Commuters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and its surrounding areas are living in fear due to the alarming rise in criminal activities perpetrated by a group known as ‘one-chance robbers.’ These criminals have been causing havoc, leaving residents and travelers in a state of constant anxiety.
The ‘one-chance robbers’ are a dangerous syndicate often armed with deadly weapons, including AK-47 rifles. They operate by posing as both commercial vehicle drivers and passengers, making it difficult for their victims to identify them until it’s too late.
Despite the horrific tales shared by survivors, residents in the FCT, Nasarawa, Niger, and Kaduna states continue to fall prey to this menace on a daily basis. These criminals specialize in robbing unsuspecting passengers, and they are not hesitant to resort to violence, especially when their victims resist their demands.
According to reports, these ‘one-chance robbers’ frequently employ vehicles with deceptive license plates, using foreign or local plates at the back and Nigerian plates in front, to evade capture after committing their crimes. This criminal syndicate has also been linked to the ongoing banditry and kidnapping crisis in the FCT and its neighboring regions.
The FCT Police Command made efforts to curb this menace, with the establishment of the ‘Anti-One Chance Squad.’ On October 13, 2023, this squad impounded approximately ten vehicles suspected of being used in ‘one-chance’ activities. Three suspects were apprehended during the operation, and law enforcement seized two AK-47 rifles, two magazines, and 35 rounds of live ammunition.
Tragically, there have been casualties resulting from these incidents. In one heartbreaking case, Greatness Olorunfemi lost her life on September 26, 2023, after being stabbed and thrown out of a moving vehicle along the Maitama-Kubwa Highway. Another resident, Monday Adache, was hospitalized on October 9 after a similar ordeal.
Although many of these incidents remain underreported, the situation persists, despite the diligent efforts of security personnel in the territory.
A victim, Miss Anthonia Anebi, shared her harrowing experience when she was abducted by these criminals on October 29, 2023. She recounted how she boarded a taxi, not suspecting that it was a ‘one-chance’ vehicle. The criminals stripped her of her belongings, including a phone worth N800,000 and her life savings.
Efforts by law enforcement agencies to combat these non-state actors continue, with the FCT Police Command keeping their strategies confidential. Additionally, the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has taken measures to close down illegal motor parks operating in the territory to address this growing security concern.
Minister Wike emphasized the commitment of the FCTA to making the city a safer place, stating, “We’re getting a lot of reports about kidnappings here, about one-chance there. In most cases, we don’t even let the public know what has been done. I can tell you that the security agencies have done quite a lot. If not, by now, the FCT would have been a different thing.”
He also mentioned the creation of a joint security task force, involving various security agencies, to address the issue of ‘one-chance’ robbery and other security challenges.