Armed robbers have escalated their operations over the past few weeks to the point where it is almost certain commuters will get robbed daily…or you will know someone who knows someone who was recently robbed in traffic.
This has been no thanks to heavy traffic around Lagos and environs; leaving people to experience all manner of trauma on the roads.
Last Friday, for instance, was mad. With the rains and the roads flooded, many commuters were stranded; with many not getting home until past midnight. Consequently, they became easy pickings for traffic robbers from Oshodi to Berger, and Lekki to Lagos-Ibadan Express road.
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So, you see bandits are everywhere and I don’t mean terrorists ransacking whole villages, stealing and kidnapping children in Kaduna; or in Niger and some of the states up North. I am referring to their cousins down south; the ones with fierce looks who brandish guns and sharp objects to scare people into forfeiting their possessions while they are stuck in traffic. The ones who break car windows and cause grown men to suddenly open their car doors and run for their lives!
Most of these robbers are mere boys with sharp objects that can do serious damage; so who can blame people for running?
I saw the video of a man who was shot in traffic. He had been accosted by area boys who demanded his phone and wallet. He brandished his own machete that he’d kept in his car for “protection”… and the cowards fled!
If only traffic had moved fast enough, he would have escaped. But unfortunately for him, the robbers came back, enraged at his audacity. They attacked him, breaking his windows and spraying him with bullets…in traffic!
Incidentally, while he was being attacked, other commuters stared, in disbelief, I imagine; in fear, praying the robbers wouldn’t descend on them…some even fled at the sound of gunshots!
Who wants to die?
But here’s the thing, people.
Imagine if two other drivers, make that three or four or even five had come out of their vehicles; especially as they saw the boys attacking this man. Imagine if they had come out with their own machetes, their sticks, their whips…whatever and attacked the robbers…Yeah, there would be blood…a broken head or two but the coward robbers would flee!
If this happens again and more people switch off their cars; then come out to help others being robbed in traffic…before the police arrive; (let’s hope they eventually show up) …me thinks incidents like this will be reduced.
Why should we settle for hoping the robbers never stop by our vehicles to rob us; as we watch them rob other commuters? The robbers operate with impunity because they have the numbers…But commuters will always be more than them at any given time…
If we let bad things like this continue to happen, it will become the norm, just wait to get robbed!
Where’s the government, you say?
Nigerians have become governments unto themselves since the Government, year after year, regime after regime, fails to live up to its responsibilities.
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I pray we never encounter these boys on the road. But if we do…let’s stand up for the other commuters being robbed. The more we flee from them, the bolder they get. While we await the government to live up to its responsibility; can we at least try to keep alive by banding together against these robbers?
Or maybe we should stop using the roads, altogether?
Just thinking out loud!