By Favour Nnabugwu
ONE chance’, a well known dubious strategy used by criminals to dispossess unsuspecting passengers of their hard-earned money , have creeped into the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. These hoodlums always operates in commercial buses and taxis.
In fact, the increase in the nefarious activities of these hoodlums is more noticeable in the suburbs of the city and it is assuming a frightening dimension.
The ugly development has brought safety and security issues to the front burner among residents. Satellite towns such as Gwagwalada, Kubwa, Gwagwa, Jabi, Zuba, Kubwa, Mpape, Berger, among others, are presently groaning under such incessant attacks by bandits such that they are beginning to wonder whether the towns are still parts of the FCT.
However, luck ran out of one of the criminals in an unpainted Volkswagen Gulf cab with registration number plate AG 414 SRP recently.
The middle-aged man, along with four other members of his gang, had allegedly picked an innocent woman that came out from a bank along Ahmadu Bello Way, Garricki after withdrawing money. He was sited and trailed by a taxi driver who discreetly followed the cab behind having sensed that the mission of the four men in the cab when they picked up the victim was suspicious.
While the criminal and his gang were busy robbing their victim, the taxi driver reportedly overtook the unpainted cab and rammed his car into theirs thereby forcing them to stop. That was after they had succeeded in snatching N57,000 cash from the woman’s handbag. Surprisingly, the criminals shared the money immediately in the cab just before three of them escaped leaving only the driver to his fate.
The shouts for help by the woman identified as Mrs. Illesanmi Olasunkanmi drew the attention of passersby including a taxi driver that deliberately rammed into his car. People pounced on the driver of the vehicle and subjected him to serious beatings. He was later lynched to death by the angry mob .
The victim, a civil servant narrated her story to Crime Alert.
‘One chance’ victim
“I boarded the unpainted taxi after leaving the bank with my salary when suddenly one of the passengers started lamenting the tight sitting condition inside the vehicle. Immediately the driver invited me to join the man in the front seat after which he told me that I did not lock the door properly and advised that I open the door again and lock it properly.
As I made to open the door, the driver told me to give him my bag for him to help me hold it so that I can lock the door properly. Because I was conscious of my N57,000 salary which I just withdrew, I rejected the offer and queried the interest of the driver with my bag.
The driver’s insistence however made me to abruptly decide to alight from the unpainted taxi. As I was about coming down from the cab, the driver snatched my bag and pushed me out of the car and sped off. I fell on the tarred road and started screaming and calling for help on realizing that my N57,000 salary has been snatched.”
Mrs. Olasunkanmi told Crime Alert that after both the taxi driver and passers-by came to her rescue, the sum of N22,000 was recovered from the man while another N5,000 which fell from one of the escaping suspects, was also recovered. She advised Abuja residents to be wary of rushing into any vehicle that stopped for them immediately they come out of banks especially when they have made withdrawal of a reasonable amount of money.
Police on ‘one chance’ in Abuja
However, reacting to the development, FCT Police Commissioner, Michael Zuokumor said that crime wave in Abuja metropolis has reduced drastically stating that the command had not received reports of ‘one chance’ robbery in recent times.
The police commissioner at a flag-off of public campaign towards the total eradication of one chance robbery and other violent crimes in the city recently, said that the command has implemented various crime prevention and control strategies that have been yielding positive results since his assumption office months back.
“Several one chance robbery suspects and other perpetrators of violent crimes have been arrested, charged to court and most of them convicted,” he said. He said some of the suspects arrested by the FCT Police Patrol Teams and Special Anti Robbery Squad were apprehended with timely information as well as cooperation by the Taxi Drivers Association and other good public spirited and concerned citizens in the territory.