How to avoid One- Chance robberies in Lagos - My personal experience

One chance is a popular slogan in Lagos, used to refer to abduction, kidnap, robbery, rape incidents that occur as a result of an unaware victim boarding a commercial vehicle. Taxis, unmarked vehicles okadas and most often yellow (Approved color of Lagos commercial vehicles)  buses are the vehicles used to carry out these evil acts. In recent times, once chance encounters are on the rise, with an average of 1 or 2 incidents reported per week. Some cases go unreported, most preys are usually females and men are usually the ones that execute the one chance operations, most times in a group of eight.
How to avoid One- Chance robberies
Another victim of one chance tells his tale.
 

My One chance experience:
Tuesday, December 16 2014, is not one day I will forget in an hurry
because that was the day I had my first and last "ONE CHANCE"
experience. One- chance, for those who do not know, commonly refers to
robbery attacks carried out on unsuspecting bus passengers.
I woke up On that early morning without an inkling of what lay ahead,
I believed that as my car was at the mechanic place for repairs, I
had have to move out early and be at work before 7 am. As I was
waiting patiently at the Daily times bus stop Agidingbi, Ikeja to
board a bus ,a yellow painted- commercial bus stopped beside me and
the conductor shouted under bridge Ikeja, I didn’t even think twice, I
jumped aboard. Usually I am a patient person, but consider my joy
immediately I saw the bus stopped few minutes after I got to the bus
stop when on the previous day, I had waited for more than 30 minutes
at the same bus stop I eventually trekked a long distance to get a
vehicle. That happened to be my undoing. I boarded the bus without my
usual perusal of the bus occupants.


Anyway, to cut the long story short, I entered the ill-fated bus,
Immediately I entered I looked around back, and to my discomfort
noticed all the occupants were men, eight of them men including the
driver, which I didn’t notice previously as some had their faces
covered with caps and others dressed like women . It finally dawned on
me, that these were no ordinary passengers, that’s when I said to
myself ‘I don enter this one”. At first, I couldn’t utter a word; I
just tensed up, but later relaxed. Once they noticed I was on to
their game, one of them crossed to sit beside me and enclosed me in,
saying he wants to get down at Coca -cola ,he later tapped me, and
said in a calm voice " Madam, do not panic or shout so you won't be
hurt'. Many thoughts flew through my mind, praying that they should
just be mere thieves and not kidnappers or ritualists. I repeatedly
chanted " Blood of Jesus" even when one of them hit me and asked me to
stop saying it, But I just couldn’t stop. It was my saving grace.
During the 10 minutes ordeal, I ended up losing my laptop, Smartphone,
jewellery, Atm card and money to the kill-joys. Though I took down the
plate number and reported to the police, who by the way asked me to
trace the owner through the local government where the vehicle was
registered, as if I am a private investigator.

Unfortunately, I entered the same vehicle a week after, this time to Yaba, immediately
I noticed they are the same people, I alighted but I have decided to
let everything be but here are few lessons I will like to share with
everyone so as not to fall victim of such unpleasant experiences.
Tips on How to avoid One- Chance robberies

1. Be safety conscious, being and remaining safe is a collective
effort and its starts with the individual. These robbers operate early in the mornings (4am-6am) and late evenings (6pm-12pm).  Their usual spots are Agidingbi, Oshodi, Fadeyi,Berger, Ikeja axis, , be extra careful at these times of the day and in these areas.
2. If your area is poorly lit, always in darkness or usually lonely,
Its better you move in twos, ask a neighbor or vigilante to walk with you,
get a particular keke napep/okada or cab to pick you to the nearest
bus stop or if you are not too late, wait till day breaks say 6:30 am so you can
recognize faces or take in more details.
3. Before you board a vehicle, try as much to notice the occupants of
the vehicle: are they are all male (sometimes they engage females in
their evil acts)? Is the conductor holding money(It’s a sign they are
legitimate and the bus has been engaging in business since morning )?
Are the occupants scattered in the bus? Is the conductor insisting on
where you must sit? Are you alone at the bus stop? Watchfulness is
key.
4. Carry as little valuables as you can,Some banks (UBA) offer two atms , one that holds a day to day cash and the other has the major amount of your money in it. So if unfortunately, the robbers get to use your atm, they will make away with little cash and not empty your whole savings. Some victims have reportedly lost thousands to these robbers.  A day after my one chance experience, a friend of mine lost 2 laptops, cash and phones to hoodlums at under bridge Ikeja.

5. In all , don't panic, remain calm, take in as much details as you can, faces, plate number, make and model of vehicle to help you give a comprehensive description to the appropriate authorities later.

6. Do not try anything stupid, the robbers are desperate, except you are skilled in martial arts, self defense skills or can easily disarm your attackers. Dont try to be a hero or make attempt to save the day, you may end up getting killed or seriously injured. If asked for your atm password, give it to them do not sya the wrong password, usually they verify, hold the victim hostage, withdraw the cash before releasing the victim. If you are allowed to go before they make an attempt to use the atm, quickly notify your bank and block the account.  Your valuables or money is not worth your life, you will live to tell your story, possibly secure the arrest of your attacker another day. 

How can the appropriate authorities help?:

1. The state should Regularize the transport system and allow  only accredited drivers/vehicles to operate commercial activities. 
2. Install CCTV in strategic places. And provide adequate lighting system: Sequel to my experience, there are more streetlights and police patrols in Ikeja. 
3. Banks should install face detection systems , that reports irregular users who withdraw cash from atms. Say an unusual person who is previously not associated with the account comes to make a withdrawal, the system raises an alarm. 
4. Police need to upgrade their criminal activity reduction system, sometimes one wonders if Nigerian police are not abetting these robbers, or how does one explain the rise in one chance robberies, no arrest has been made even with circulation of the faces of those involved in the evil activities online. Police should make regular publications of suspected vehicles, areas and persons who might be engage in One- chance schemes and duly notify the public. 
5. Raise awareness and encourage the public to be security conscious.

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