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Abuja in grip of fear as ‘one-chance’ robbers target commuters

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Abuja in grip of fear as ‘one-chance’ robbers target commuters

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja are currently living in fear of the menacing activities of a group of criminals widely known as ‘one-chance robbers’.

These individuals, often armed with dangerous weapons such as AK-47s, operate under the guise of both commercial vehicle drivers and passengers, preying on unsuspecting victims.

The terror instigated by these assailants continues to haunt residents of FCT, Nasarawa, Niger, and Kaduna, with the criminals not only robbing passengers of their valuables but resorting to extreme measures, including fatal attacks on those who resist their criminal intentions.

Reports indicate that these ‘one-chance robbers’ utilize vehicles bearing mixed local and foreign plates to escape after committing their crimes.

Their criminal activities have also been linked to the ongoing chaos caused by bandits and kidnappers in the FCT and its neighbouring areas.

It would be recalled that on October 13, the FCT Police Command revealed that about ten vehicles suspected to have been used for “one chance” activities were impounded by operatives of the command.

READ ALSO: FCTA to shut illegal motor parks amid rising crime

The Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of the FCT, Mr Haruna Garba, said three suspects were arrested, and two AK-47 rifles, two magazines, and 35 rounds of live ammunition were recovered.

He said the vehicles were impounded by the newly created ‘Anti-One Chance Squad’ of the command to curb the menace of “one chance” activities within the FCT.

Recall that one Greatness Olorunfemi was stabbed and thrown out of a moving vehicle on September 26, 2023, leading to her death.

Another resident, Monday Adache, was hospitalized on October 9 in the Kubwa General Hospital after a similar incident.

Although most of the incidents are underreported, our correspondent gathered that the ugly trend cut across the capital city relatively daily. This is despite efforts by the security operatives in the territory.

One of the victims, Miss Anthonia Anebi, who spoke with DAILY POST on Saturday, narrated how she was picked up by the criminals while returning from work on October 29.

According to her, the robbers stripped her of all her belongings, including a cell phone worth N800,000 and all her savings.

She said, “I was returning from work on October 29 when I boarded a taxi from Beger to Kubwa. I never knew it was a ‘one chance’ vehicle because that is how I usually return from work since I got the job in 2019.

“It was when the vehicle had moved that I started noticing some suspicious moves by other persons in the vehicle who I earlier thought were fellow passengers.

“When I saw them smoking inside the taxi, I begged them to please drop me, but they refused. Instead, one of them brought out a gun and warned me that if I failed to cooperate, I would be dead in the next few minutes.

“At that point, I had no strength in me anymore. I was terrified. I thought I had been kidnapped maybe for ritual because that is what I have been hearing as a trend in the city.

“They asked me to give them my bag, which I obediently did. They searched, took my iPhone worth N800,000, took my ATM card, and inserted it into their POS machine.

“First, I refused to give them my PIN because if they transferred what I had in the account, me and my family are gone. When I said that I wasn’t giving them the PIN, one of them pointed the gun at me and said, I should look back.

“When I turned, I saw a lady in a pool of blood dying. They now told me that the girl refused to tell them their PIN, and that is why they wanted to kill her.

“At that moment, I became so scared, and I didn’t want to die, so I told them my PIN. After a few seconds, I heard my phone beep in their hands and I knew my money had gone. I had N500k in the account, so they left only N50k for me. They transferred the rest.

“Immediately, they took everything around that Citec bridge, and they pushed me out while the vehicle was in motion. God was so faithful that no vehicle was coming very close; otherwise, I wouldn’t be alive to tell the story.

“All my life savings were taken away within a minute, and I have been forced to start all over again. Even going to work has been difficult for me”.

When contacted on Saturday, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh, said the strategy the command is using to fight the non-state actors would remain secret.

However, recall that in a bid to curtail the ugly trend, the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, on October 19, vowed to shut down all illegal motor parks operating across the territory.

The former Rivers State governor assured residents that the FCTA is committed to ensuring that the city is crime-free.

“We’re getting a lot of reports about kidnappings here, about one-chance there.

“In most cases, we don’t even let the public know what has been done. I can tell you that the security agencies have done quite a lot. If not, by now, the FCT would have been a different thing.

“Bring down all these uncompleted buildings which have turned to shanties and they will have nowhere to hide.

“We have set up a task force on those states that we have borders with and one-chance. The joint security task force, including the SSS, the police, the army, the navy, and they have identified the way they will operate”, he said.

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