Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Taxi drivers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are lamenting low patronage due to the high level of one chance robbery associated with taxis and mini buses in the area.
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.
Taxi drivers in the FCT confessed that one chance robbery, which is normally conducted in taxis or mini buses has crippled their business as people now see them as suspects.
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 #5000 but now it is a different thing altogether as passengers prefer go- ing by long buses or female taxi drivers.
Matthew Afejo ,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.
Afejo 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, Friday Kelechi 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.
Waka Sunday,who runs Berger to Jabi confessed that the have really been affected by the activities of the one chance robbers. He said before, after a day’s job,you fill your car tank and still have not less than #5000 for savings but now everything has changed.
George Aka another driver also agreed with other speakers that the one chance robbers activities have affected their business. He said these days people are very careful ,when taking a cab because the crime rate is very high in the town.
“ You drive from street to street not getting any passenger, not that they are not waiting for taxi,but they are trying to be sure they don’t enter wrong hands. Some of us that have strong faces people don’t wave us down easily these days because they are scared of our faces,he lamented.
A resident,Helen John confirmed that the high level of one chance robbery has really crippled taxi drivers business because nobody want to be the next victim.
She 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.