By Femi Ogunshola, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Do you live in Abuja and drive a Toyota or Mazda vehicle? An extra security measure could save you the trouble of being a victim of car theft.
Car thieves are on the prowl in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the nation’s capital; with Toyota, Mazda and other fuel-consumption friendly vehicles as their targets.
Being a victim of car theft is usually a harrowing experience.
Ayo Adigun, an immigration officer, was a victim of these car thieves, when on a Saturday evening he drove his Toyota Camry to a pharmacy shop at Federal Housing Lugbe, to buy medicine.
At exactly 8: 20 p.m. he returned to where his car was parked, but to his chagrin, the brown Camry had disappeared.
Confusion, anxiety and endless questions enveloped the officer, who kept soliloquising with unmitigated gesture of where and how he parked his car.
Adigun immediately went to the Divisional Police Station, Lugbe, to lodge a complaint, but was stunned, as a Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), officer came to report related matter of stolen vehicle, also a Toyota Camry.
Adigun said that the police promised to recover the car, but according to him, their effort has not yielded any fruit.
Narrating her own experience, Tina Auta, a journalist, whose Toyota Corolla car, model 2002, was also stolen while on an assignment at the Federal Secretariat, Central Business District, Abuja, said the situation was disturbing.
Auta said that her silver Toyota Corolla registered as MKA 103 AY Kaduna, was last seen around Federal Secretariat Abuja on Sept. 30.
She parked the car at the Federal Ministry of Health park around 1p.m. to keep an appointment at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, ahead of the Independence Day celebration.
“I spent less than 20 minutes there because the appointment was cancelled. I did not meet my car at the point I parked it,” she said.
Auta said that she had earlier asked for direction to the ministry from those sitting around the car park, adding that she assumed the thief followed her to the park.
According to her, when I panicked on noticing that the car was missing, some of the bystanders advised me to enquire from the FRSC Vehicle Inspection Officer in the secretariat if they had towed the vehicle.
She said findings later revealed that the car was not towed by the VIOs. They then suggested she lodge a complaint at the police command in the secretariat where they radioed the car details.
It was a devastated Malam Abubakar Muhammed, who was at the Maitama General Hospital to welcome his new born baby, but got the shock of his life when he could not trace his Toyota Corolla, when it was time to return home.
Muhammed had earlier parked at the premises of the Maitama General Hospital, where parking space was usually allotted to visitors, but on getting out he discovered the car had vanished.
According to Muhammed, I immediately reported to the nearest police station, but my effort was an exercise in futility, as the police told me that car theft and especially Toyota products have been rampant.
Fatima Aliu, an Abuja resident advised car owners to be careful when in car-theft prone areas like Wuse Market and the banks, when they go to withdraw money from ATM.
She stated that it was tempting to park in those areas, adding that the areas were the abode of car thieves, where they operate daily.
The FCT Police Command, said it would embark on rigorous stop-and-search of vehicles following increasing cases of car theft in Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, said the police had installed CCTV cameras in about 20 points to check crime in the FCT.
“Currently we have about 20 different points where we monitor on daily basis through CCTV cameras within FCT, and we are expanding it to cover the remaining areas.
According to him, one of the strategies to stop crimes, whether it is car theft or anything that has to do with theft in the city, is the use of CCTV and constant patrol for prevention.
Mr Ebube Nwafor, Sales Manager, Nethinim Technologies, urged car owners to get a pedal lock, steering lock, gear lock, car tracker and a comprehensive insurance.
He decried the high level of ignorance about car tracking, adding that some people do not know where to go and install car tracker.
Nwafor stressed the need to install car tracker, which he noted was not too expensive.
He said: “There is a tracker that goes for as low as N40,000, and when you take a look at the price, compared to the cost of the vehicle, it will be better to install the car tracker in the vehicle.
“ This tracker can be transferred from one car to the other.
“The life span of this tracker is up to 15 years, so if you use N40, 000 to install a tracker in a vehicle, and still use it for another vehicle, it is worth it,” he said.
Nwafor said that the main function of tracker is to prevent a car from being stolen; adding that if stolen even at a gun point, with tracking device it could be recovered.
He said that most cars with tracking devices stolen were recovered by the company, and advised car owners to install trackers in their vehicles as a safeguard.