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‘Come down, come down or I shoot you’

By Odita Sunday
25 May 2016   |   1:10 am
Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Olaitan Adeboye, who was robbed in broad daylight with other passengers on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by highway robbers, is thankful to be alive to tell his story.


Lawyer recounts 10 minutes ordeal with robbers on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Olaitan Adeboye, who was robbed in broad daylight with other passengers on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by highway robbers, is thankful to be alive to tell his story.

Narrating his ordeal at the hands of the daredevil robbers, Adeboye said: “It has been my preference to travel by public transport each time I have a matter outside Lagos. The reasons for my preference border partly on safety as the commercial drivers are assumed to be more familiar with the road terrain.

“Typical of an after court room experience for a lawyer, as I took a bow out of an Ibadan High Court on Tuesday, May 17, I reflected over what transpired in the course of the proceeding. Without much hesitance, I headed for Challenge garage to board the next available bus to Yaba, Lagos, to attend to other pressing assignments for the day.

“Just about an hour into the journey, after passing the Second Toll Gate at Ogere and not far from the Shagamu-Abeokuta flyover, the driver suddenly screeched to a halt as he applied the brake. Right in front of us was a slim looking young man of an average height shooting sporadically into the air as he kept retorting ‘Come down or I shoot you’.

“We later discovered that this initial shooting was meant to send signals to his accomplices to emerge from their hideout in the bush. This, they promptly did as they also went for other vehicles behind us, each working on his newfound prey. With his face painted in different colours like that of a masquerade to distort his identity, our captor later went for the driver’s door and forced it open thus giving room for the driver to escape to only God knows where. He later came to the passengers’ side to also force our door open.”

He continued: “With the doors opened, he chose to abandon the other two passengers in the driver’s row and started his raid on the rest of us pointing gun at each person in turn. At each encounter, he would shout, “bring out your money or I shoot”. In quick response, each passenger would empty his pocket and hand it over to him with a supplication that his life be spared.

“He would then snatch the valuable from the person’s hand and dip it into the big purse on his hand. His first target was an elderly woman supposed to be in her seventies. After snatching her wallet, he went further to fondle her breasts in case she was keeping any money there. We later got to know that the old woman was coming from a visit to her grandchildren, all of who had contributed N70,000 for her upkeep.

“Next was my row. Like other passengers, I had emptied my pocket of its content waiting for my turn to hand it over to the masked one. Unfortunately for me, all I had was a paltry sum of N700! Thank God I was not with my A.T.M. card as I usually carry it along with me. Added to this was my two handsets, pile of files and a travelling bag containing my wig and gown.

“Thinking this may spell doom for a decently dressed man like me, I added one of my handsets, the one of lesser quality to the N700 notes waiting for my turn while I stylishly dropped the other one not knowing that he was watching me as I did this. On getting to my turn, he looked at me closely while I also looked into his face. After a further stare from him, I dropped my look for fear of a likely consequence and handed over the money and handset to him.

“Having gone round all passengers in this manner, he ordered all of us to alight from the bus. In quick response, we stampeded ourselves out of the bus. Without being told, we all lay down flat facing the ground inside the mud as it drizzled on us. At this point, he jumped on the bus went for one bag after the other.

“Out of the bags that attracted his attention, mine that contained the wig and gown, reading glasses and files was among. This time, he got hold of my second handset that was dropped earlier and picked it alongside. Done with us, he jumped out, took a closer look at my file bag and discovered it was all books; he flung it by the roadside in abandonment.

“For the fear of being caught in the process, he did not have the patience to examine the content of the other bags, thus he chose to go away with my wig and gown bag alongside the two handsets. It took us couple of minutes to be sure that he had gone with his colleagues on the other side before any of us could muster courage to spring back to our feet.

“By this time, it was 1:45p.m. To imagine that all this took place within a time frame of 10 to 15 minutes was the most incredible thing. It was at this stage that the driver emerged with a man in police uniform.

“As we were nursing our wound, each counting his loss, the said policeman was asking ‘what happened to you, tell me? Show me the way through which they escaped? Can you describe how they looked?’ These and some others questions to which he got no responses left me embarrassed about the helplessness of our security officials,” he concluded.