Lagos-Ibadan expressway of robbers

9 years ago by: Aliuniyi lawal
-- (m) at 17-10-2010 01:23PM (9 years ago)

(1374 | Gistmaniac)

It is no longer news that the interstate Lagos-Ibadan Expressway requires more than physical rehabilitation. The road, constructed in the ‘70s, has not only fallen into bad shape, it has become a double carriage-way for robbery attacks on motorists and commuters, reports SAMUEL AWOYINFA

A trader cum housewife, Mrs. Joel (first name withheld) comes to Lagos from her Ibadan base once a week to buy stock for her thriving household care products business. She has done this business, plying the Lagos-Ibadan expressway for so many years, without any mishaps. She and some of her colleagues in the trade normally travelled in a hired commercial bus.

But something tragic happened last January. That fateful Friday, they had smooth business bargains as usual and they were on their way back to Ibadan when the bus suddenly developed a mechanical fault. It stopped abruptly on the long bridge, shortly after they descended the sloppy road after the popular but notorious Berger axis.

It was around 9:30pm. The driver and the passengers, who were mostly women, were perplexed and fear gripped them. Their anxiety was not misplaced. For one, the entire length and breadth of the expressway has no form of lighting. Consequently, it‘s always in darkness once it‘s dusk. Again, security patrol is seriously lacking. Thus, it wasn‘t too surprising that before Joel‘s driver could discover what had gone wrong with the vehicle, they had come under the attack of hoodlums who lurk around dark alleys on the expressway, waiting to pounce on helpless commuters and motorists.

Three night marauders, armed with cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, emerged from the other lane and crossed over to their side. As they sighted them, everybody ran in different directions, but Joel‘s legs could not carry her as fast as she could have wished. One of the bad boys, who was perhaps sex-starved, ran after her, and eventually caught up with her. He molested her sexually! She cried and wailed for help while the ordeal lasted, but there was no one to hear. She later made her way to a nearby newspaper house, where she narrated her ordeal. She was later taken to the hospital for treatment.

Joel is not the only one that has suffered this terrible fate while travelling on the road that links the south to many states of the federation. Many other unlucky road users have either been killed or wounded; while some have been lucky to lose only valuables, as they made good their escape into the bush.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Kwara State, Mr. Billy Adedamola, was attacked at a notorious spot very close to the former toll gate located at Ogere in Ogun State. He was on a trip from Ilorin to Lagos.

Narrating the ordeal which happened two years ago, Adedamola says that it was God that saved his life.

He takes over the story, ”That spot, I later learned, was notorious for armed robbery. I just saw four men emerge from the bush, wielding AK-47 rifles. They took over both sides of the road. They shot into my car, gave me severe beating, using the butt of their guns. I managed to escape into the bush and hid there for over an hour. They took away my laptop, money and other valuables. My car was riddled with bullet holes.”

Adedamola was however taken aback that the bandits could operate for one hour without any challenge from security agents. Moreover, the robbery attack happened in-between two police checkpoints on that road. Worse still, the attack took place in broad daylight - at about 11 am!

After the robbers had left the scene, he said, ”I went to Isara in Remo, Ogun State, and lodged a complaint with the police. The Divisional Crime Officer followed me to the scene of the incident. They later went to the men of the Sapade Police Station to make some inquiries about the robbery.

”But those we met on duty claimed that they could not face the firepower of the robbery gang and that, that was why they stayed away while the robbery was ongoing. The DCO demanded explanation on why they didn‘t call for reinforcement, to which they replied that they had no air time on their phones. He also asked them to explain why they didn‘t radio, and they said the battery of the radio was down,” he adds.

Adedamola laments that there is no security in this country, ”unless you provide your own security. It is quite disgusting,” he states, as he sums up his anguish and disappointment on lack of effective security for the citizenry.

Another victim of robbery attack on that route is Miss Tayo Otegbeye, who is an intern in one of the media houses situated along the expressway. She was on her way home around 8:00pm about a fortnight ago when the commercial bus she boarded developed mechanical fault and stopped abruptly at a spot just before the Kara Market.

Otegbeye and other six passengers disembarked from the bus and decided to trek towards Kara Market. With no lighting of any type except the occasional headlights of passing vehicles, it was pitch dark.

Suddenly, they heard, ”Stop there! Bring your handsets.” It was the husky, Indian hemp- deepened voice barking at them from the rear. When they turned round to see who was talking, they saw two men, one armed with a cutlass that glittered menacingly in the dark, moving towards them with the speed of light.

They all dispersed in different directions, running for dear lives; but small and fragile Otegbeye could not run as fast as her colleagues. The hoodlums caught up with her and snatched her handset, her bag containing some money and a digital camera.

