From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
with the growing rate of one chance robbers, associated with taxis and mini buses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), residents are now afraid of patronising taxi drivers which has resulted to low patronage.
There is no day that passes without the record of two or three cases of one chance robbery within the heart of the city of Abuja and its adjoining towns.
Residents confessed that the act is no longer based on physical attacks with weapons by the robbers but that they have gone spiritual by using some substance once the carry a victim to make him unconscious before disposes sing him of his belongings.
According to findings by Daily Sun,their major routes are between Kubwa expressway to Berger,Wuse to Area 1 and Berger to Apo Bridge.
A resident of Mpape, Lawrence Apa confessed that the high level of one chance robbery has really crippled taxi drivers business because nobody want to be the next victim.
He said that most residents of Abuja don’t just jump into taxis they observe the driver,the passengers before entering while others prefer going by long buses.
He added that they now use spiritual means on their victims that it was through the grace of God that he escaped last week.” I entered a taxi from Berger to Area1. I never suspected anything because they were all women except the driver.
“When we got close to national hospital,one of the women brought out her bag and sprayed her perfume, immediately I went off. I can’t remember what happened again,all I could remember was that when we got to Area1,they started tapping me,” oga we dey Area1 ooh,na so una no go allow una wives sleep for night,now see how you dey sleep for taxi,abeg go down.
“It was like I came back from another planet. As I aligned, they zoomed off,that was when I came back to my senses and discovered that they have collected everything that was with me including my phones.”
Another victim from Jabi,Susan confirmed that the one chance robbers are now using “jazz” on their victims.
She boarded their taxi while going to work to the same Area1 from Berger without knowing it was one chance robbers until they got to a particular point, when their “jazz” couldn’t work, they pushed her out.
“These days one can hardly differentiate between normal taxi and one chance drivers. They now operate with women so,if you’re even thinking that you won’t take a long without a female passenger,you are getting it wrong.
“This faithful day I took a taxi from Berger,the passenger sitting by my right brought out her powder,as if we was making up and she sprayed some of the substance on me,they all steered at me,I didn’t talk,she repeated it again and I shouted at her, stop!! They all started shouting,” this one na bad market,drop am, before she go spoil something for us” that was how they opened the door and pushed me out from the moving can. Thank God no vehicle was close.
Nkechi, a nurse that works with the Wuse general hospital at zone 3, narrated how she nearly lost her life to one chance robbers while going home after afternoon shift.
She said: “I was on afternoon shift so,after work,I came out through the backside of the hospital to take a taxi that was heading to Area1, The first one that came, was left with one passenger, I refused to enter but went for the second that had two passengers, the driver later picked another passenger as we were going.
“I never knew that the last person we took as a passenger was also their gang member whom they planted in front to make the victims feel free. When we got to the junction heading to customs office around Wuse zone 3,what I heard on my left cheek was a very dirty slap from the last passenger. I became confused before I could say a word,the other man said “ look here! Behold it was a gun. They asked of my Automated Teller Machine (ATM), I gave them,they requested for the pin, the first I gave them was wrong,out of anger they gave me another dirty slap that I wanted to play smart on them. That was how I gave the correct numbers and they used their Point Of Sale (POS) ,withdrew everything and forced me to transfer money from the account that I was not with the ATM and also emptied everything.
“They didn’t take me to any place,they executed everything in the taxi while on transit. After which they drove to zone 4 and pushed me out of their moving cab. It was a very terrible experience that I won’t even wish my enemy because till date I’m still scared of taxi. It is either I go by long bus or drop.
Some of the drivers who spoke with our correspondent confessed that things have been very difficult for them because they can no longer feed their families not to talk of savings or maintaining their cars.
They said before the menace took over the business that after working each day,they fuel their cars and save not less than N5000 but now it is a different thing altogether as passengers prefer going by long buses or female taxi drivers.
Shittu ,a driver who runs around Berger to Nyanya axis of the city confessed that the business has been crippled by one chance robbers and as a driver if you are not careful passengers will perform jungle justice on you for what you are innocent of.
He lamented that passengers now see every taxi driver as a suspect,before you get a passenger very difficult because everybody is afraid of becoming a victim, so they prefer going by long buses not minding the time wastage, pick pockets and cases of romance in the bus when some men see it as blessing when trapped in between female passengers.
He added that you fuel your car with the mindset that you are out for the day›s business but what will you get in return, hundreds of passengers on the road not willing to tell or ask you where you are going but carefully observing whether you a one chance robber whose gang are awaiting for him if you are alone and if you are with some passengers, they look at their faces and if any of them is not looking to their satisfaction they will ask you to go.
“Since 2005 when I joined this taxi drivers business, I have not seen this type of low patronage. The one chance robbers have spoiled our business now most people are even afraid of patronising us.
“Passengers no longer point to the direction they are going even when you ask,they will be looking at you because they believe that one chance robbers don’t have destination, so if you are not telling them where you are going but asking them,then you must be a chance robber.
“Is not that there are no passengers but the issue here is that people are afraid because there is no day that passes without people falling victims, some have been injured others lost their money to these robbers.I don’t blame them for their actions because if I were to be them, I will do same,he lamented.
Another taxi driver, Ayomide also collaborated with the first speaker that business have been crippled by chance robbers. He said the issue is very critical but still funny at the same because of the actions of the residents of Abuja towards taxi drivers.
“We are now looked at,as suspects,before some passengers will enter you cab,they will pretend they want to drop something in the boat,because it is also been circulated that some one chance robbers hide their gang members in their boats and once they get a victim, they take him or her to lonely place and rob him.