Incessant attacks by a group of boys who pretended to be beggars and street hawkers to rob and harm unsuspecting victims, especially drivers, of their valuables along the Oworonshoki/Gbagada bridge, Lagos State, has increased panic and concerns among the users of the road.
A victim, Dr Dayo Adediran, who raised the alarm on Friday, informed City Round that she had had three encounters with a particular six-man gang on the bridge, the latest being Thursday evening.
The veterinary doctor said on one of the occasions, a member of the ferocious gang yanked off her gold earring, leaving her bleeding.
She explained that the gang’s modus operandi seems to be targeting lone female drivers, whom they approach, pretending to be beggars.
She said, “There are some young robbers who parade as beggars, hawkers and street urchins on Oworonshoki/Gbagada Bridge. They are always there in the traffic. I have been robbed twice at the same spot coming from work and on one occasion, they attacked me and tore my ears in a bid to remove my gold earrings.
“What happened was that I rolled down slightly to give him money since he asked for money and was hitting my glass aggressively, I thought he was just an aggressive beggar.
“I tried to roll up the glass back despite my bleeding ears and moved the car immediately the traffic eased a bit. They were trying to force my glass down further and showing their arms and also trying to open my door and asking for my phones.”
Adediran added that the traffic robbers were always armed with various weapons, including small knives, pepper spray among others, to threaten their victims during operations.
“Let me also note that these boys carry pepper sprays and also act like they want to clean your windscreen at times.
“They still tried attacking us in traffic yesterday (Thursday) evening when I was coming with my husband from a function. They are armed robbers with small knives and sprays and all. Please help raise the awareness and save lives as it’s happening every single day now on that bridge towards the tail end to descend into Gbagada. They will be there this evening once there is traffic. “Yesterday was my third experience. Thank God for husband that struggled. He was too shocked to believe his eyes because I had told him and we saw it again.”
She further noted that the situation forced her to stop driving to her workplace since the robbers more often than not target lone women driving private vehicles.
She further narrated that, “They usually pounce more on nice cars with lone women driving. That’s what I observed because I have been taking Uber to work and back and they don’t come for the Uber, although I see them. Uber is expensive for me but I am more scared of robbery. I was confident yesterday only because husband was there. And he really struggled because they were insisting he rolled down and surrounded the car. So, the attack is not because my windows are wound down. They come for you directly and threaten you to roll down by banging hard on your glass and threatening to break through.
“It’s the same gang because by now I can identify one or two of them. They are young boys of about four to six members now. Initially, it’s one guy who approaches to beg and starts to get violent once he is near the window glass. They are street boys obviously increasing in number and getting more confident by the day.”
When contacted for reaction on the matter, the spokesperson for the State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, told City Round on Friday that he had earlier received a complaint about the development, adding that the Divisional Police Officer of the area had been detailed to investigate the complaint.
He said, “I received that complaint too. While looking into it, the DPO covering that area has been put to task concerning the complaint.”