arrested by security agencies were cooperating and giving useful intelligence, adding that the information extracted from the informants had led to the arrest of some kidnappers as well as the foiling of more attacks.
The FCT Minister, however stressed the need for information sharing among security agencies saying it is key to unravelling the issue of insecurity in the nation’s capital.
Barr. Wike also stated that the FCT Administration will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the safety of lives and property in the FCT, added that every resident has a role to play to combat insecurity in the FCT.
He said: “Our going out to involve the natives, the Area Councils, is to let them know that they also have a role to play and that information is key. We were able to encourage the area councils to have vigilante groups to be able to give security agencies information. We were able to know firsthand, their own peculiarities, their own problems”.
As part of measures taken to check insecurity, especially “one chance”, the Minister said henceforth, all commercial vehicles in the FCT would be registered and painted in the colors of the FCT. He stressed that no unregistered vehicle would be allowed for commercial purpose in the FCT.
He said: We are not going to allow vehicles that are not with FCT colors, registered by the FCTA to ply commercially. So you as a passenger will not go and enter a vehicle you don’t know. Even uber will have to be registered. Who are these drivers? We need to certify them and the security agencies profile them. This is a city. If we don’t have rules, then there will be problems.
The Minister expressed worry that the FCT does not have vehicle terminals for the various areas of the territory, this, he said, was a source of security concern as commuters board vehicles on the road to the detriment of their lives.
To address this, Barr. Wike said, “By the grace of God, what we plan to do in this fiscal year is to at least start with three terminals so that we know the buses and taxis that will carry people from that terminal so that nobody takes that risk to go on the road to wait for taxis. With that we will be able to reduce crime.
“I am not saying that with the provision of these there will be no crime, no, it is not possible. Anybody that says that is not telling you the truth”.
The Minister who called for more motivation for security operatives to discharge their duties better, also stressed the need for stiffer penalties for criminals as part of ways to check criminality in the FCT.
He said the FCTA on its part will continue to support the security agencies and urged residents to cooperate with the security operatives to secure lives and property in the FCT.