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The security situation in the capital city of Ibadan, Oyo and Nigeria as a whole is getting messier day in day out with cases of robbery both day and night continuing unchecked by the necessary security agencies appropriately and most especially when the alleged perpetrators are said to be camouflaging with one or other Nigeria security uniforms.

In a brief chat with Akintunde Yusuf (DailyNewsNG), a chieftain of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, in Oyo State recounted his sad experience during his recent return from abroad where he is faring well in his business and professional career.

In his narration, the victim who for security reasons wants to stay anonymous explained that it was a sad one for him as he has never experienced such in his life, in both Nigeria and abroad but unfortunately, he tasted the bitter part of the state of insecurity in Oyo State and most especially the capital, Ibadan.

 

How did it happen?

 

Thank you. On that ill-fateful day, I was driving through Bodija to secretariat road leading to UCH second gate and total garden area at about 10pm. I drove out in my Mercedes Benz SUV. After turning into the Agodi GRA area opposite UCH second gate, I noticed a vehicle following me at a distance, a white Toyota Hilux that resembled a police or security patrol vehicle. When I turned onto the street I was going, they didn’t continue following me at first.

Then when I turned into the driveway of the house I was going and was waiting while the gateman was starting to open the gate, the Hilux suddenly sped up and parked behind me, blocking my rear! Three-gun toting men dressed like our respected DSS officers jumped out brandishing their guns at me and the gateman. One of them pointed his gun at the gateman, ordering him to shut the gate. The others flanked me on the left and right, ordering me to open the door or else they would open fire.

At that point, I calmly wound my window down saying that they must be mistaken. The gunman on my left said something to the effect that they have been looking for me for a long time.

 

Because of their initial posture as official security agents, I thought in my mind that we will surely resolve this mistaken identity matter easily when we get to their office. As I alighted from the vehicle, I was quickly ushered into the back seat of the waiting Hilux. One gunman climbed into my SUV and seemed to have difficulty getting the car into reverse gear. The one driving the Hilux, went to assist him in getting the car moving. Then he spun the car around and started driving off.

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The third gunman insisted that I should get off the backseat and slide into the narrow footwell between the front seats and the rear seat. When I resisted, he started to hit me, so I complied and managed to tuck my feet under the driver’s seat and slid my right side to the floor with my head abutting the right rear passenger door. This fellow sat on the rear seat with his feet astride me. Then the Hilux driver sped off following my SUV.

 

After the speed off following your SUV, what comes to mind, like what do you think of?

 

All this while, my mind was racing. It became glaringly obvious that these were common criminals not from any official security agency. Now, what were my options? Then suddenly, jarring me out of my thoughts, the one in the back started struggling to remove the Apple watch on my exposed left wrist. It was at this moment that I made up my mind to escape, I dreaded how bad things could get in their den. I thought of my family and my whole life flashed through my thoughts. I said a quick prayer and was determined to surprise them and give them a taste of hell. But how? I knew it would become carjacking, kidnapping, ransom, torture and even murder if I followed them to their den.

 

I observed that the one in the back seat with me was careless with his gun. He was toying with my wristwatch, I could have snatched his gun and turned it on, but the risk was great, what if I couldn’t operate the trigger? What if it wasn’t even loaded?

THEN I OVERHEARD A COMMENT WHERE ONE OF THEM SAID ‘BIG FISH L’ELEYI OO’. THAT COMMENT WAS ANOTHER CONFIRMATION THAT I HAD TO ESCAPE THESE CALLOUS CRIMINALS.

With an adrenaline rush I pushed up from the rear footwell yelling that the space was too tight, I was immediately hit in my right leg inguinal area with the gun. I knocked the gun out of his hand to the floor under the driver’s seat and grabbed the fellow in the back by his throat, while he was hitting me with all kinds of blows. But I was simultaneously focused on kicking at the head and neck of the driver with my right foot with all the power I could muster. While I kept the driver engaged with my right foot, he was swerving all over the road and still speeding to catch up with my SUV that was ahead.

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Sad, but you escaped, how come?

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Then in the midst of all this ruckus, a thought flashed through my mind, what next?! How can I escape? So, I reached out with my right hand and opened the right rear passenger door. Then the criminal in the backseat started pushing me out of the speeding vehicle. I struggled to avoid hitting my head and face, then I landed on the road deeply scraping my right lower back, my right elbow and shoulder. Several tiny stones and sand debris became embedded into my skin. The UCH Emergency Department Doctor only treated the obvious scrapes, but the embedded stones took several weeks and a couple of surgical procedures abroad to debride the wounds.

My total encounter with these criminals felt like an eternity but only lasted about 15 minutes. In that time span, they had driven out of Agodi GRA estate, possibly passing through Total Garden roundabout and through Yemetu and I finally escaped at Kanake near Beree roundabout.

God is wonderful for your safety and escape. But you said you found your car the following day, how come?

Yes. I did. After seeing them driving away. I had lost everything with me like phones, wallet, backpack and everything to them with the car. Some neighborhood vigilante helped me get to the nearby police station. There, I made an official report. The police DPO in charge made an attempt to trail them but was not successful. But he sent a signal about the stolen car. Kudos to them. And since I hid my car key from them, I knew that the car would stop either due to the absence of the key or they would run out of fuel and they would not be able to restart the push-start.

How did you now retrieve your car?

The DPO probably had sent a signal of the situation as earlier said. And the car stopped after running out of fuel at a remote village near the Idi-Iroko border and they were unable to fuel and restart without the key in proximity.

The following day, I was at the police station after leaving UCH for treatment to know the latest of possible retrieval. The DPO informed me of the car at Idi-Iroko Border. We both drove there, six hours away on terrible roads that day to bring back the SUV to Ibadan.

What about other valuables in the car?

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They went away with some and others they were unable to, I met them in the car.

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You should be grateful again for Nigeria’s security system.

Yes. I thank them for the effort put in place to retrieve my car and my safety that night. They did wonderfully well. And still at that, there is need for improvement to our security system. There is a police post or station inside Secretariat and another divisional headquarters at Total Garden Yemetu. How these criminals are successfully operating in that axis is unknown and yet to be tamed.

After the incident, I have a number of people narrating one bad experience or the other in that axis and nothing has been done to put a stop to it.

There will always be room for improvement. They will improve and kudos to those officers who helped you in everything. So, what do you suggest on the way forward to decrease the rate of robbery and kidnapping in Ibadan?

I think there is a need for the government to step up their game in the areas of security. Especially here in the capital city where possible investors will first stay for days before anything. My boss of blessed memory, the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi who instituted Operation Burst patrol teams always insisted that before any progress or development, we must have secure streets and communities.

Let me say this, in that route where I was robbed. I think the government should situate men of the local security network, Amotekun in that area. The axis is close to the seat of government, secretariat and the governor’s residence at the Government House. We must not let it be porous like that.

Also, there should be partnership with the government by those owning one company or the other in their respective locations.

In that axis, there is BOVAS, a franchise Hotel, three big banks, UCH, and other government agencies building, why can’t they all pull resources together and partner with the state government to install CCTV cameras and have monitoring rooms somewhere secure. They are not only securing the area but their business, customers and potential customers. I believe this will help curtail the increase in crime that we are experiencing.

The model should be repeated in other volatile and high crime areas or axis in the state.

Thanks for sharing your bitter experience with. And we thank God on your behalf for the gift of life. God’s protection will continue to be with us.

NOTE: IMAGE USE FOR ILLUSTRATION ONLY.

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