Against the backdrop of recent cases of robbery attacks on pedestrians on Abuja roads, Chika Mefor reports that the situation is becoming scary
Ade Gabriel when he left office for home, one Thursday evening, he never knew he would be left, not only stranded, without his laptop, phone and money but also have to visit the hospital with wounds inflicted on him by some hoodlums.
Gabriel, a journalist, had as usual stopped at the top of the Mabushi Bridge, going down the usual route he follows every day after work.
Under the bridge, he was accosted by three men who demanded he surrender his phone, wallet and laptop.
“This was happening around 7pm. That is to tell you that it was not late as there was vehicular movement,” Gabriel began his story. “I wanted to ignore them when one of them brought an ugly looking knife. The other person brought out a dagger. Even before I could say jack, the one with the knife stabbed me twice on my hand. He moved to my head but I blocked it with my hand and he stabbed me on my arm.
“The others were busy going through my things. They took everything I had. And ran away.”
Gabriel added that some passerby who saw him, cleaned him up a little, paid for his transport fare to Kubwa where his family promptly took him to hospital.
“It wasn’t an experience I would like to get again,” he said.
For Mercy Okeke, her experience left her with a trauma she is yet to overcome. She had left her work place of work late around 8.30pm. She was under the Apo Bridge where she always boarded a cab to Area 1 when two men approached her.
“Immediately,” she said, “I knew there was trouble.” They told her to hand over her money but the only money she had with her was N200. “They were angry that I had just N200. They asked for my phone, I told them I don’t have any, meanwhile my phone was hidden inside my under wear. That’s what I always do when I close late,” she said.
Okeke stated that when the hoodlums saw that they were getting only N200 from her, they decided that they would rape her.
“We were struggling when as God would have it, a vehicle came along and flashed his headlight on them. They just turned and ran away,” she said.
She said that the experience had left her so traumatized that she was not able to go to work for days. She had even lost the job when her superior in the office could not understand why she did not simply return to work when she was not injured.
Many residents of the territory have terrible stories to tell on how they have been attacked by robbers. Bus stop and under pedestrian bridges are potential areas where they attack their victims, robbing them of their possessions or even injuring them. Some of the victims have been left dead after being dispossessed of their belonging as was the case of Michael Ibebuogu.
Ibebuogo was said to have left his brother’s house at Apo, Abuja for Suleja, Niger State on May 27, 2018 but never arrived at his destination.
A five member armed robbery gang that robbed unsuspecting passengers in their taxi had picked him up at a bus stop and he joined them without knowing it was his last day on earth.
The suspects, Ebuka Ezeanyido, 28; Chidebe Okocha, 36; Chukwuma Amichie, 30; Augustine Agbo, 32; and Chinedu Obi, 25, were paraded recently by the FCT Police Command.
The FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Bello, who paraded the suspects explained that Okocha had confessed that he had hit Ibebuogu on his head with a hammer when he tried to take control of their operational car from the driver.
“The suspects said they abandoned his body under Apo Bridge. Efforts are ongoing to recover the remains of the deceased. The operational car used by the gang, an army green Volkswagen Passat Wagon, one hammer and phone of the deceased have been recovered as exhibits,” Bello had stated.
One of the suspects, Ezeanyido, said he was a taxi driver before he joined the robbery gang.
“I and my friend, Okocha came to Abuja, so we picked the man in our cab. When the man noticed that we wanted to rob him, he started dragging the steering with the driver; so this brother (Agbo) hit him on the shoulder with a hammer and we stopped the cab and allowed him to go. He was not dead when we left him.”
Okocha while narrating how the gang operated, said that they usually robbed one person at a time in their taxi.
“We usually pick a passenger and while driving, the driver would ask him to put on his seatbelt while Agbo would cleverly snatch the victim’s money or phone.
“So the man noticed what was happening and he attempted to take over the steering, I hit him with a hammer on his shoulder and wrist, we stopped the cab and he disembarked; we were surprised to hear that he died,” he said.
As Ibeobugu’s killers are still cooling their feet in the police cell, another victim, Maycity Palma’s killers are still at large. Palma, who is a teacher in Kubwa, was said to have gone to Lugbe to visit a friend and was found dead later.
Palma was said to have not only been robbed, but was stabbed on the chest. Though the story about her death is still sketchy, it was revealed that it had rained that faithfully day, and residents around the area saw her corpse after the rain and had raised the alarm.
Her friends who spoke on her death on social media revealed that she was a petite lady who would have gladly surrendered her possession to the robbers and wondered why her killers had to go to the extent of stabbing her.
“They didn’t just rob her of her stuffs, but stabbed her to death thereafter. Why would someone kill such a petite being? Couldn’t they just slap her so she could fall and then go with her stuffs? Why stab her on her chest?” Sherry Sheriff, one of her friends asked.
This question is what comes on the lips of many when crimes like these happen. ‘Why not take what you want and leave the victim.’
A psychologist, David Udeh, explained that when a victim is killed or injured in a robbery, it is either the victim had tried to stop the crime (that’s in the case of only injury) or he or she was killed because the robber was scared he might be identified.
He added that sometimes the crime itself was never about the robbery as some criminals just want to hurt and kill people and use the pretext of robbery to kill them.
He urged FCT residents not to struggle with robbers when accost by them but to rather find a way to get out of the situation quickly.
“Give it to them and save your life. There are technologies now that can be used to track these robbers especially if they made away with items with trackers,” he said.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP in a telephone interview, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), FCT Command, Anjuguri Manzah, stated that the command was doing everything it could to ensure that the territory is safe for the residents.
Manzah who stated that the command had made several arrests these past months, urged residents to be security conscious and report any suspicious behaviour.
“In the first place, security is everybody’s business. We are urging the residents to alert us if they see any suspicious movement and we will take action immediately. The Command is doing a lot and we will continue to work towards the safety of lives and properties in the territory, “he said.
Also speaking, the Marshal General of the Abuja Municipal Area
Council, (AMAC) Marshal Guard, Kasim Chicha revealed that his security outfit were also collaborating with the police and other security agents to help curb crime.
He however urged residents of the council and FCT at large to be security conscious and vigilant as security is a team work and everybody’s business.
“We do not make arrest. However, if we notice any strange happenings, we notify the relevant security agencies who take prompt action. We are in the communities so we have our ears open. We however plead with Abuja residents to be security conscious. It is very important,” he said.
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