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Robbers take over Ore-Benin Road

Posted by By Christopher Oji on 2005/08/06 | Views: 539 |

Robbers take over Ore-Benin Road


Travellers on the Ore-Benin Road have told how the bad road has been helping armed robbers to rob people of their possessions.

Travellers on the Ore-Benin Road have told how the bad road has been helping armed robbers to rob people of their possessions.

An 85-year-old man, James Ojei, described his journey from Lagos to Delta State as "walking in the shadow of death".
Pa Ojei said: "I left Lagos in a chartered taxi and the journey was a smooth sail until we passed Ore going to Benin. Suddenly, we ran into a traffic jam. I asked what the problem was and I was told that the road was bad and that a trailer broke down in a ditch at the centre of the road."

He said that his driver was asked to follow another track way that would lead him to Okada town from where he would link the express way, adding that as they were following the route, they experienced heavy traffic

He said that as they were crawling in the thick bush, they saw some people running helter-skelter, shouting: "Armed robbers! Armed robbers!"
The old man said: "People started running inside the thick and wet bush but as an old man, where would I run to. So, I stayed put in my vehicle and my driver ran for cover. I was in the car when six armed men came to me and said papa, we won’t shoot you but just cooperate with us.

"As I had read so much in the papers on how ruthless robbers could be, I behaved myself."
He asked them what they wanted and they told him that they needed dollars and pounds. He was amazed. And he wondered why would they want foreign currency from local travellers?

Pa Ojei added: "However, to save my life, I told them that I only had naira notes and they threatened to kill me if they searched me and saw any foreign currency on me and I told them to go ahead and search.
"One of them said that I should hand over the naira notes I had before they would search me."

According to him, owing to fear that they could search me, I handed over the N95,000 given tome by my son to arrange for his traditional wedding. If I had known that they would not search me, I would have given them just N45 I had in my purse instead of handing over all the money I had on me."

Ojei said that he was surprised at the brazen way the robbers dispossessed travellers of their belongings with reckless abandon. He added: "They had a field day and did to us as they liked because when they left my car, they still went to the next one behind me, from there to the next till I could not see them any longer. And the worse part was that I sat patiently in the car, without any heroic attempt because I knew that those were deadly men.

Pa Ojei wondered why the Federal Government should abandon its responsibility of repairing the road, adding: "Ore-Benin road is owned by the Federal Government. Let them live up to expectation and see that our roads are maintained. If the road had been in good shape, the robbers wouldn’t have ambushed us so easily and got us so cheaply."
Another victim, George Onyema who described the encounter "the day the devil chose to act." He said that he had never experienced such a terrifying thing in his life.

Onyema said: "When we ran into the terrible traffic, we saw some people following a bush path, which someone said led to Okada town. Our driver wanted to follow that way but a friend of the driver advised against it as he said robbers were raiding commuters unchallenged on the road leading to Okada."

He said that they decided to wait for the hold-up to thin out, hoping that the said broken trailer could be towed on time. However, as the waiting became too long, some of the passengers fell asleep only to be rudely awakened by a loud bang on the bus.

"Lo and behold, we saw hefty armed men pointing guns at us to surrender all that we had. In a jiffy, they dispossessed us of everything we had, including handsets, wristwatches, money and jewellery. Before you could say Jack Robinson, the fearless marauders had gone ahead to rob the second, third cars in a lightening operation and ran to a push path," Onyema said, adding that as victims recounted their woes amid weeping, other people told tales of more serious devilry.

The businessman wants the Federal Government to do something urgent to save road users from incessant attacks from night marauders and armed robbers. He expressed disappointment at the police which should have mounted 24-hour patrol or police presence in such spots to forestall hoodlums’ operations

"If the presence of the police was established in those areas, the robbers wouldn’t having a field day wreaking havoc on innocent travellers in broad daylight," he said, adding: "If passengers can face such terror in broad daylight, I tremble to think of the evil night travels portend for people. Many of our highways are bad and they need repairs to aid unhindered flow of traffic. If that road had been repaired, we would not have experienced that attack."

Another traveller, Samuel Okolie said: "Although, I was not robbed on the fateful day, I have had such experience last year when I was travelling from Lagos to Delta and I ran into the bad spot occasioned by a long queue. I started praying to God not to allow robbers attack us because it was in an area where the bush was most thickset and there was no presence of any security apparatus, including the police at all."

He said that after some hours, they managed to pass through, adding: "Later at a filling station in Benin where our vehicle had stopped to refuel, other road users met us. They began to narrate their ordeals in the hands of robbers at the same spot that we passed unscathed by the guidance and protection of the almighty God.’

Okolie advised the Federal Government to do something urgent to redress the situation, adding: "The government should not wait until a big wig is killed on the spot before they do something to help travellers on that dangerous road. Government should remember that we all voted them into power to serve and protect us. A stitch in time saves nine."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.