She was lucky to have escaped with some minor bruises on her right arm - a wound she sustained as they pushed her onto the expressway after dispossessing her of her belongings. She was lucky not to have been abused.

Another victim, Mr. Akin Sokoya, who works with a soft sell magazine, Global Excellence, also has a sad experience to share.

Two years ago, he was robbed right inside a commercial bus at the Lagos end of the expressway. Shokoya, who says he lost his December salary to the marauders who were operating what is referred to as ‘one chance,‘ states, ”It was a day I won‘t forget in a hurry. I had just received my December salary and I was heading towards Oworonsoki. I boarded a commercial bus around the secretariat and as we were entering the expressway, someone sitting behind me slapped me from the back. I was dazed, I didn‘t realise that every other person in the bus was a robber and I was the only ‘passenger.‘ They took my midget tape, my money and my handset. Eventually, they threw me out of the bus, and I landed by the pedestrian bridge around Ikosi, Ketu.”

This correspondent also the story of a couple who was robbed at the spot where their vehicle had developed a mechanical fault. The robbers, who were travelling on the road in another car, had stopped, pretending to want to offer a helping hand. The couple froze with fear when their ‘helpers‘ pulled out guns and fleeced them of their money and other personal effects.

Many motorists who ply this route regularly tell our reporter that more often than not, the tyres of their cars regularly pick spikes that they suspect are actually planted on the road by criminals to deflate tyres and immobilize vehicles.

”Driving on that road at night requires one‘s vehicle to be in top condition, and the headlamps must be bright enough to give good illumination,” a respondent warns.

This is so because, but for some filling stations which put on their security flood lights at night, the entire stretch of the road from Lagos to Ibadan is always in pitch darkness. ”If anything happens, one is on one’s own,” Adedamola laments.

The acting Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, a deputy superintendent of police, tells our correspondent on the phone on Tuesday that the Lagos end of the expressway is well policed, and that cases of armed robbery are almost nil in Lagos.

”Lagos is well policed; we always patrol our own area. So, you can talk to the men in Ogun State,” he says.

On his own part, the PPRO, Ogun State Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, an assistant superintendent of police, says while it is not possible to totally rule out crime where we have two or more people, he says the Divisional Police Officers are supposed to patrol their own areas, including the expressway; and ensure that criminals are kept at bay.

He however adds that his unit‘s patrol is determined by the number of vehicles and facilities at their proposal.

He stresses further, ”The DPOs of the areas are supposed to ensure that their men patrol all those areas, and if they are not doing that, the commissioner of police will definitely not be happy with them.

”We have not had cases of robbery attacks on that road lately, because we have heard nothing of such from our men. That is not to say that there have not been one or two cases.”

-- xena15 (f) at 17-10-2010 02:12PM
(6182 | Gistmaniac)

Everyday 4 d thief,one day 4 d owner!

-- Renewed (m) at 17-10-2010 02:38PM
(524 | Upcoming)

God dey

-- ajanni (m) at 17-10-2010 03:27PM
(95360 | Grande Master)

-- Commonsense (m) at 17-10-2010 03:41PM
(772 | Upcoming)

una know say naija no get security. nigeria police is very good in collecting 20 20 naira bribe at check points nothing else.
-- Commonsense (m) at 17-10-2010 03:51PM
(772 | Upcoming)

every citizen in dis country is his or her own security, dont count on the police or else u die for nothing. anytime u look at the nigerian policeman he looks like a somalian pirate. dirty uniform, no mobile radio communication, very bad attitude & low mentality, rickety police vehicles, very bad roads and always ready for corrupt practices. it is only God that saves us when we go out to look for our daily bread.
-- ajanni (m) at 17-10-2010 04:10PM
(95360 | Grande Master)

GOD in you we put our trust now
-- dally007 (m) at 17-10-2010 04:33PM
(1979 | Gistmaniac)

-- ajanni (m) at 17-10-2010 10:01PM
(95360 | Grande Master)

you too render one
-- omoyewmen_lriah (f) at 17-10-2010 11:20PM
(50 | Newbie)

why not the nigeria police force dnt go for help?everyday robbers what are the policemen doing? idiot.....
-- ajanni (m) at 18-10-2010 06:23AM
(95360 | Grande Master)

if the police them catch you so , you will smell your ass
-- mykelly (m) at 18-10-2010 09:59AM
(1123 | Gistmaniac)

same old story
-- Pepesy (f) at 18-10-2010 11:35AM
(2672 | Gistmaniac)

l wish we ve security in dis country...