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One Chance: Lessons From My Experience (See Photos) 

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One Chance: Lessons From My Experience

I feel compelled to share my story out here so others can learn and act even more smartly when faced with these robbers while on transit. 

The rate of crime in Lagos is increasingly alarming and our security forces are almost oblivious to what area boys/jobless youths/touts are doing to innocent and unsuspecting passengers on the streets of Lagos. 

It was a bright and early Monday morning in Surulere where I live, I had just prepared for work and ready to hit the road before traffic starts building up on our roads for Monday mornings are usually very busy with meetings and appointments that no one dares to miss. I, like the many others who were at the junction at that time stood waiting for our rides. Some were waiting for their staff bus, some friends and colleagues, others commercial buses enroute their destinations. My mobile phones were dead due to the epileptic power supply in my area so I couldn’t contact the colleagues I drive with to work. While I stood at the bus stop, a yellow commercial bus drove by… Half empty.

CMS! CMS!”

Without suspecting, I flagged it down. Joined the bus together with a bystander (male). As the bus drove off, it continued to pick other bystanders who posed like they were rushing off to their businesses that early. I would later find out that they were a gang of robbers save for an elderly woman and a lady who sat at the back and quarreled with the guy who wouldn’t close his legs for her to be comfortable on the journey. 

Midway through, we were all asked to pay for the fare, I brought out the only cash on me, a crisp N1,000 note and paid. Everyone in the bus paid too. The guy next to me demanded for change, I echoed his request as well. The conductor responded by acknowledging his indebtedness to us. There was mild traffic. They made to divert. One passenger behind said he needed to alight from the bus. The conductor told him to be patient for the driver to park well but he was impatient, nudging the lady beside him to give way. 

“Haba! You wan fly?” The lady angrily shouted. 

“I say shift make I come down” The impatient guy responded. 

“O’l boy, wait make we park well na” The conductor said multiple times. 

I couldn’t be bothered by all the drama behind and I concluded within me that those duo behind simply lacked manners for CMS buses by that time carried well mannered people who were rushing to their corporate offices with many dressed in suits and ties. Well, with a few exceptions being cleaners, drivers, security guards of companies. It was always easy to spot. One thing was common, time. Time, which is always of the essence.

That argument before I knew it, turned into a wrestle. Things happened so fast. In a split second I was on the floor. It was a command that I obeyed. The lady behind had been pushed to the middle and the phone in her hand snatched. She screamed while I shivered. The bus kept moving. In my heart of hearts, I thought that fateful Monday was going to be my last. The man beside me, fair in complexion, collected my hand bag and began searching through it. He got hold of my Android phone which was dead and asked me to put it on. I told him innocently that the battery was dead. He thought I was lying and a slap would do the trick, so he slapped me hard. I begged him. I begged him with tears in my eyes to believe me. The guy next to him matched me to shut up. 

“I say on this phone before I rape you here!”

‘Ah! Please don’t touch me. The battery of the phone is dead. It died over ten hours ago. Since last night!’

I noticed after I said that that I was speaking English with an accent to boys who are hungry. So I switched to pidgin. 

“How you dey take unlock your phone?”

‘Na pin!’ I said with a shaky voice. 

“Pin or pattern!? ” The coarse voice barked back. 

‘Pin!’

“Wetin be the pin?” He demanded to know 

”1233′ I told him truthfully. 

“Put your head down! Your hands flat! Close your eyes!”

‘My head dey down. Abeg don’t hurt me. No wound me aabeg!’

“Shut up your mouth!” He brought out a sharp table knife. 

The other guy was still searching through my bag. One with my wallet. The men in front asking the guys behind what they could find in the bag. I had no cash except for the one I paid the conductor with but I had four debit cards. They had found three.

With a slap, they asked for my pin, unknown to me, they had a POS terminal with the chairman in front. I gave a wrong pin. They tried it and it was incorrect. There and then, I thought I felt my tooth leave my mouth for the slap was unleashed out of anger. I began to pray for if I’ll die, I shouldn’t die because of debit card pin that was incorrect. Three words I began to mutter… 

‘Nothing missing. Nothing stolen. Nothing destroyed.’

The lady behind was being rough handled. The mama in front was being harassed. They began to search me roughly. I had a sanitary pad in my handbag just for keepsake. I was calm. They threatened to rape me, it was still dark, I was well covered and the bus was tight but still I prayed. ‘Nothing missing. Nothing stolen. Nothing destroyed’. 

Then the guy with my bag took out my work ID. it was like he struck gold. He told the one with my purse to search for my bank’s debit card. It was hiding somewhere in the purse. That card warehouses all my funds. That card was really liquid. After what looked like minutes, he found it and demanded for the pin. I gave him the correct pin. He typed it on his phone. Asked me for the balance in the account, I said 5k. What befell me made me see stars. I quickly increased it to 20k. Told them I was just a contract staff who only got a job one month ago. So they asked, ‘savings or current?’ 

“Current!” I can’t die lying. 

They got the pins of all my four debit cards and just when one of the guys got off the bus to an ATM for cash withdrawal, I suddenly felt calm. The words I had been muttering began to give me peace. I will leave in one piece. 

The bus driver continued to drive. 

I kept praying inside. 

The men made suggestive comments. 

The lady behind kept screaming as they tortured her… 

Our end was near….

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