…Use POS to rob unsuspecting victims
By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
The activities of robbers popularly known as “One chance” in the Federal Capital Territory is assuming a frightening dimension.
The deadly gang who now operate during the day and night have added another dimension to their enterprise by moving around with a Point of Sale (POS) transaction machine.
They now target the SIM cards of their victims, alongside ATM cards. It has been discovered that, with the SIM card, they can access their victim’s bank verification number (BVN) and have total access to other accounts linked to it.
Though the police say it is decreasing due to several measures being put in place against it, residents and victims told The Daily Times that ‘One Chance’ robbery style is actually on the increase.
It is usually carried out in commercial vehicles, where criminals pose as passengers only to turn against other passengers in transit.
Mr. Jude Agbo, a resident of Nyanya, a satellite town in the FCT, told our correspondent that he was returning from his office at Maitama Extension around 11:00pm after the day’s job.
He boarded a cab at Mpape junction to go home, but immediately after the car took off, the man that sat beside him removed a gun, pointed at him and asked him to cooperate with them.
He said: “They collected all I had on me. As if that was not enough, they took my ATM card, drove to a bank around the area and requested for my pin with the gun still pointing at me.
“After I gave them the pin, they confirmed to be sure after which they pushed me off the car on the very lonely road. Before the day break, they withdrew N300,000 from my account. It is indeed an experience I will never forget”.
Another incident involved Alfred Uma who was returning to Abuja from Lokoja. He alighted from the popular Utako market where he boarded a taxi to Wuse Zone 5 having no inkling that he boarded a vehicle operated by thieves.
He said mid-way into their journey, just after Sky memorial the robbers announced their mission.
“The two-man gang asked everyone in the cab to obey their orders or get hurt.
“To my utmost shock, these gang had a POS on them. Those of us with ATM cards were asked to transfer money using the POS. We had no choice but to obey because of the dangerous weapons they were carrying”, Uma said.
Residents say they are no longer safe and it is really disturbing because it keeps happening every day. The ugly development has brought safety and security issues to the front burner amongst Abuja residents.
A reporter who was waiting for a taxi at the Federal secretariat also fell a victim of this deadly gang.
According to the reporter simply identified as Alex, as soon as he boarded the cab, he observed that the driver took him through an unfamiliar route.
“It didn’t occur to me that he had a bad motive because I thought he was avoiding traffic only for him to stop on a lonely road not far from AYA, pretending he wanted to take a tool in the boot to check a fault in the cab.
“Before I could say driver ‘hurry up’, he came into the cab with one other man from God knows where who pointed a dagger at me, dispossessed me of my laptop and everything I had on me, then they threw me out of the cab and zoomed off. It was terrible”.
Another ‘One Chance’ incident involved a middle-aged woman who came out from a bank along Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki after withdrawing money.
She boarded an unpainted Volkswagen Golf cab unknowing that four other passengers already seated in the cab were members of the driver’s gang.
Luck, however, ran out on the driver and his gang when a taxi sighted the Volkswagen car and discreetly followed the cab behind having sensed that the mission of the four men in the cab when they picked up the victim was suspicious.
While the criminal and his gang were busy robbing their victim, the taxi driver behind rammed his car into theirs thereby forcing them to stop. That was after they had snatched N57, 000 cash from the woman’s handbag.
The other members of the gang escaped leaving the driver to his fate.
The shouts for help by the woman drew the attention of passersby who pounced on the driver and subjected him to serious beating. He was lynched by a mob.
Many of the red municipal buses that linked the city centre to the suburbs have since been decommissioned and are now wasting at the Abuja Municipal Transport Company park along Kubwa Expressway.
As a result, with the chaotic public transportation need between the city centre and satellite towns, private vehicles have become the only alternative for people to reach their destinations, and also pose the greatest risks.
Most residents (especially those that make use of commercial transportation) have either had encounters or known someone that had an encounter with the criminals.