In Nigeria, the term One Chance refers to a form of robbery in which passengers are lured into supposed commercial vehicles full of criminals, after which they will be dispossessed of their belongings, money and other valuables. Despite horrifying tales from survivors people still fall victim to this ugly trend daily.
More recently, same incident happened in Auta balefi on June 7th 2023.
Auta Balefi, a suburb in Karu Local Government of Nasarawa State with ever growing population, this continuous population rise has led to an alarming increase in crime rate and new pattern to perpetuate this act. The new pattern involves people who disguise themselves as passengers and riders in tricycle (keke napep), saddled with the aim of snatching phones and other valuables from victims who unknowingly board it. This worrying trend has caused fear in the minds of residents and commuters who frequently pass through the area via public tricycles
A victim who is identified as Faith Ayuba, a college student in Nasarawa state shared her ordeal. It started when she boarded a tricycle at Masaka bus-stop to Auta Balefi and was the second passenger in the seat behind the driver’s position.
A few minutes later, another passenger waved and the driver stopped, he joined them and thus completed the normal third and last seat behind the driver making Faith the passenger in the middle.
It was not up to 10 minutes into the journey the passenger who had just joined them removed a small dagger and pointed at Faith’s belly with a scary look and placing his index finger to his lips to order Faith to shut up.
The passenger at the left hand side had already asked her not to shout or else she would not live to tell the story, he thundered. “Just submit your phone and bag, that is all we need from you,” the tricycle driver threatened while maintaining an innocent look to avoid attracting attentions from passersby. “The looks on their faces were mean,” Faith said.
After surrendering all her belongings to them, they dropped her at the junction where she was meant to alight and flee with speed.
Explaining further to SecretReporters in a chat, the visibly terrified victim said the thugs were not having any form of masks on, but that was obviously her first encounter. She also added that the tricycle seems new.
“It is the first time I am experiencing such a horrifying moment. It felt so surreal. I literarily had my heart in my mouth when they ordered me to give them my phone and everything I had with me,” she said.
According to her, the sad incident has made her depressed. “Since that day, I have been having horrifying images in my head every now and then especially when I am alone. Only God knows how long it will take for me to overcome this.”
She averred that the moment she alighted from the vehicle, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her. “I just wanted to save my head first,” she quipped.
When asked if she reported the incident to the police, she affirmed in the negative. “I don’t have strength for Police and I really don’t want to get myself into more troubles. The most important thing is that I still have my life. By God’s grace, I will get another phone,” she added.
The victim, however, hoped that the government will put a stop to this predominant crime in Auta Balefi. “I have been hearing about how criminals force commuters to surrender their belongings. Little did I know it will ever happen to me. The government needs to do something about it because it is gradually becoming a norm in this axis,” she said.
Findings suggest that this ‘one chance’ mode of operation is common in public vehicles especially small commercial cars. This shows that the use of tricycle to perpetuate this act is new. In developed areas especially, a good number of people waiting for commercial vehicles ignore taxi vehicles rather, they opt for big coaster buses due to precautionary decision, as the larger buses were considered safer to patronize at any hour.
The deadly zone where crimes like ‘one chance’ happen is usually along Area 1 Masaka to U-turn Masaka along Abuja Keffi Road. While there is no detailed information to find out how often these incidents happen in Auta Balefi, the frequency of social media outcry from victims is alarmingly high.