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Adaeze Ibechukwu: Let’s Talk About the Alarming Rate of Robbery on Lagos Roads

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It’s depressing to hear and experience the armed robbery attacks that have found its way to Lagos roads in recent times. I remember journeying home from work on the Eko Bridge and the third mainland bridge, this time last year, without thoughts of armed robbery or assault (not that it was non-existent).

I am moved to write this article due to the recent wave of attacks that have become prevalent on some major roads in Lagos state. On Wednesday, the 21st of October, just beside the National Theatre, my sister and I were attacked by robbers who smashed our car window and demanded for our valuables. The day after the attack, on our way home at about 5:30pm, just on the Obalende, Adeniji/ Third mainland bridge, we were accosted once again by a gang who had according to eye-witnesses rioted and vandalized vehicles in traffic. Even as we shuddered in traffic, we watched them – young, able bodied men, young ladies and even a teenage boy brandishing weapons and making loud noise. To think that in broad daylight, such thing could happen is appalling!

There were littered on the road: bags and personal belongings obviously snatched from people and tossed away after the valuables had been taken. People shivered in fear as they sat in their vehicles praying to turn invisible.

On Friday, the 23rd, a young man came to our window, holding up some packs of plantain chips and the fear returned. I was like ‘they have come again’ but alas, it was just a lad trying to earn his keep.
What is going on? Should we tremble at the sight of our shadows? Are we going to spend the remaining part of 2015 in fear? What happened to the security officials? Are they on leave?

These happenings had me search the internet to see if there had been any reports on the incident. Bellanaija put up a post as regards the attacks, referencing tweets from eye witnesses. Linda Ikeji’s blog and Kemi Filani reported on robbery incidents as well. Linda Ikeji’s blog reported that Nigerian actress, Iretiola Doyle was robbed in traffic and injured (the blog has a picture of the actress’s hand which has been stitched). According to Kemi Filani’s blog, two men were shot dead along the Eko Bridge which links to Costain. Eye witnesses reported that these robbers raided commercial vehicles and private vehicles alike, as they shot into the air – while people abandoned their vehicles and fled for their lives.

Here comes my question: What is the cause of the new robbery trend? Yes, we have been hearing of robberies here and there but the happenings of the past week have been, in my experience, so horrifying as these robbers operate in gangs and groups. Not only are they dispossessing people of their properties, they are hurting people and have killed two people.
To make matters worse, there are no police vehicles on these roads and no security operatives as most of them either take to their heels or are not at the scenes of these outrageous crimes. The police motorbikes on the roads on the days of these incidents were devoid of policemen as they lay on the ground…battered.

Should we blame the Lagos State government? What can we do about it instead of apportioning blame?

Some years ago, things were not as bad as they are now especially as regards security – we experienced a truly peaceful Lagos. Even during the ‘elections’ when we predicted insurrections and Lagosians had rushed home from work- most even worked half-day -nothing happened.

Today is another day and I hope that this menace is curbed as it is truly getting out of hand. For commuters plying these areas, please stay safe.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Dimitrii 

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