ASO CHRON­I­CLES Bag snatchers on the prowl in Kubwa

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Emma Elekwa

Un­til re­cently, Kubwa, a satel­lite town in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) had been known to have three ma­jor en­trances, the first gate (Fed­eral Hous­ing Junction), the sec­ond gate (NNPC Junction) and the third gate (NYSC Junction).

But with the cre­ation of another route in-be­tween the Fed­eral Hous­ing and NNPC junc­tions dur­ing the ex­pan­sion of the ten-lane car­riage Abuja-Zuba ex­press­way about four years ago, another junction, link­ing ma­jorly Phase 3 axis and other ar­eas of the town au­to­mat­i­cally sprang up.

Although this new en­trance is yet to be for­mally rec­og­nized as a gate, it has grad­u­ally be­come a pop­u­lar junction where res­i­dents not only stand to wait to board ve­hi­cles, but also where com­mer­cial and pri­vate mo­torists alike stop to pick and drop off their pas­sen­gers.

Ex­pect­edly too, the junction has also turned to a bee­hive of busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, as petty traders and hawk­ers have taken ad­van­tage of the busy junction to dis­play their wares along the road, es­pe­cially in the evenings.

It is there­fore not sur­pris­ing to no­tice the pres­ence of mis­cre­ants ex­plor­ing the busy en­vi­ron­ment to carry out their ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, thereby ren­der­ing the en­tire area in­se­cure.

Close ob­ser­va­tion re­veals that as com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties are busy go­ing on, one side of the junction along the ex­press­way, some ban­dits are also busy lay­ing am­bush on their in­no­cent vic­tims (mostly ladies) and snatch­ing their bags with valu­able items in them.

Al­most on daily bases, cases of women who fall prey to the ac­tiv­i­ties of these crim­i­nal el­e­ments are recorded, with some of them be­ing ar­rested by the po­lice, while oth­ers smartly es­cape.

One of the vic­tims, Florence Ichegbu, who nar­rated her or­deal to Aso Chron­i­cle, lamented how she cried and screamed for help the day she lost her bag to the rob­bers, say­ing she help­lessly watched the crim­i­nal run away with her pre­cious and ex­pen­sive bag con­tain­ing valu­able items.

“As soon as I alighted from the ve­hi­cle, within five sec­onds, the hand­bag I was hang­ing on my shoul­der just dis­ap­peared from my hand. It was just like a dream. As I looked back, I saw the man run­ning to­wards the bush. All I could do was to shout with no one to help,” she be­moaned.

Speak­ing with Aso Chron­i­cle at the Kubwa Po­lice sta­tion, one of the sus­pects, Em­manuel Oche, who was un­lucky to be nabbed by the po­lice while car­ry­ing out the act, con­fessed he was lured into the crime by one of the hand­bag snatchers.

Oche, a com­mer­cial mo­tor park tout, pop­u­larly called ‘ag­bero’, said he was busy with his work one day when the rob­ber ap­proached him with a prom­ise to in­tro­duce him to a new busi­ness which he re­fused to dis­close to him im­me­di­ately.

“He told me that he would in­tro­duce me to a more prof­itable busi­ness which would pay off than the one I am do­ing. When I in­quired what the busi­ness was all about, he said he would only tell me when we get to the lo­ca­tion of the busi­ness,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the sus­pect, the rob­ber, who he ad­mit­ted to have known ear­lier and had al­ways seen han­dling dif­fer­ent kinds of phones, took him to Phase 3 junction, and asked him to po­si­tion him­self by the nearby bush where he would stay to learn the act of bag-snatch­ing.

He said he stood for a cou­ple of min­utes from where he watched, ob­served and mon­i­tored care­fully how the bags were be­ing snatched from the ladies, ei­ther as they were about to en­ter a ve­hi­cle, while they stood wait­ing for a ve­hi­cle, or as soon as they alighted from the ve­hi­cle.

Oche, who re­vealed that they usu­ally took ad­van­tage of the nearby bush where they ran into as soon as they suc­ceeded in snatch­ing the bags, said he was asked to re­sume al­most im­me­di­ately, af­ter he was con­firmed to have learnt the act.

“Once you snatch a bag from a lady, you don’t open it un­til you run in­side the bush where you sub­mit it to the boss who is only en­ti­tled to open it and give you what ever he likes. Some­times he gave me N100 or N50, or at best, gave me the phones from the stolen bag to go and sell and re­mit the pro­ceeds ac­cord­ingly,” he stated.

While con­fess­ing that the fate­ful day he was caught was his third at­tempt in the crime, the sus­pect how­ever said he re­gret­ted ever join­ing the gang, de­scrib­ing that day as mis­er­able, as he was al­most beaten to death by the po­lice­men when he was ar­rested.

He promised not only to go back to the crime again if for­given, but to also as­sist the po­lice in ap­pre­hend­ing his ac­com­plices.

Re­act­ing to the ugly trend, the Kubwa Di­vi­sional Po­lice Of­fi­cer, Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Nur­rudeen Sabo, said although the crime is wor­ri­some, it is not over­whelm­ing, pledg­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of his team not to rest on their oars un­til the en­tire en­vi­ron­ment is rid of the hood­lums.

He dis­closed that his team had taken cer­tain proac­tive mea­sures in check-mat­ing the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing pe­ri­odic sta­tion­ing of am­bush squad at the black spot, as well as reg­u­lar rou­tine pa­trol of the area.

Sabo also hinted the col­lab­o­ra­tion of his squad with some scavengers res­i­dent within the area, who he said, have been of as­sis­tance in ex­pos­ing the crim­i­nals, adding that he had re­quested them to clear the en­tire bush within the area which had served as their hide­outs.

Con­firm­ing the ar­rests of not less than five sus­pects with bags and other valu­able items re­cov­ered from them, the DPO en­joined the res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly women to be vig­i­lant and wary of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the crim­i­nals, in­clud­ing avoid­ance of stop­ping within the area in or­der not to fall prey of the hood­lums.

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