When the Federal Capital relocated from Lagos to Abuja, little did Nigerians know that this city would harbor hardened criminals who have turned the many uncompleted and uninhabited buildings to the den of ritualists. Yemi Akinsuyi, in this report, writes on the activities of these criminals.
On a first visit to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Africa’s largest country, Nigeria, one could easily mistake it for one of advanced European capital cities. The Capital City is adorned with long and tarred roads and street light powered by solar system, thereby providing 24 hours light for the motorists, and ultra-modern buildings adorning in different colours. Most of the City’s streets are clean and neatly decorated with colourful flowers. Indeed, Abuja is a beautiful city to behold.
But one of the prevalent problems with this beautiful city is that it is unusually expensive. The very high cost of decent accommodation affects all other areas of living, thereby making it difficult for an average Nigerian to live comfortably. Despite the problem, some ugly aspect of Abuja that makes people shiver isthe fact that there are many buildings which are either not completed or not inhabited.
Driving through the city via any of the long expressways, on either side of the road there are complexes of bulky, imposing mansions, most of them unfinished. Some had empty swimming pools; others had mock-Tudor timbering, but were windowless and often roofless. Atta,not his full name,told Daily Assetthat 65% of the houses which were uninhabited, were put up only to launder Abuja’s” dirty money”.
He said:”This is my testimony; I left home on Friday morning to attend to an earlier scheduled appointment in the town. On getting to Berger Bus Stop, I alighted from the vehicle that brought me from my house and entered a cab going towards my place of appointment. While still at the Berger roundabout, the taxi driver told me that he wanted to buy the daily ticket, sold by the Area Councils in Abuja. He slowed down but rather than getting the ticket, two men, one from the right and another from the left bent towards me in the vehicle and pointed guns at me.”
He continued:” I was warned to keep silent or be shot. They both entered the taxi and we drove round the roundabout and later faced a direction. We drove towards an uncompleted building and I was taken to an inner room. A guy came and started asking me some questions. He asked if I had family members in Abuja and I told him no. He asked where I was going and I told him I was going to honour a business appointment. Suddenly somebody from the Church started calling me and the guy asked who she was and I told him she is one of the women in my church. After about fifteen minutes of questioning, he left me. While I was still there, I heard some movement and the guy asked another guy who just came into the building who he was and he told him that there is another prey. I later saw one lady. I suspected she was the prey they were referring to. By this time, I started praying fervently. It was obvious that they are ritualists because they only collected my phones and nothing more. Meanwhile, before I left home something told me to drop my camera bag in my uncle’s car and later collect it from him in his office. I left it with him and only went out with the camera. “
He prayed further:”I prayed and asked God to help and deliver me from the hands of my captors. After sometimes, the man I suspected to be head of the gang came in and asked for the guy that brought me. The guy told him and he ordered that I should be taken out of the building immediately. The guy that brought me pushed me and bent my head towards the same taxi that he used to carry me. He ensured I didn’t raise up my head until we got to the same Berger Bus Stop before dropping me at the point where he picked me. Praise the Lord.”
Brother John, not real name, could be best described as a lucky man. As he was left off the hook of the fowler unhurt, alive and well to tell his story. The luxury which many of such captors did not live to enjoy.
Shortly before John was kidnapped a woman was going somewhere in the heart of Abuja, where she saw a little poster that indicated that there was a vacancy in the building. She decided to give it a try and went in with her three children to get a look at the vacant rooms. On getting into the large compound, whichwas partly completed, the gateman, who pretended not to understand English, pointed towards the inner part of the building. This woman and her three children just headed straight towards the place but were astonished with what they saw.
“As we entered the big room, blood was all the over the place and some hefty men came and started examining me and my children. At this point, I knew I needed to do something to save my life and that of my children. Obviously, we have entered into the den of ritualists. I started praying and pleading the blood of Jesus. I was praying loudly and also shouting. The big man came to me and made move to slap me but on a second thought, he brought down his hands. He warned that I should stop praying and shouting the name of Jesus. I continued and at a point, he just pushed my head towards another room, leaving my children behind. My second child, in tears, told me that Jesus will save us all and that I should not worry but keep praying. One man standing by his side slapped him hard and the boy fell down. I looked back and shouted. This man was furious and said rather than begging, we were praying. I refused to give up even when I was in the other room. Suddenly, I heard the voice of my first child. At this particular point, I thought he had been beheaded, but he was shouting, thinking I had been killed.”
He continued:”After about an hour, another man came into the room where they chained me and ordered that I should be loosed and taken back to the room where my children were kept. On getting there, the big man spoke a strange language and like a flash, we were pushed out of the room. Another man came and blew some substance on us and took us out of the compound.
“By the time I knew what was going on, I found myself and my three children in front of a bus stop around Apo area. The funniest aspect of this scenario is that these guys did not take a dime from me. Not even my phones.”
These are just few lucky ones who had escaped the grip of these ritualists, who had practically turned some of the uncompleted buildings and uninhabited ones into their den.
Recently, some concerned citizens called for tax on such buildings, which are as common as sand in the sea shore. They said by the time Federal Government impose the tax on the owners of these buildings, they would left with no other choice than to complete the uncompleted ones and rent them all out to the residents.