Increasing Rate Of ‘One-Chance’ In FCT Scares Residents

Increasing Rate Of ‘One-Chance’ In FCT Scares Residents

BY MARIAM SANNI, ABUJA

It is unfortunate that the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has become a haven of criminals despite housing the headquarters of all the military and paramilitary agencies.

Criminals who rob people inside moving supposedly commercial vehicles popularly called “one chance” have taken over the FCT.

In the past, the activities of these “one chance” criminals were limited to specific areas, but their activities now cover virtually everywhere. The brazen nature these criminals have assumed in recent times has become very worrisome as even military personnel’s are no longer exempted.
The term ‘One Chance,’ a Pidgin English expression used by bus conductors or touts to entice passengers in a hurry to take the last available space in a taxi or bus, has now been adapted to mean being in a fix or a difficult situation. These robbery gangs often operate with commercial vehicles. They have members of the gang in the vehicles, sometimes painted in the normal Abuja green commercial colours, pretending to be genuine passengers and drive around looking for unsuspecting passengers as victims. They do not pick more than one or two victims at a time. They then drive them to a remote place, where they are threatened with guns, cutlasses, charms or other dangerous weap­ons, and dispossess them of their money, handsets, and other valuables.
AljazirahNigeria in a chat with one of the victims, Gift Bent who works as a salesgirl in a boutique around Wuse axis said: “I have had different experiences with these one chance people. On this fateful day I was coming from work around 7pm, so I boarded a cab going to my direction but unfortunately the people I thought to be passengers were armed robbers. They collected my phone, my bag which contains about N9,000 then when we moved a little further they stopped and pushed me down.
Similarly, Kemi Omoniyi another victim, said she was robbed around Maitama Junction, Along Kubwa Express Way. “They started punching my eyes and face, they also collected my bag, phone, ATM card, I gave them the real password of my phone and the pin of my ATM. They took the N11, 000 in my bag after which they dropped me in a bush,” she said.
Another female victim, Aminat Ahmed, said she and her friend were robbed in a taxi at News Engineering bus stop in Dawaki on their way to Dutse Market on March 18 at about 3:30 p.m. Another lady, Chioma Mesoma, has a lot to be thankful for after she survived an attack by one-chance criminals. Also, Miss Thelma Idaku, a civil servant said it was a sad day for her when she fall victim of ‘one-chance’ while returning from office. Idaku said that she was dispossessed of her valuables and almost lost her life to ‘one-chance’, criminals who threatened to kill her if nothing valuable was found on her. She said that for the fact that she had money to part with, she would have been strangled.
In another experience, Mr. Joseph Emogor a victim of ‘one chance’said he boarded a green taxi around 7 o’clock on a Monday night on his way to Kubwa. According to him, as he was about to enter, the taxi man switched on the inner light. He said when they got to a deserted road somewhere in Galadima, suddenly, the volume of music inside the car went very high, and before he knew it, someone came from the back seat and put a knife to his neck threatening to waste him if he made any noise. He was robbed of his wrist watch, phones and documents. They then threw him out of the vehicle. He recalled that there was nobody at the back seat when the taxi man switched on the inner light and thus concluded that the man that attacked him definitely emerged from the boot.
Also, military personnel who pleaded for his name not to be mentioned said he was a victim of a gang of ‘one-chance’ while returning from Maiduguri, Borno State after a 6-month operation in April. He said that immediately he entered the vehicle from Zuba, he became suspicious as there were only men in the car, adding that his fear later materialised when he was asked to open his bag and bring all the money inside. “Immediately, they pointed a gun at me inside the car, I quickly told them I don’t have money. I begged them that I am a soldier that I am just coming from Maiduguri. One felt pity and told the other two to let me go but they insisted and drove me to the bush. I was about to escape but they hit me with a stick on my head, I fell down, they continued hitting me with the stick but I continued pleading. A few minutes later, they left me on the ground and drove off.”
Mr. Bernard Eneki, Treasurer of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Jikwoyi/Karshi Park at Nyanya, in an interview, explained that the union impounds vehicles that load in unauthorised areas without entering the park because most of those that engage in criminal activities do not enter the park; they drive pass to pick passengers on the road. On what the union is doing about the ‘One Chance’ menace, he said, “We have our Marshals who load vehicles to various routes, like this one you see here is loading to Karshi and we know all our members here. If a passenger forgets any property like phone in the vehicle he or she can come to the park and tell us where he or she boarded the vehicle, and we will trace the number because all the vehicles loading from here to Karshi have specific numbers, so if you misplace anything in any of the vehicles we will locate the vehicle and return your property to you.”
Speaking on the issue, ASP Danjuma Taminu, Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, DPPRO, assured FCT residents that the police are doing everything possible to curb ‘one chance’ within the territory. He said that some officers had been positioned at strategic places such as the parks, under the bridges, lonely roads, highways and other suspicious places in order to curb the trend.
He disclosed that an Anti-One Chance Squad was established in 2018 when one chance criminal activities became rampant in the FCT. “It was established in 2018 by Commissioner of Police, CP Bala Ciroma, the office was at Asokoro Police Station under Asokoro Police Division. Currently, with less cases of one chance within the FCT, the CP saw the need to narrow it down to CID division of the police, so most officers of the squad have been sent to other states to help reduce one chance as they have done in FCT,” he said, calling on transport unions and those working in parks to partner with the police in curbing the cases of one chance criminal activities.
But, even though the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer says the cases have reduced, they have clearly skyrocketed obviously having their field day as the Anti-One Chance Squad has been disbanded.


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