GUNMEN suspected to be bandits have reportedly kidnapped a director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Aondo Ver, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
According to Punch Newspaper, Ver was kidnapped from his residence in the Bwari Area Council of the FCT’s Pambara Extension, some 200 meters from a military post.
The bandits were reported to have struck on Thursday at 1:30 a.m., intermittently firing and inciting fear across the neighbourhood.
They made their way into the nearby bush with the victim.
According to residents who confirmed the incident on Thursday, February 1, military personnel were stationed at a facility known as ‘Camp’, located roughly 200 meters from the location where the official was abducted.
Attempts to confirm the incident from the FCT Police Command spokesperson, Josephine Adeh, were unsuccessful as she neither picked up calls The ICIR put across to her nor responded to messages sent to her mobile line.
The ICIR reported that FCT residents fled their homes in Bwari Area Council over bandit attacks and kidnappings.
In Nigeria, gunmen make fortunes from kidnapping citizens on highways, homes, schools and farms.
Between July 2022 and June 2023, a total of $387,179, translating to N302 million, was paid as ransom to kidnappers in the country, according to SBM Intelligence.
This amount represents six per cent of the total N5 billion ($6,410,256 as of June 30 2023) the kidnappers requested within the period, the intelligence gathering platform revealed.
Despite being Nigeria’s seat of power, more than four hundred residents of FCT have been kidnapped from 2018 to June 2023, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST).
According to media reports, residents of Abuja experienced an upsurge in kidnapping activities towards the end of 2023, and it continued into the new year.
Kidnappings, one-chance activities and other security challenges in the FCT symbolise similar crises across Nigeria.
According to data obtained by The ICIR, over 380 persons were kidnapped between December 1, 2023, and January 3, 2024, across Nigeria under President Bola Tinubu.
Data obtained from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a data bureau collecting data on the locations, dates, actors, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events worldwide, shows that those abducted include men, women, farmers, children, and students.
The victims were taken hostage at various events that happened during the last month of 2023 and the first week of the new year, illustrating the escalating number of kidnapping cases in the country.