Abuja, the nation’s capital city, is gradually becoming an urban jungle. All the serenity that once pervaded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are gradually and steadily fading out. The once exemplary African neatest city is gradually shedding that toga and becoming a disorganised jungle, where everything is steadily degenerating.
Abuja which was once a city that hardly experiences power failure is now encircled in darkness. Abuja was a city where traffic congestion was unheard of; a city where least number of crimes are committed; it was the neatest city in the country; it was the city where residents lived with their two eyes closed.
But, all those were then. Abuja that people knew and wished to live in back then in the 80s and 90s, has degenerated to the extent that it is gradually ranked among the most dangerous cities in the country. With the increasing number of ‘One-chance’ vehicle operators prowling the city, life at this once most peaceful city is gradually becoming nasty, brutish and short. It is no longer news that daily crime statistics have not spared Abuja as it is gradually becoming one of the most dangerous cities in Nigeria.
To cite but few examples, not too long ago, every motorist in Abuja, including vehicles belonging to law enforcement agencies, VIPs and even visiting state chief executives, obeyed traffic rules. No so any longer! In fact, law enforcement agents are the worst culprit when it comes to the violation of traffic rules. They drive against the traffic; they overload their vehicles; they move about in out-of-the-road rickety vehicles; they hang out from moving vehicles like actors in a James Bond movie.
Expectedly, normal Abuja residents have joined these uniform personnel in exhibiting these sorts of madness. Abuja residents, especially the non-commercial (‘kabu-kabu’) drivers, beat traffic light at will. They apply the reverse gear even along a terribly busy highway, even at peak hours. They stop any how and anywhere, even at the top of bridges and flyovers to pick and drop passengers.
The worst of it all is that at the moment, all the major road intersections and roundabouts in Abuja have been turned to illegal motor parks with the law enforcement agents either colluding in this infamy or looking the other way. A visit to Area One flyover/roundabout, Area 3 junction, Federal Secretariat/Apo Bridge, Berger Roundabout, Life Camp/Efab Junction, Lugbe Flyover and Car Wash, Wuse Market junctions and bridges, Garki Village/Garki 11 Market axis, Maitama Junction, AYA Roundabout, Mpape Junction, Chika, Aleita, Kuchigoro/Sun City Estate Junctions, Apo Mechanic Flyover, Nyanya/Karu Flyover, Kubwa, Zuba, Gwagwalada, Giri Junction, Kubwa road junctions and several other places, will provide concrete evidence.
It a true fact that people who had witnessed the serenity and order that was in Abuja in the 80s and 90s, hardly believe that Abuja could degenerate so terribly.
Worst of all is that the law enforcement agencies saddled with motor vehicle administration: Federal Road Safety Corps – FRSC; Vehicle Inspectorate Office – VIO, and the Police Traffic Division – Yellow Fever, seem not perturbed about these degenerating situation which is steadily climaxing to serious chaos. These agencies now compete among themselves struggling to generate money, even though their primary responsibility is not strictly revenue generation. It is ironic that rather than concentrate their energies on control traffic and ensure that motorists keep to traffic rules these agencies are struggling to out-compete the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in money-making business.
Equally desirable for immediate attention are environmental issues. Before now, FCT authorities had outlawed indiscriminate motor mechanics operating everywhere, especially at the residential neighbourhood. But now, those rules are kept in the breach. Not only do we have mechanics operating their dirty workshops everywhere within residential areas, even firewood sellers and mobile hoteliers (kabu-kabu) pitch their illegal tents all over city center.
It has however been discovered that such breaches of environmental regulations take place with the active connivance of Task Force and officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB). Severally, The AUTHORITY editors have accosted AEPB officials collecting bribes from environmental rule violators, rather than enforcing the rules as instructed. Such acts of indiscipline go to the root of both traffic and environmental violation in the FCT.
With the degenerating situation, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the Inspector-General of Police, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC and the Director of the Directorate of Road Transport Services (VIO), should wake up to their primary responsibilities and immediately restore order in Abuja. If the situation is not immediately halted, Abuja will soon transform to a jungle and a terrible one at that. With the increasing number of house burglary and sundry crimes, urgent measures must be taken to halt these degenerate tendencies, otherwise Abuja will transform to the worst city in the country.