Familiar Armed Robbery Tactic in Nigeria
In Lagos state, armed robbers attacked a Lebanese man in Apapa on Wednesday, stealing an undisclosed sum of money from him. The armed men numbering about four were said to have stormed the Adele Road in Apapa on motorcycles, trailing their victim who just left a commercial bank where he withdrew some money.
According to an eyewitness, they shot the victim on the leg and whisked away the money as well as his mobile phones. People were said to have scampered for safety at the sound of the gunshot, making it easy for the criminals to escape.
This was likely a targeted robbery as there is suspicions that the robbers had advance information on who to attack. The gunmen rode close to their victim and demanded that he release the money he just got from the bank to them.
These sort of targeted robberies are fairly common in Nigeria and past trends and tactics indicate the robbers sometimes receive information from accomplices working within the bank, or from the victim’s employees or co-workers. Such opportunistic robberies also occur when the victims operate on a predictable routine.
It is therefore recommended that physical money transactions are limited whenever possible. We also recommend varying bank visitation routines, and minimizing the circle of employees who have knowledge of the cash transactions or bank run routines of the company.
New Rivers State Kidnap Incident, Same gang, Same Location, Same Tactic, Same Reactive Police
The big news over the weekend was the abduction of 15 oil workers from Nestoil, in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers state. The bus taking the employees to work was hijacked along Omoku-Elele Road about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of their office in Nigeria’s petroleum capital of Port Harcourt early on Friday morning and immediately driven to a nearby bush. The Rivers state police command insists that they are close to locating the victims and capturing the perpetrators.
A similar incident occurred in the exact same area on the 12 August 2016, when a gang of kidnappers intercepted a commercial bus, heading to Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area from Port Harcourt, set it ablaze and abducted 14 passengers on board in Rivers State.
The kidnapping gang in this August incident were almost apprehended by the police, but managed to escape. “The police engaged the gang in a shoot-out when two members of the gang came to buy bread for their victims. The police injured one of them who escaped with a bullet wound. We heard that the gang took their injured member to a clinic nearby and forced the workers on duty to treat him at gunpoint. Some members of the gang surrounded the clinic while their injured member was being treated. They left the place before the police could get there.” The victims were freed two days later.
The incident involving the Nestoil workers was likely perpetrated by the same group who had managed to pull off an identical kidnap incident without being apprehended. Transit kidnappings continue to remain the primary tactic of kidnappers in Nigeria. Rivers state accounted for the highest number of kidnap cases reported in the news in the month of August.
One “Faceless” Criminal is Found and Arrested
On 17 August, a “security guard” (known locally as a “gate-man”) killed his employer, a 50-year-old lady in Victoria Garden City (VGC) Ajah, stole her valuables and fled Lagos. The Lagos state police command announced that they had arrested the guard after tracking him back to Taraba State.
Photo: Guard who killed employer in Lagos is arrested in Taraba State
The police stated that “The Decoy Team swung into action immediately, and after seven days, they were able to track Mr. Abdulateef to Taraba State. After about three days in Bali, they were able to recover some of the phones stolen from the victim before eventually arresting the suspect where he was hiding. The three phones, trinkets and the victim’s clothes had been recovered from the suspect, and he has been brought back to Lagos.”
In Nigeria, crimes tend to be carried out by “faceless individuals” who are hardly caught or persecuted. The dedication of the Lagos state police command in this instance is highly commendable. However, the track record of the Nigerian police shows that they are adept at apprehending “suspects” after the fact. More focus and effort need to be put on preventive strategies.