Nwobi Chidubem Valentine
It was on Tuesday morning, October 4th, 2022 when Miracle Okoye, a resident of Corridor Layout, Maryland in Enugu like many others was at the roadside, patiently waiting for a ‘Keke Nape’ tricycle that will take her to her next destination, the Ogbete market.
She was on the roadside where she waited for about 20 minutes before she finally got one tricycle heading her way. With prospect, she hopped in, however, this journey gave her the unimaginable pathetic daylight robbery experience of her life.
She recounted, “After just a few minutes on the ride, I noticed that the driver was not taking the usual route, of course, I had to question him and I asked why. But, all he told me is that he wanted to bypass the traffic ahead. At that very moment, I was skeptical because I didn’t see the possibility of any traffic jam ahead. Before I knew it, the one on my left showed me a gun and I was forced to surrender all I had with me.
“They asked for my ATM card and threatened to shoot me if I didn’t give them the pin. I trembled in fear and did all I was asked to do. They eventually got away with my phone, money, necklace, wrist watch and took the whole money in my account. Afterward, they stopped and pushed me down from the tricycle and left immediately at the speed of light.
“One of the Samaritans who noticed what happened was the one who gave me money to transport myself back home. That day was my first time being robbed in broad daylight and it was such a horrible experience.”
Just like Miracle, Emmanuel Asogwa is also another victim of a tricycle robbery. He mentioned that gone are the days when people easily ran their daily business during the day without fear or harm, but now, things have fallen apart.
“My attack was in the morning around 9 AM, we were just three in the tricycle, the driver and one other person with me at the back. It happened almost immediately after I got in. The driver stopped to pick someone and I adjusted for the person to seat without knowing he was one of them. He showed me the gun on his waist before he forcefully took my phone and the little money I had with me.
“The one standing outside dragged me out of the tricycle and they zoomed off. I never in my wildest dreams thought such a thing could happen that morning. I used to think that thieves attack only at night but that experience changed my perception,” Emmanuel added.
One of the vigilantes stationed at a post in the corridor road who pleaded anonymity said the recent way the residents are being robbed during daylight is outrageous.
“I do receive reports about the ‘Tricycle robbers’ who now patrol during the day searching for their prey. Such things usually happen during the night before His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwunayi, Governor of Enugu State imposed a curfew on tricycle riders from 9 pm-6 am but that didn’t seem to stop them.
“We, the vigilantes have no way to help resolve this particular issue, because such things mostly happen on the expressway. We only patrol the street. To help resolve these issues, the Police post at the Maryland expressway which was demolished during the time of the ‘End SARS’ protest should be rebuilt and Officers too should be stationed at strategic places on the road until order and safety is restored in the area.”
Peter, one of the riders who take the Corridor route also lamented bitterly on how the new form of robbery with tricycles has affected their business.
“We do hear about these issues frequently and it has made the innocent tricycle riders suspicious. Before someone enters your Keke, he/she will carefully examine the passengers and they might end up not entering it.
“It is harder for someone to enter your Keke when two men are already on it. They prefer a man and a woman instead. We have complained to the union to present the case to the Government, and we hope they find a way to curtail this mess soonest,” he added.