Criminal activities have lately returned to the roads in Lagos as motorists, especially those in private vehicles and commuters, now run the risk of falling victim to traffic jam robbers, during peak periods.
The Point gathered that these traffic jam robbers usually target occupants of vehicles, dispossessing them at gunpoint or by simply brandishing other dangerous weapons, including razor blade, to intimidate their victims to part with cash and other valuables.
It is on record that in recent times, an increasing number of Lagosians have continued to lose items such as handbags, wallets, jewelry, mobile phones, laptops and other valuables to traffic robbers.
Sometimes, these hoodlums could be violent and carry out the crime employing smash-and-grab tactics, leaving their victims confused and enveloped in fear.
They attack and even break windshields or side windows of vehicles in an attempt to intimidate and rob motorists of their belongings.
These criminals, it is learnt, are usually armed and could escalate the violence if they are resisted.
It is on record that in recent times, an increasing number of Lagosians have continued to lose items such as handbags, wallets, jewelry, mobile phones, laptops and other valuables to traffic robbers
They often operate in groups of two or more under the guise of being seen as either street hawkers or beggars to prospect for potential victims in traffic logjams.
Although there is a deliberate effort by the police in Lagos State to increase the presence of its operatives on Lagos roads, especially around the known black spots or flashpoints during peak-traffic periods, in an attempt to mitigate criminal activities and save motorists this nightmare, a lot need to be done.
The Point observed that some of the areas where these incidents have become recurring decimal include Mile 2, Trade Fair Complex, Ijora, Marina, CMS, Costain, Surulere, Mushin, Abule Egba, Iju Road, Lagos/ Abeokuta expressway, Ojota and Oshodi.
The hoodlums usually operate between the hours of 4:00am and 6:30am and 7:30pm and 10:00pm, respectively.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said in a chat recently, “It has become imperative to warn all commercial motorcycle operators a.k.a Okada, in the state that acts of brazen impunity and criminality usually displayed by some of their members on the streets of Lagos shall no longer be tolerated.
“The Force shall henceforth standup against bike-riders, who display unruly behaviour whenever there is any misunderstanding between them and any member of the public or any law enforcement agent, including the police, no matter how minor such altercation might be, it shall no longer be tolerated as a norm.
“Consequently, it has been observed that commercial motorcycle operators have become law unto themselves and act in manners detrimental to law and order, and in total disregard to rights of other citizens.”
Tips for survival in Lagos chaotic traffic:
(1) Maintain a high sense of vigilance at all times while in traffic.
(2) Keep valuables well out of sight while driving, possibly, in the booth.
(3) Avoid using your cell phones in traffic, especially in high-risk areas.
(4) Avoid driving alone (if possible). Lone drivers are perceived to be more vulnerable and are more likely to be attacked.
(5) It is widely believed that driving in the middle lane is much safer than driving on either side of the road.
(6) Ensure your window shields are wound up and doors locked while in stationary or slow-moving traffic.
(7) If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t resist. Your life is worth much more than whatever it is they’re trying to steal. Seek emergency assistance immediately after.
(8) If you notice that a fellow motorist is unusually attending to suspected hawker in traffic, please activate panic numbers 199 or 911, if you can.