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Wicked! Bus robbers attack commuters with acid

Posted by By Victor Ogbonnaya on 2005/08/18 | Views: 627 |

Wicked! Bus robbers attack commuters with acid


A worrisome and disturbing dimension in commercial bus robbery is emerging in the Lagos metropolis. The use of dangerous chemical and raw acids by bus robbers who arm themselves with what medical experts describe as "concentrated acid," which they use in bathing their victims during such criminal operations, is now on the increase.

A worrisome and disturbing dimension in commercial bus robbery is emerging in the Lagos metropolis. The use of dangerous chemical and raw acids by bus robbers who arm themselves with what medical experts describe as "concentrated acid," which they use in bathing their victims during such criminal operations, is now on the increase.

Incidents of acid attack in the country in the past were associated with love gone-sour, in which case an aggrieved lover, who felt betrayed or unfairly treated in a campaign of hate or vendetta, resorts to chemical attack either to disfigure or maim the perceived offender. But with the emerging style of robbery, commuters are not only suspicious of virtually each other, but also highly skeptical about occupants of any vehicle they intend to board.

This has not only affected the psyche of Lagos commuters but adversely traumatized victims who now live in fear. On August 3, 2005, a four-man robbery gang attacked with raw acid, a CMS-bound bus, which stopped over at Apongbon bus stop to discharge its passengers.
One of the passengers and victim of the acid bath, Miss Esther Ekong Udoh, narrating her ordeal to Daily Sun at the Lagos General Hospital, said: "The gang rushed our vehicle in the usual manner people rush to board buses while occupants try to disembark. However, instead of boarding, they started sprinkling what initially looked like water on disembarking passengers until it started burning and itching whatever spot it touched on body.

"And while about 14 of us that were on board the minibus were trying to establish what was happening amidst intense pain and unimaginable confusion, the robbers descended on us like vultures and started to dispossess us of our belongings including handbags, handsets, shoes, necklaces and wrist watches, trinkets and other valuables.
This lasted for only God-knows-when as it seemed like eternity. The surprising thing is that there was no form of intervention from any quarters. People passed by in the usual mind-your-business Lagos manner without batting an eyelid in what seemed like the normal everyday fight among passengers. The driver of the bus was also affected.

"The next thing I remembered was lying on the General Hospital bed under this unimaginable pain. I could not open my eyes for days and the doctors at the emergency ward of the hospital where I gathered we were rushed to, really tried their best to revive me. Now, I can see but the pain is much."
Another of the seriously affected victims, a middle aged man, is yet to regain his consciousness and could not be identified. Doctors confirmed that he suffered serious burns especially on his face and may not recover his sight.

Speaking with Daily Sun, the elder brother of Miss Udoh, Mr. Innocent Ekong Udoh described the incident as "heart-rending," wondering why a human being could think and wish fellow human an evil of such magnitude. He called on the federal and state governments to urgently come to the aid of the victims now at the Intensive care Ward of the General Hospital to rehabilitate and provide them with adequate Medicare.

The medical surgeon handling the case, Dr Akeem Ojugbele of the Plaster Burns/Surgery Department described the incident as an emerging tragedy, which needed the urgent attention of the security services, especially intensification of police patrols to safeguard commuters.

Dr Ojugbele said: "Only Esther and the male victim who we cannot identify, sustained extensive thermal burns which affected their faces. In the case of Esther, we thought her two eyes were seriously affected, but luckily, after a few days she was able to open them up. It was a miracle. God saved her."
"It is more of superficial burns, that is to say it is more of a cosmetic problem. It will not cause her any deformity because the affected area though it would be hypo-pigmented, would still perform its functions. For now, we are not thinking of reconstructive surgery because it is cosmetic given our local climate. We are now dressing the wounds on a daily basis and do hope that she will be discharged soon. At the moment, she is on anti-biotic and blood building drugs."

On the cost of the treatment of the acid victims, Dr. Ojugbele told Daily Sun: "They are to bear the cost of their treatment. Routinely, what we do under emergency is to provide necessary treatment until we are able to contact the victimís family. There is no provision yet for free treatment of acid victims. We are handicapped. We treated and discharged all those other victims whose cases were not serious.
Daily Sunís investigations revealed that commuters in Lagos are now afraid of jumping into just any bus. This is as a result of recent upsurge in the incidence of bus robberies where many of the victims after being robbed of valuable possessions were pushed off moving vehicles resulting in accidents and physical damages, including spinal cord and other injuries occasioning life-long trauma.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.