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The city of Lagos and security


Ikoyi TrafficThe day was Thursday, the 7th of January 2016; the city of Lagos was still not in full swing, as vehicular traffic jam was practically non-existent. Lugubrious faces of Lagosians going about their daily business; trying to make a living. I had a meeting to attend which was slated for 2pm. In the afternoon, I caught up with two other persons who had to accompany me for the meeting and we drove to the rendezvous. Our destination was one of the estates in Ikoyi; so we decided to take the Alfred Rewane road (the road where one would find the NNPC mega station and some sprawling and “not in view” expensive hotels).

On this famous road, there were cars due to the traffic lights. My other colleagues were chatting while I, seated at the back, listened to the phone radio.

As we waited for the green traffic light; a man alighted from a motorcycle better known as okada and took a few steps backwards, walked to the driver’s side of a white Land Rover and shouted. The car we were in was just three cars behind the white SUV. The SUV was on the right lane while the car we were in was on the left lane.

From our “front row seats”; it was glaring the assailant shot at the driver’s window and nothing happened. The driver in the white SUV manoeuvred and gained a bit of space for himself and sped off; into the adjoining street on his right side. The assailant got on the bike and his cohort sped off; into the same street (probably in hot pursuit of the fleeing driver).

What you just read happened in a flash and it happened at 1.17pm (I checked my wristwatch) as I composed and posted the first, second and third tweets about what I just witnessed. A picture or pictures would have been a “brilliant” idea but for some strange reason; my camera which for that week was always in my breast pocket; was tucked in its case in the deep recess of my bag. Be that as it may, the incident happened quickly that one couldn’t have remembered the camera.

The three occupants in the car analysed what we had just witnessed. We concluded that the driver in the white SUV had ample time to make a getaway. As the green traffic light came on and as we continued the journey, I noticed the street cum traffic jam hawkers who witnessed the incident, looked bewildered. Who would not?

My eye witness tweets on the incident also tagged @Gidi_Traffic and @PoliceNG. From the Police twitter handle, I did not get any feedback. From the Gidi Traffic twitter handle; responses came in from concerned citizens.

A day later (Friday), I was informed my tweet got a mention on a popular blog visited by all and sundry primarily for soft and general news. I don’t visit the blog but since I was sent the link, I clicked and read through the story and read the comments.

The next day, a Saturday, I got yet another link from the same source, informing me that a friend of the driver wrote or posted what happened. I read through his post and wondered if my eyes deceived me; and if my other colleagues’ eyes played tricks on them too.

On Monday the 25th of January 2016; I caught up with the friend who drove the three of us to our meeting. After discussing; I remembered the incident and asked him what he saw, just in case one was in doubt. Succinctly put, three sets of eyes could not have been wrong.

What prompted this piece was a speech by the Lagos State Governor; Mr Akinwunmi Ambode at an event where he spoke about security in Lagos State. I picked up his comments on Lagos State being very secure. Whether what I witnessed was an assassination attempt of a car jack gone wrong; for such to have happened in broad day light on a busy road in highbrow Ikoyi; well, I leave you (the reader) to score your area or location in terms of security.

It would be insensitive to take individual tales of such incident and more others which go unreported with levity or take a laissez-faire attitude towards the security of lives and property in Lagos State.

Dolapo Aina,
Lagos, Nigeria

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  • Carlos el Primero

    Brilliant piece – it is easy for Ambode to conclude that security has improved, with the retinue of soldiers and police that look after his own welfare. We need to do more and improve our intelligence, patrol and surveillance as per counter measures. We also need more strategic initiatives to put more people into gainful employment because poverty and hopelessness breeds crime; especially in societies where some other types of “robbers” flaunt their wealth in the face of everyone else.

  • emmanuel kalu

    Lack of Infrastructure creates this kind of insecurity. lack of jobs create this kind of criminals and lack of proper policing allows for this to happen and for the criminals to get away. Road side crimes would not be reduced until Lagos road ways move more freely. crime would not be reduce until people and streets are not in darkness, and the police are actually doing their jobs. crime would not reduce, when there are abundant supply of young people with no hope, skill or avenue to earn a living. Sadly, all these can be easier solved if we had leaders willing and able to do the job.