Lagos-Ibadan Expressway gridlock: Commuters lament incessant robberies

PIC.17. GRIDLOCK AT THE SCENE OF ACCIDENT ON LAGOS/IBADAN EXPRESS ROAD ON SATURDAY
(2/6/12)

Commuters plying the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway have decried the increasing spate of robberies on the road.

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According to them, robbers usually attack commuters as the gridlock intensifies due to the rehabilitation of the section of the road from the old Toll Gate to the Sagamu interchange by Julius Berger Plc, especially between Ibafo and the Redemption Camp.

Some victims said the robbers were fond of attacking Mowe-bound vehicles held up in traffic and usually steal phones, cash and other valuables.

PUNCH Metro learnt that unlucky commuters, whose vehicles break down in the gridlock, also become victims of the robbers.

One of the victims, Gbenga Odumosun, who recounted his ordeal to PUNCH Metro, said he was driving home one day when his phone was collected at gunpoint.

He said, “I had an ugly experience on the expressway about a month ago. I was driving home from work and there was gridlock on the road, with the traffic moving slowly as usual.

“Some minutes to 10pm, I was at the Asese end of the expressway; I wound up my window above halfway on both sides and the doors were locked.

“As I was going through some things on my phone, I felt that there was someone beside me; so, I glanced up to my left to see a guy wearing a hooded cloth, a short and a head warmer.

“I actually thought he wanted to cross the road so, I made a gesture for him to cross with the hand that I held my phone with and immediately I tilted my phone to his side, he snatched it from me.

“When I tried to open the door to confront him, he threatened to kill me with a locally-made gun that he had on him. He said in Yoruba, ‘O fe bole abi? Ma yin e nibon, ode!’ (You want to come down? I will shoot you, idiot) and when I saw the gun, I took a step back into the car.

“I thought he was just playing a prank on me; so, I opened the door fully to get down; the moment he saw that I got down, he took off; he ran as fast as he could and I gave a little chase but it was useless, because he was metres ahead and my car’s door was opened; so, I just had to give up the chase.”

Odumosun, who attributed the incident to the gridlock on the expressway, urged the government to compel Julius Berger to hasten the reconstruction of the road.

Another victim of robbery on the road, Ben Omotomiye, who attributed the high incidence of mugging in the traffic to the seemingly slow pace of the contractor, urged the firm to “act responsibly towards the citizens.”

He urged all security agencies to also work in unison and curb the incessant robberies on the road.

Omotomiye stated, “Sometime in September, I was heading home from work and there was gridlock on the expressway. There were a lot of people hawking; I was in the front seat with my colleague driving; because we had stayed for so long in the traffic and we were running out of fuel, we had to switch off the air conditioning and wind down the windows.

“I was chatting with a friend on my phone and all of a sudden, the phone just flipped from my hand; where the fellow came from, I didn’t know; but I guess he was one of those guys hawking along the road.

“The security along the axis should be beefed up and those hawking on the road should be controlled to reduce the menace of robberies.”

He added, “We appeal to the government to hasten the work being done on that road, because we don’t know how long it will take the contractor to complete just a section of the road, and look at the distance that has yet to be covered on both sides.

“We appeal to the government to hasten the job and if it is money that is needed to be released to Julius Berger, they should release it. The contractor should also act responsibly, because I am not pleased with the way it is working at a slow pace in that area.”

The Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Police Command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, however, debunked the claim that there was no security on the road, adding that policemen were always on patrol.

He said, “That will be a very strange story, because our policemen are always on constant patrol of those places, and we have never received any complaint of robbery in the gridlock since the construction started.

“Even two weeks ago, some of our men, who were on the Long Bridge, were hit by a truck that lost control, and one of them was killed. Our policemen from Warewa, Ibafo, Mowe and Redemption Camp police stations, and special units are always on the road.

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“If the victims don’t report at any police station, how do we know about it? If you’re robbed, the first place to report to is a police station, and we have about three police stations on that section of the road.”

SOURCE PUNCH

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22 thoughts on “Lagos-Ibadan Expressway gridlock: Commuters lament incessant robberies

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