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‘How I res­cued a vic­tim of one-chance rob­bery’

Weekly Trust - - News - Kukogho Irue­siri Sam­son

At about 8:15 pm on Fri­day, Septem­ber 26th, 2018, I was driv­ing from Kubwa to­wards cen­tral Abuja for an ap­point­ment. It was a reg­u­lar day - play­ing loud mu­sic, mind­ing my business and try­ing to make up for head­ing out too late. Just as I was mak­ing a U-turn after Brick City, a dra­matic scene played out be­fore me.

A Mazda taxi, com­ing from the Zuba side of the ex­press sped past and the same in­stant, I saw a woman rolling on the tar­mac about 20 me­ters from me. She sud­denly leaped to her feet and waved at me fran­ti­cally.

At first, I was con­fused be­cause every­thing had hap­pened in a split sec­ond. Again, it was a dark and de­serted area. Any­way, I stopped and wound down the win­dow to talk to her. Trem­bling, she told me just what I had feared - she was a vic­tim of the one-chance men­ace and she had just been tossed out of their ve­hi­cle in their usual bru­tal man­ner.

She was bruised all over. The bruises were not all from fall­ing out of the car. They had beaten her un­til both her eyes were swollen. The left one looked al­most blinded and bleed­ing. I felt en­raged.

Act­ing on im­pulse, I asked her to hop in and went after her tor­men­tors. I soon caught up with their car. My orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was to fol­low them, record their plate num­ber and track them un­til we reached an area with many peo­ple and/or cars where I could block them and call for help.

Un­for­tu­nately, there wasn’t any such place that night. I con­tem­plated ram­ming them off the road, but then it didn’t seem too wise con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­ble dam­age and the fact that they may be at an ad­van­tage since I was the only one and they were three. I tracked them for about 10 min­utes while I told the woman to record a video with my phone. The men were ges­tur­ing at me to back down. Then they took a sud­den di­ver­sion and I couldn’t find them again. They prob­a­bly hid in the shad­ows some­where.

See­ing that they were gone, I headed back to Kubwa, to the check­point at Arab road junc­tion. There I met an of­fi­cer named Nnamdi Odenigbo. After nar­rat­ing the in­ci­dent, he thanked me for help­ing the woman, ex­changed num­bers with me and di­rected me to Phase 4 Po­lice Sta­tion.

At this point, the woman be­gan to feel re­ally faint. She was ask­ing for wa­ter, but the po­lice­men said I shouldn’t get her wa­ter. The po­lice sta­tion was a long drive away. Of­fi­cer Odenigbo kept call­ing to en­sure the woman was fine. It was past 10 pm when we got there and two pa­trol vans with some of­fi­cers met us at the gate. They ob­served that the woman needed im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion and es­corted us to the Kubwa Gen­eral hos­pi­tal where she was ad­mit­ted. They re­sponded quickly, even though I had to pay be­fore they did that.

Be­fore I left the hos­pi­tal around 11 pm, two of the of­fi­cers, Dick­son Jerome, and Onu Mathias, gave me their num­bers, thank­ing me for tak­ing the risk. Four things bother me about this ex­pe­ri­ence

Firstly, the vic­tim is a poor woman barely sur­viv­ing. Ac­cord­ing to her, she had just col­lected her salary - a mea­ger N25,000 that day and had with­drawn N2000 with which she bought food­stuff at Kubwa mar­ket. It was after that pur­chase that she boarded the one-chance car on her way to Mpape.

Se­condly, the at­tack­ers were ex­tremely and, I think, need­lessly, vi­o­lent. Just after board­ing, they had turned on her, punch­ing slap­ping, chok­ing and stab­bing her in the thigh with a small pointed knife mul­ti­ple times to sub­due her and ex­tract her ATM card PIN.

Again it had been too easy, ex­pos­ing our se­cu­rity lapses. The crim­i­nals had so boldly driven to an ATM gallery for one of them to make with­drawals while his co­horts choked the in­no­cent woman with her own scarf in the ve­hi­cle. She told me that she could hear peo­ple pass­ing by the car through­out the or­deal!

Lastly, the re­ac­tion of peo­ple when I shared a small anec­dote on Face­book sur­prised me. Most peo­ple felt sorry for her and at the same time thought I was stupid for two rea­sons - help­ing her, con­sid­er­ing that she could have died in my ve­hi­cle; and ‘fool­ishly’ fol­low­ing her ab­duc­tors in­stead of just let­ting them go. We do not re­al­ize that it is be­cause of our col­lec­tive cow­ardice that peo­ple like the men who ab­ducted the lady thrive.

The last time I spoke with the woman - through some­one else’s phone, she said she was re­cu­per­at­ing fine, but she couldn’t go out un­der the sun be­cause of her badly dam­aged eye.

Sam­son, a poet based in Abuja, wrote in from Wuse II

The vic­tim is a poor woman barely sur­viv­ing. Ac­cord­ing to her, she had just col­lected her salary - a mea­ger N25,000 that day and had with­drawn N2000 with which she bought food­stuff at Kubwa mar­ket. It was after that pur­chase that she boarded the one-chance car on her way to Mpape

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