Despite efforts by the Federal Government to mitigate the maltreatment of Nigerian citizens by security agencies within the nation, such efforts may have all gone down the drain as more and more cases of abusive reproach is being reported on a daily basis especially in a city perceived to be a sanctuary for every Nigerian Citizen.
Investigations by SecretReporters reveals that the Center of Unity has now turned into a haven for touts popularly known as Agberos who incessantly harass commercial vehicle drivers and commuters alike under the guise of “Task Force Team” or “Union” all in the name of checking for NURTW and other mandated tickets. These operations most times are illegal and carried out without the authorization and knowledge of the Federal Capital Territory Administration and Abuja Metropolitan Council.
The “Federal Touts” we learnt usually parade the state capital and its outskirts unhindered, operating from areas like Area1, Jabi, Gwarinpa, Kubwa, Wuse, Garki, Mabuchi, Nyanya and central business districts of Abuja where they disguise as passengers and flag down unsuspecting commercial drivers. Once the driver stops innocently, they impound the vehicle and seize the car key. Failure to cooperate with them even when the driver has the complete papers and tickets demanded usually result to deflation of the car tyres or removal of the car plate number thereby forcing the victim to their hideout at Jabi which they use as an office.
According to drivers who in most cases are the victims, these callous acts have become a serious threat to their business as many of them have gone bankrupt due to the daily harassment and extortion which ranges from N5,000 to N10,000. One of the commercial taxi drivers, who pleaded anonymity revealed to our reporter how he was recently attacked by these vicious men.
“I was attacked by the Agberos along Area 3 junction when I picked up a friend who is new in town. Before I knew it, my keys were forcefully removed from the ignition and I was taken to their office where I paid a sum of #10,000 before I was released…” He further stated, “My plea meant nothing to them as the more I pleaded, the more harm was done to my car”.
The driver further stated that these reckless individuals give no heed to explanations, but in anger, puncture vehicles tyres and destroy car seats. More alarming is the fact that though they operate illegally, they still claim and act as if they are authorized to do so. They cover up their actions by claiming to arrest people who are not legalized taxi drivers, and in turn issue illegal receipts and documents to those who fall prey.
Though it is alleged that petitions have been written to the FCT Administration and the municipal council on several occasions with no positive feedback, indigenes and residents of Abuja are calling on the relevant authorities to immediately swing into actions and stop these vicious activities which is gradually becoming a norm and degrading the status of Abuja as a Capital Territory.