In a commendable act of bravery and unity, vigilant neighbours thwarted a kidnapping attempt by individuals impersonating Nigerian Army officers on Saturday, September 16, in the Kabusa-Lokogoma area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The incident unfolded in the early hours when three suspected kidnappers, cunningly disguised in the Nigerian Army’s camouflage uniforms, arrived at the residence of Mr Justice Ezeh in Dogongada village.
They approached the property in a navy blue Peugeot car with tinted windows and conspicuously lacked a rear number plate, although a front plate bearing AX-506-BWR was affixed.
Eyewitnesses reported that two of the impostors were clad in military attire, while the third was dressed in civilian clothing. Around 12 p.m., one of them brazenly entered Mr. Ezeh’s room to abduct and force him into their vehicle.
A resident named Kingsley, who became suspicious of the situation, immediately rallied other male neighbours, believing that soldiers had arrived to harass Mr. Ezeh. To their astonishment, it became evident that these were not genuine military personnel but criminals with sinister motives.
Mr Ezeh, the intended victim, thanked his vigilant neighbours for their timely intervention. He acknowledged that he might have lost his life or faced captivity without their courageous response.
Recalling the incident, Mr. Ezeh stated, “They arrived at my house around 12 p.m., with one of them entering my room, another staying within the compound, and the third individual, dressed casually, positioned outside.
They were armed with an electric shock device and arrived in a car with tinted windows and no rear number plate.”
“They attempted to forcibly remove me, but I shouted for help. They could not provide a valid reason for their actions and claimed they were arresting me. When neighbours responded to my cries for help, they fabricated allegations of fraud against me without offering any evidence.”
Determined not to be deceived, the neighbours requested the impostors to contact the police or the EFCC if their accusations held any merit. However, the criminals failed to produce identification, further raising suspicions. Residents captured video evidence of the incident as it unfolded.
Recognizing the potential dangers of such impersonations, the FCT Police Command issued a cautionary advisory to residents. The Commissioner of Police, Haruna Garba, disclosed that the police had initiated a crackdown on vehicles displaying unauthorized number plates.
This move followed public concerns regarding vehicles in the FCT using incomplete or foreign number plates in conjunction with Nigerian ones.
In response to the attempted kidnapping, the FCT Police Command spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, assured the public that the police would actively pursue the culprits.
She reiterated the CP’s commitment to enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward vehicles with incomplete number plates, emphasizing their link to criminal activities.
When contacted, the Nigerian Army’s spokesperson, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, pledged that the Army would intensify efforts to apprehend the perpetrators, emphasizing the potential risks posed by such criminals driven by monetary gains.
The Provost Marshal and the Chief of Military Intelligence were promptly informed to aid in their capture.
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