Without a doubt, insecurity is one major challenge Nigerians across the country are grappling with in recent years, in addition to a harsh economic situation that is shooting up cost of living almost daily.
Aside from terrorism, banditry and arson endemic in some regions, other violent crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery and traffic robbery are rampant across the country, especially in major metropolitan cities such as Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) and Lagos.
Investigations by Daily Trust have shown that there are some blackspots notorious for criminal activities in the FCT, Nigeria’s seat of power, and Lagos – the nation’s economic capital.
According to statistics released by the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Julius Berger Roundabout, Maitama District, Mabushi, Apo Roundabout, Area 1 and 3, Galadimawa, Airport Road and Wuse 2 are among the top dangerous spots identified in the city centre.
The agency also said hoodlums disguising as taxi drivers operate on Airport Road, Nicon junction and Utako/Jabi axis.
The authorities equally discovered that the hoodlums use uncompleted buildings, highways with speed breakers, pedestrian bridges, crowded markets, parks and deserted streets as their hideouts.
Uncompleted buildings, which the FCT Administration has put at about 500 scattered across the city, are now dens and safe havens for kidnappers to keep their victims.
Below are 10 flash points in Abuja and Lagos as well as criminal acts usually perpetrated in those red zones.
Apo Roundabout is located along Nnamdi Azikiwe Express Way, Garki 2. It is one of the most popular bus stops in Abuja and regarded as one of the most unsafe areas, especially at night. Cases of rape and sexual harassment of ladies as well as snatching of phones and other items from passersby have been reported many times in the area.
It was learnt that attackers usually descend from the hill close to the roundabout, which has been raided by security operatives. But despite these raids and arrests, nefarious activities persist at the spot.
Airport Road is one of the busiest highways in Abuja city. Over the years, there has been an upsurge of crime rates in the area, according to reports. One of the victims, Brother Ike, narrated to Daily Trust how he came across some hoodlums on the road.
He said, “On Sunday, February 6 around 6.20am, I was driving to Dunamis Gospel Church along Airport Road with my younger brother when my vehicle developed a fault which made me park by the roadside to look for a mechanic.
“As soon as I crossed to the other side of the road, three men with rifles accosted and bundled me into a tinted Corolla car and drove off. But after driving me around the town and robbing me, they dropped me off on the road and zoomed off without traces.”
Area 1 Roundabout
The Area 1 Junction which links Wuse, Apo, and Durumi districts is another busy road in the capital city. There have been several reports of robbery within the environment, particularly under the bridge, according to residents. The area is said to be dangerous late evening and early morning.
Julius Berger Junction:
The Julius Berger Junction is notorious for brisk robbery and has been dubbed “One Chance Zone” as drivers who engage in the act at night prefer to pick their unsuspecting victims from the bus stop.
Victims have narrated how they lost their belongings to the criminals within short intervals. From the accounts of victims and hospital sources, the people had been robbed of their phones, money and were injured or sometimes maimed.
Long Bridge on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Popularly known as Long Bridge, stretching from Warewa, Ogun State to the Kara end, inwards Lagos State, the spot is infamous for ‘one chance’ and sometimes kidnapping. On many occasions, hoodlums have cashed in on the perennial gridlock on the axis to rob motorists and commuters stuck in traffic.
Findings by Daily Trust revealed that criminals usually hide under the bridge and strike mostly at night when gridlock ensues or a vehicle breaks down.
Disturbed by the spate of crime on the route, host communities recently came up with the plan of installing streetlights on the Long Bridge to deter criminals.
Ojota-Ketu-Alapere axis in Lagos is another major blackspot motorists are wary of. Traffic robbery holds sway along the corridors in the early hours of the day and late evening when the road is busy.
It was learnt that miscreants loitering around lawns in the area will pounce on motorists held in traffic, break their car window glasses and quickly rob them before disappearing into thin air.
In some cases, the thugs sternly demand money from drivers with a threat to attack them if they fail to accede to their demand. However, police have increased patrols to check the crime in the area in the wake of public outcry.
Old Apapa Road
There have been recurring bloody cult clashes on Old Apapa Road, Ebute-Meta, which had claimed many lives and left several others injured.
The head of a local security outfit in the neighbourhood, Mr Musbau Agbodemu, told one of our correspondents that the hoodlums are mostly teenagers.
“They are boys between 17 and 20 years old. They use the opportunity of clashes to rob innocent traders and passersby of their valuables, including cash and phones,” he lamented.
In a raid on criminal hideouts in Ebute Meta on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 by a combined team of operatives from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Special Squad and Lagos State Taskforce, about 100 suspects were arrested.
“Many weapons and substances suspected to be Indian hemp, drugs, suspected stolen items etc were recovered from them,” a former police spokesperson in the state, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, had stated.
Mile 2 is notorious for reckless conduct of commercial motorcycle riders, well known as okada riders. In the evening, unscrupulous elements exploit the rowdiness of the area to engage in pickpocket, phone snatching, among others. Commuters are always on the alert to avoid falling victim.
Agege area is known for a brand of cult group known as Awawa Boys – a violent gang comprising largely youths. They use shanties as their hideouts and strike mostly under the cover of the night. Miscreants and smokers move freely around the railway line in the area and accost passersby at late hours, dispossessing them of their belongings.
Policemen attached to the Lagos State Taskforce and Rapid Response Squad have raided the flashpoints in the neighbourhood many times to stem the criminal activities.
Despite a concerted effort by security agents to rid Oshodi of crime, some parts of the area remain dangerous to pass at dawn and night. Some sections of the railway line that runs through the metropolis are home to drug addicts and criminals engaging in pickpocket and phone snatching.
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