Over the years, crime rate in Nigeria has risen to an alarming height. Cases of armed robbery occurrence, pickpockets and shoplifting have increased due to increased level of poverty among the populace. I believe that the crime rate in any country is directly tied to the level of poverty in the country. 

No doubt, the rate of unemployment in Nigeria has become high as thousands of graduates leave school without any hope of getting a decent job. While social services are unavailable to those without jobs, millions of Nigerians watch helplessly as corrupt leaders loot the nation’s treasury with reckless abandon.

Sadly, the corruption and unemployment situation compound the social problems in the country as many unemployed youth easily turn to crime as a way to make ends meet or in defiance of the society that has failed to provide for their basic needs. 

The reasons for the increase in the crime rate in Nigeria are, however, not meant to validate the actions of those who perpetrate armed robbery or any similarly related crimes.

The numbers of robberies, burglaries and thefts usually rate high during Yuletide season.

Each year, these criminals forge new strategies. I put together some new strategies these criminals have used in recent time.

1. Men on Suit

Few months ago, I was a victim of a robbery attack. I was in a hurry to get to the office early, so I decided to leave before the staff bus.

Unfortunately, I became a victim of a group of robbers who disguised as staff of a company.

Three men, all suited with white shirts and a nice tie to go with.

They stopped to ask where I was heading. After observing those in the car, I was relaxed enough to respond. At least, they are going to the office too. 

After I disclose where I was going, they asked me to join them, I was happy. As soon as I enter the car, the doors were auto locked. And, right on third mainland bridge, I was robbed and dropped off on the bridge. 

We all try as much as we can to quickly scan through a bus, or a car before we join the trip. These criminals knows this, and they have suddenly designed a new strategy. Beware!

2. Robbery in Traffic

This is not a new strategy. But, it was almost becoming a solved problem until the recent traffic that has found its way back to major roads. Especially in Lagos.

Let me share with you an experience someone shared with me,

"I got robbed last night around 21:45hrs on Carter Bridge while heading home. I felt the need to share the ordeal to raise awareness and encourage learning from incident.

With CMS- Apongbor road under construction, there is a hellish heavy traffic on that route. Hence I hung around and left late (20:00hrs) in hope that the traffic will have subsided.

Unfortunately, it did not. I decided to use Awolowo and connect to Carter Bridge, then Ijora or Costain, Orile, Mile 2 and home (Festac). 

On Carter bridge, the traffic was evil; the kind people turn off their cars and doze off, then you move 4metres in 10 to 15 minutes.

Waiting and watching in my car, I noticed something unusual around 2:00 am. Turns out two guys (between 19 - 23 years) were robbing the occupants of a car. 

Quickly, I docked my wallet and phones in the floor carpet behind, sat still, thinking of what to do and hoping I don’t fall victim. 

Almost immediately, I noticed another set (meaning they were 4, split in 2 pairs) who just finished robbing another car in front of me. This time, they were moving to the car directly in front of me. 

Cold and shivering, I decided to do what I should have done earlier (get out of my car, lock it and walk away). But as I opened the door, one with a gun ran to me, pointing the gun to my mid-region, asked me to get back into my car and hand him my valuables. I told him my phones and wallet were collected at mile 2 the other night and I had none. He had a quick look at me, asked for my wristwatch. While I was pulling it off, he noticed my wedding ring, asked for it too. I handed him both, he did a quick search of the car and picked some change I left in my cup holders and then joined his gang down the lane. These happened in less than two minutes"

Lesson to Learn

Avoid driving alone late at night

If you will drive late at night, move with friends. I say this because amidst the robbery on Carter Bridge, a particular car was not robbed. It had three guys and a lady. Though they saw me getting robbed but sat still in the car. They only asked if I'm alright after the robbery.

Hide your valuables when in heavy traffic

The booth is the most ideal place even for your phones. Use Bluetooth to receive calls. Forget about calling, replying chats or emails, facetiming etc. until you are in a safe place

If you notice any robbery (ahead or behind you) before they get to you, step out of the car, lock it and walk away in opposite direction. Hence, fore and hind vigilance is important.

Do not fight a thief with a weapon

Your valuables are important, yes, I know. But, your life is more valuable than silver or gold. If they get to you (God forbid), be humble, give them whatever they sight without struggle. 

Even if you are protecting diamonds, everyone will blame you if you die trying.

A gun is pointed at you, you don’t know 3 things; is it real? is it loaded? can/will he shoot? 

Please, don’t ponder on those. Play the coward. Submit totally.