The wave of criminality is sweeping across the country in a manner that has left Nigerians perplexed.
The media is awash with reports of missing persons and if criminal gangs that ferry unsuspecting commuters to slaughter houses or where they are being disposed of their personal effects and money.
Some are lucky to return while many are not. The Nigeria Police have also put Nigerians on alert of the presence and activities of such criminals in society.
Their activities are more fierce in the city centres, such as Lagos and Abuja.
Sola Giwa, special adviser to the governor of Lagos state on transportation, in a press release via facebook, said that the operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority LASTMA arrested three ‘one chance’ notorious armed robbers on the 4th of January by Jubilee bridge around Abule-Egba area of Lagos.
He stated that it was confirmed in a press statement issued by the Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq that they were arrested by LASTMA personnel alongside their operational vehicle- a painted ‘T4’ commercial bus (APP 406 YE)- at the U-turn area of Abule-Egba. According to him, immediately they were arrested, one of them escaped with a P.O.S machine before the arrival of police men.
Preliminary investigations revealed that they were notorious ‘one-chance’ armed robbers terrorizing the entire Abule-Egba and its environs. Investigation further revealed that they were being chased by members of the public after they noticed that a man was pushed down from their vehicle after robbing him of his valuables.
They drove recklessly in order to evade arrest before they were eventually caught by LASTMA officials controlling and managing traffic around the Abule-Egba axis.
The two suspects were later handed over to Police men from the ‘Ile-Epo’ Police Division for further investigation.
The General Manager of LASTMA, Bakare Oki Olalekan however, appealed to members of the public particularly commuters to be very vigilant and stop boarding commercial buses by road side popularly called ‘So-le’ but to go to parks or designated bus stops.
The term ‘one-chance’ is often used to refer to a form of organised crime that involves robbery and kidnap which takes place in both public and private vehicles when individuals accept the offer of a ride.
The perpetrators capitalise on the lack of adequate available transportation, thereby, inviting passengers onto their vehicle with the deceit of taking them to their various destinations.
They end up requesting specific sums for ransom, which might lead to the death of the victim if their requests are not met.
Abject poverty, corruption, joblessness, terrorism and political conflicts are but a few causes that lead to the rising spate of one-chance in not only Lagos but other parts of the country.
The reason for one-chance is often to extort money by demanding ransoms and threatening the lives of their victims if conditions are not met.
Other circumstances that get people involved in the criminal act without thinking so much about the consequences could be driven by personal vendettas between individuals or groups and in some cases used as a means of retaliation.
How to avoid falling victim
As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, falling victim of one-chance can be avoided by taking some personal security measures. Staying aware and informed about the security situation in one’s surrounding can help in avoiding such a situation.
Avoiding unnecessary attention especially in unfamiliar or potentially risky environments and maintaining a low profile in public places is also a personal security measure that can be taken. It is advisable to use reputable, well-known transport services, and avoid taking rides from strangers.
Instincts cannot be overlooked as it is best to take precautions if a situation feels uncomfortable. Travel plans should be communicated to close family, friends, or trusted individuals including expected arrival time and location.
There are various emergency contacts that are easily accessible and it is advised to have a couple of them in case of one-chance.
“A post by the Nigerian Police Force via x (twitter) endorsed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police(ACP) Olumuyiwa Adejobi on the 13th of January 2024, said:
“WE ARE COMMITTED TO TACKLING KIDNAPPING, RESCUING VICTIMS UNHURT.”
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In the wake of the abduction of six young girls in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, it is vital to state that the Police Force has already initiated a comprehensive plan of action. The Force Headquarters is diligently coordinating efforts to address this and prevent any further occurrence, as all hands are on deck to rescue the victims.
However, the sensitivity of the situation necessitates discretion, and as a result, specific details are being kept confidential to avoid compromising ongoing operations.
The NPF is actively engaging and contacting individuals crucial to the rescue operations and investigation. The objective is not only to bring perpetrators to justice but also to intensify efforts in rescue operations for victims still in captivity.
Furthermore, recognizing the psychological impact on affected families, the Police are encouraging open communication with their operatives to provide support, information, and assistance to mitigate the psychological warfare imposed by kidnappers on the relatives and loved ones of their victims.