June 13, 2024

Bustan Daily

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Day hoodlums ‘charmed’ my car after failed robbery attempt on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway –Graphics designer

4 min read

It was the first day of November 2019 and the usual
rush preparatory to Christmas had begun. The
atmosphere was thrilling as motorists and travellers
criss- crossed the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway , a busy
federal highway connecting Lagos, Nigeria ’ s
commercial capital , to other states in the South – West,
South – South and South – East .
Femi Idowu, a graphic designer , wasn’ t travelling that
day but familiar with the usual traffic congestion
occasioned by the plethora of vehicles struggling for
space on the road undergoing reconstruction , including
the wobbly vehicles appearing to find the expressway
a comfortable place to break down.
Closing late from work every day was inevitable for
Idowu, who works at a factory in the Magboro area of
Ogun State. After rounding off work at 12 : 30 am that
Friday, he dashed into his car to get home early
enough to sleep . But no sooner had he got to the Arepo
axis of the road than he was caught in the web of
heavy traffic .
Amid the confusion on the badly lit highway , Idowu
saw some young – looking but gallingly unkempt men
walking menacingly towards him. He initially thought
they were truck drivers who alighted from their
vehicles to relax on the median strip close to his car as
they waited for the traffic to ease. But little did he
know that he was about to encounter his worst
nightmare – highway robbers .
“ I noticed a young boy walked up to me and said , ‘ Hey
you , stop or I ’ ll shoot you because I have a gun with
me . ’ His hand was already on the handle of my door ,
so I quickly wound up the window . I used the glass to
clip his hand in the process but he forcefully removed
it . Suddenly, I heard a bang on the body of my car and
noticed the car started malfunctioning. It started
moving on its own as the brakes became ineffective .
One of the men had hit the car. At that point , I started
calling for help and they ran away . Later , I saw two of
the young robbers running towards me , so I had to
abandon my car and run away . When they got to
where my car was parked , they went round it and
left , ” Idowu said .
The father of two said the incident left him bewildered
because his car had been in an excellent condition
when he drove it to work the previous day . He ,
therefore , found it difficult to believe his car had been
immobilised through diabolical means .
Robberies on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway during the
ongoing reconstruction are commonplace . But the use
of charms on vehicles was novel to him.
“ Definitely , I don ’ t have a doubt about it and I
confirmed from some people who later came to my
rescue . After the incident , I got down from the car and
tried to check whether its battery had a problem but it
was okay . But after leaving my car , they (robbers )
approached another motorist on the same road and
robbed him. They collected his phone , some other
valuables and fled . As soon as I saw them running
away , I returned to my car to check whether it would
start but it didn ’ t , ” he explained ,
He added that luckily for him, he was spotted by some
of his colleagues who quickly contacted officers of the
Federal Road Safety Corps to assist him. But help did
not come until about 30 minutes later when a
commercial driver offered to push the faulty Toyota
Camry car from behind , using his own vehicle .
Idowu added , “ While I was waiting for help , I ran
helter – skelter each time I saw someone approaching
my car. It was later that a good Samaritan came to my
rescue by using his car to push mine from the rear as
he drove until we got to a diversion where some FRSC
officers were. I also later saw my colleagues who had
been looking for a way to get my immobile vehicle
away from the spot it was earlier.
“ That
3am and
I slept at
Bus stop
till dawn
when my
mechanic arrived . He tried to work on the car but to
our surprise , all the nuts were stiff. It was a crazy
experience . When he eventually disassembled the
engine , we saw that everything responsible for making
it functional had gone bad . It got me confused . He told
me that my engine was bad beyond repair . I had to
buy another engine at the cost of about N 240 , 000 . I
went through hell . It wasn ’ t a pleasant experience but I
thank God I wasn ’ t hurt or robbed . ”

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