As bad as that night may seem to some of you, it could have been so much worse. Have you ever sat across the table from someone that tells you of his kidnapping and escape? He said, "They beat me and then they threw me into my boot. They thought I was some actor. I stopped the boot from shutting but held it down so that they wouldn't know. They sped off and when they slowed down, I leaped out of the boot and fled."
This is the sort of terror that Lagosians expect. Stories that involve casual brushes with disaster are almost never surprising. This is perhaps truer now than its ever been.
Several report that crime in the city is the greatest it has been in recent memory. Going to the police is often the gunpowder laced icing on the cake. You can quote me on that last part. It takes a certain sort of audacity to ask the victim of a crime to fund the official investigation into the crime. It is this sort of audacity that the Nigerian Police Force exhibits by the bucket load. In a statement to Thisday, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police said, "We have only been faced with pockets of traffic robbery incidents, but they are hardly reported at our police stations. The attacks are only reported by victims via twitter." The reporting journalist didn't ask why that was. It seems a little weird that people who've just been robbed prefer to trust twitter, a social media application more than they do the people who are sworn to protect them.
The good Commissioner went on to say, "But let me assure you that the ugly trend has reduced drastically. We have been going after them along Apongbon, Oworonshoki, Costain and Onikan bridges, respectively." The article where this quote appeared was published on the 16th of November, so I find the following story, published on twitter the following morning more than a little bit troubling.
we were in traffic at about 5:45AM this morning accessing V.I through the bridge that leads into onikan roundabout...— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
Those guys are always lurking around there waiting for their next victim preferable women...— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
They walked close to a lady in a black Camry, stood at both sides of her doors, put a white cloth on her door glass BOOM > Window Smashes.— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
Before I could even understand what was going on, They opened her door and took everything they could from the Car. I just told myself...— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
O boy! U're next! I took my windows down hid my phone and kept my tab where they could see it...I was willing to sacrifice that not my life.— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
3 cars behind me as well, Another set of robbers..Another car, An SUV this time another Female...ROBBED! All in that traffic to enter Onikan— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
you could tell they had an entourage lurking around...they didn't look armed but you never can tell...they looked like area boys— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
No Police, No security agents at sight to help...just Unarmed citizens looking at each other helplessly. It was a scary experience.— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
The next day? On a bridge where robberies had been drastically reduced? Mr Commissioner somebody's having a nightmare at work. Oh dear! It can't be easy can it? I'll spell the possibilities out.It's sad nothin is being done about these robberies, Cos I can bet they will be there again tomorrow, Same Time waiting for the new targets.— Oga Ade™ (@BabatundeCASH) November 17, 2015
- The Commissioner is Pinocchio without the nose.
- The Nigerian Police Force is waltzing this man around the biggest dance floor in the world.
I spoke to Mr. Oladipe Adekunle on twitter this morning about an incident he witnessed last night. This is his version of events.
A man randomly walked through the traffic and stopped when he spotted a female driver. He smashed her side window and grabbed her purse and phone and casually walked to the other lane where an Okada (a small motorcycle) was waiting for him. He got on the Okada and they took off. This happened near the Oando Roundabout on the Lekki Express Way where there are Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) officials, police officers and about 3 patrol vehicles.
We went to tell the police officers what happened but their response and the body language that accompanied it was terrible. The said, "Oga but you know Christmas is coming... Thank God na only phone and purse dem take."
Adekunle went on to say, "The truth is that security officials need to be well equipped to handle such crimes and protect citizens. This never happened during Fashola's time, what is Governor Ambode doing?!"
The sentiment that Governor Ambode isn't doing enough to keep the state in order is one that's shared by several Lagosians. However, it is important to note that the Nigerian Police Force is a federal organisation and not a state one. Lagos has no state police, even though it may very well be one of few Nigerian states that could ostensibly afford one.
When speaking at the closing session of the four day Leadership Retreat for the State Executive Council, Governor Ambode said, "We're not yet where we want to be. We have only just 33,000 policemen in Lagos for a population of over 20 million. Again we don't have control over these policemen."
He went on to say that Lagos State had gone beyond its budget limit, and was spending money to support police operations in the state."
However Lagosians are perhaps interested in the results than they are the statements and promises of commitment.