Residents and those doing business in the Awka Capital City can attest to the fact that the city is no longer safe. Amid the scourge of cult related killings ravaging the city, a new trend of criminality has emerged and that is the spate of robberies in commercial vehicles and on the streets at all times of the day. In fact, no area of the capital city is safe and many residents have at one time or the other fallen victim to or witnessed the crime.
Usually, people who board such commercial vehicles as tricycles (keke) and shuttle buses are liable to be dispossessed of their possessions such as mobile phones or money. Sometimes, they don’t know when such are taken from them, while at other times, they are forced at gun point to surrender them. And most times, nothing happens as the robbers get away with their crime.
Even those who walk on the streets are not spared. Cases abound where people are robbed in broad daylight on the streets, even in the full glare of other members of the public who can do nothing.
There are also incidents of kidnappings, both in daytime and nighttime. In some cases, people are blocked by the kidnappers and dragged out of their vehicles and whisked away in the kidnappers’ vehicles. The usual thing is that such victims will be blindfolded and driven round the city while their bank accounts are drained through their ATM Cards. They are then forced to call some people to transfer money to their accounts to facilitate their release. At the end of the day the victims are dropped off in some isolated spot, usually in the night.
One of such victims, after being driven round and round the city all day, thought he had been dropped off in another city or community in the night, not knowing he was still in Awka.
When he had asked someone for directions to Awka, the person had been surprised and told him he was in the Agu Awka Area near Finotel Hotel which is in the outskirts of the Awka Capital City. The victim did not know he was still in Awka because he had been blindfolded and driven round the city all day.
Such criminals feel safe within the city as the only major police check point is at Amawbia Flyover. Thus, except they are intercepted by patrolling police teams or vigilantes, or the security teams receive tip offs, the criminals will never be found out. This has made life in the capital city uncomfortable.
We are therefore calling for more proactive policing and cooperation by members of the public to combat this menace. Strategies should be adopted by the security agencies to combat this. We believe they know what measures to take, especially as security matters are not discussed in public.
Awka, as the capital city, must be made as safe as possible for business to thrive, because if the capital city cannot be made safe, it can only be imagined what will be the fate of other cities and communities in the state.