Robbers in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) now use taxis to dispossess passengers of their money and other valuables. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the activities of the robbers, who pretend to be cab drivers in the city centre, are assuming a frightening dimension.
The robbers operate mostly at night and operate by carrying a passenger and driving to a lonely road; then another member of the gang, hiding inside the boot of the car, comes out from behind the passenger’s seat and points a sharp object to the passenger’s head or neck. The driver and his cohort will then snatch the belongings of the passenger and push him out of the moving vehicle leaving him with serious injuries.
There are two kinds of taxis that ply Abuja roads. The first is charter which picks a single passenger a group to a destination without stopping to pick any more passengers and these are the regular ones that carry a maximum of five passengers usually at a park or bus stop. The second kind of taxis stops and pick passengers intermittently along the way at various bus stops.
It was gathered that the new robbery tactic in Abuja, called ‘One Chance’, started with unpainted taxis but now, the painted green and white taxis have joined in the nefarious act.
Residents say they are no longer safe and it is really disturbing because it keeps happening every day. Many of those who have been attacked are women. The ugly development has brought safety and security issues to the front burner amongst Abuja residents.
At Wuse/Berger Park, Mr. Akande Sunday, a member of the Union of Painted Abuja Taxi, PAT, said painted taxis belong to a number of unions, aside the national union, NURTW, while he explained the colour type at the top of the taxi clearly states which union a taxi belongs to.
“You can differentiate the taxis with the colour on the top of the taxi to know which company a taxi is registered under. For instance, mine is painted blue which is under PAT and this other one (pointing to another taxi), you can see is painted orange which is under NURTW”, he said.
“Majority of the robberies that are being carried out by cabs are mainly by unpainted vehicles because there is nothing to identify them. For example, private vehicles are into the business of carrying passengers; if such operators commit crimes, they go scout free because no one can really identify or trace them”.
In an interview with the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Hyelhira Daniel, on what the police were doing to curb ‘One Chance’, she said they were sensitizing FCT residents on the need to be vigilant, careful and avoid unpainted taxis. (NAN)