By Olaleke ASHAFA
The worsening robberies in gridlocks on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway has prompted motorists and commuters alike to cry out to the Lagos State Government and the Police to urgently arrest the ugly incidents that have seen people losing valuables and often injured.
Their appeal came as over 20 motorists and their passengers were robbed before 7 a.m. on Tuesday between Ile Zik and Ajayi Farms at Ikeja on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
TBI Africa said the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that traffic jam on the road has become a recurring issue following bad spots and the ongoing road reconstruction to accommodate the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
The road users told NAN that many had lost their valuables, including mobile phones, Laptops, watches, necklaces and cash.
Narrating their ordeals, they said that once the gridlock builds up, the robbers appear and wielding guns force motorists to surrender their valuables.
Those who wound up their window glasses were made to unwound them or the robbers broke them to access the valuables of the concerned, they said.
Recounting his experience, an ICT Consultant, Mr Akinsola Ogunwale, who plies the road virtually every day, said he was robbed at gun point at about 6.15 a.m. at Ile Zik, Lagos-Abeokuta expressway on Jan. 29.
“I was driving in traffic around Ile Zik and the next thing I knew, two men approached my vehicle and hit my car window with a gun.
“While one was trying to reach for my back seat, the other collected my phone and tried to hijack my vehicle.
“The next chance I got, I sped off and escaped.
“This morning on my way to work, around the same time, I noticed about 20 cars being robbed and no security personnel available to help the victims,’’ he said.
Ogunwale added that when he used an Information Technology software to track his stolen phone, it indicated that it was at Ashade market in Ikeja.
Kunle Adebiyi, a civil servant, who always leaves home before dawn, said he was once robbed by a motorcyclist at 6.30 a.m. around Mangoro area on the same route.
“I left my house very early in order to beat the traffic but
unfortunately, I still got caught in the traffic and was robbed of my iPhone and wallet.
“I didn’t want to struggle with him because I have heard of cases where the victims were beaten and injured,’’ he said.
Mrs Oleteju Adeyinka, a trader, said her phone was grabbed by the window while in a public vehicle by a man disguised as a plantain chips hawker.
“It happened very fast and in broad daylight.
“He pretended as if he wanted to sell plantain chips and I was holding my phone. Within a twinkle of an eye, he grabbed my phone and started running.
“By the time I got down from the vehicle, he was already gone.
“These robberies have been happening for a long time and we thought it had reduced.
“It seems it is on the increase now, especially between Iyana Dopemu, Mangoro, Ile Zik and Ajayi Farms where there is always traffic congestion,’’ she said.
Dami Ojo, a driver said: “I’ve never been a victim of traffic robberies but I know people who have gone through this horrific act. Some have been badly injured in the process.
“Just recently, a video surfaced online of a man trying to steal from a moving vehicle. Unfortunately for him, he was caught and mercilessly dealt with.’’
He urged the Lagos State Government to work harder towards finding a lasting solution to the menace and make Lagos roads safe.
The people who had been robbed told NAN that immediately after robbing, the robbers head to the railway and from there escape toward Ikeja.