Lagos residents raise concerns over one-chance car robberies

Before now, these criminals operated in commercial buses, but have now changed to passenger cars because their previous mode of operation had become known.
CP Abiodun Alabi

Abiodun Alabi
Lagos State police commissioner Abiodun Alabi
Lagos residents are raising the alarm over operations of one-chance car robbers in the metropolis.
The robbers, who are always in unmarked cabs, capitalise on Lagos’s early morning rush to steal from unsuspected residents.
Most of the victims are ladies, who easily hop inside these cars on their way to work in the morning or on their way back in the evening.
Before now, these criminals operated in commercial buses, but have now changed to passenger cars because their previous mode of operation had become known.
Recently a woman, Olamide Azeez, was affected when suspected one-chance robbers, operating in an unmarked car, stole her life savings at Ikosi, in the Ketu area of Lagos State.
The victim boarded the cab from Toll Gate, Ikosi, while heading for work at Victoria Island around 6:00 a.m. on Friday, September 29, 2022.
However no sooner had she entered the car than the assailants beat her up and robbed her of her ATM card.
Narrating her ordeal, Azeez  said, “ the robbers  made away with my life savings,-all N910,000; my iPhone XR, N4,300 cash, earrings, wristwatch, and Oraimo EarPods.” 
According to her, the money was withdrawn at point-of-sale terminals between 6.45 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., while holding her hostage.
She further provided the contact details of the registered owner of the PoS.
She said: “Those robbers slapped me twice before I gave them my PIN and they put Aboniki ( hot balm) inside my eyes when they dropped me at Marwa Gardens, Alausa, at about 7:20a.m.”
It was learnt that the case was reported at the Alausa and Ikoyi police stations on September 30, 2022.
However, the victim said nothing had been done by the police since she made the report.
“I am traumatised, helpless, and I do not know what to do. Where do I start? It took me years to save that much, and to see it wiped all in one go! Please come to my aid. Can the names on the PoS be tracked? Can I get my money back? Please help,” she added.
While Azeez was lucky to be alive, another victim, who boarded a cab to the Island from Oshodi on her way to work was not lucky as her body was discovered a day after, mutilated at Oyingbo.
Residents alleged that she was thrown out of the car by robbers and could have been hit by other vehicles.      
Reacting to Azeez’s case,  the state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin,  said the state laws forbid the police from tracking people’s bank accounts without the consent of their lawyers.
He said: “In this case, the victim should approach her lawyer, who will, in turn, go to the police for a duplicate of her statement, which the police will readily provide. She will get a court order and from there other necessary steps will be taken. Without these, nothing significant will be done, except visiting the crime scene and other frontline investigations.”

However, to tackle the menace and ensure that laws and regulations guiding the operation of all commercial vehicle operators are complied with, the state Government at the weekend warned all commercial bus operators to ensure that their vehicles are painted red or yellow with black stripes or be impounded.
General Manager of the State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Bolaji Oreagba gave the warning over the weekend in Oshodi, stressing that the Agency will commence an enforcement exercise on all unpainted commercial vehicles from today, November 7 across the state.
He said: “ The warning was to ensure that commercial bus operators, especially those on intra-state services comply with the existing Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018 to restore sanity on the roads and protect the lives and property of Lagosians.
“All minibuses known as ‘Danfo’, including ‘Korope’ should be painted in yellow colour with black stripes while mass transit buses with two doors are to be painted with approved red colour by operators.”
Oreagba also noted that all buses that have been authorised to ply Victoria Island and its environs with an approved colour must all be registered through the various established offices.
The General Manager urged all commercial bus operators to comply with the warning in their own interest, adding that officers of LASTMA have been directed to impound any commercial bus not painted in the approved Lagos State colour of red or yellow with black stripes and that any vehicle impounded will not be released until the needful is done in accordance with the Law.

“Also, all approved area shuttle buses must henceforth restrict their operations to their ‘approved’ areas of coverage as anyone caught outside their jurisdiction would be impounded and charged to court accordingly,” he stated.

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