BY: SALAMI GBENGA MATTHEW, https://goldvendor.com.ng
It was a glorious morning of a certain day like every other day in life. I observed my morning devotion, put up every other necessary things in place according to my schedule for that day.
I embarked on a journey to Alausa Ikeja Intercontinental Bank to cash out some amount of money meant to purchase a piece of land for my boss’ driver for his job well done.
In a short while, I was through with my transaction in the bank, I boarded a bike that took me to Ikeja outside around Road Safety office area of the high way that linked Berger bridge. I alighted at one junction at this environment and crossed to the other side of the road.
Without delay, there was an oncoming vehicle, < a bus wearing Lagos colour > coming from Oshodi through to Ojota side shouting Berger, Berger…..,! I quickly jumped in, as usual, Lagos city is known for this kind of stuff.
Let me digress a little bit, when you hear people talk about ‘one chance’ vehicle operators, some persons might say; don’t board taxi-cab on the road to any where; some might say; ensure you board a taxi-cab or a bus from a particular garage to your destination. Let me quickly say this, anybody could fall victim of this ordeal. No one is an icon when it comes to the knowledge of the world. I think Psalm 22:21, and 23 respectively should be part of our morning devotion daily, to avert bad omen in life.
Moreover, on getting to Berger bridge where I supposed to have alighted and join a bus to ‘Mowe’ because my journey was still ahead. You know what? This bus refused to stop, at first, other victims and I were of the view that he (driver) wanted a suitable position to park.
Before I could say Jack Robinson, with every other persons on the bus, he had linked another road at his right hand side. This was how we were driven to an unknown location. At this new location, I saw ahead of me a wide gate already opened, no body held it. It was left opened. We entered, then it was closed.
We already knew on the bus that they were armed with guns, matchets, and axe of UTC types. They finally brought out the weapons and told us in the process of matching us inside into one uncompleted underground building, that we really cooperated.We were led to a building which appeared to be under construction, as the upper part was decked but not built. There happened to be an entrance to the underground, which led to a well decorated house.
Now, their real games started, we were queried one after the other, about our occupation? Every one responded accordingly. Those who were with their ATM cards, had them collected. Don’t forget, I was with the money I withdrew from the Bank. All that occupied my mind was that, no matter what, there must be a way of escape from this den.
On getting to me, I held my small bag containing the monies I withdrew tightly to my chest. Two of the hoodlums moved to my direction. One hijacked my bag I held tightly to my chest while the other person started his enquiries. He showed the monies to other colleagues. Then, they asked “What do you do for a living?” I told them; I was a farm manager in Ogun State.
Something happened, they looked at their respective eyes and went into their inner chamber inside that underground. They left all of us (the victims) alone. We were looking at ourselves like dummy toys. We were quiet. Nobody said anything. After all, the door we took in was locked. It was not long, they came out. All of them now focused on me. Somebody now started talking on their behalf. He said the monies they collected from me and others, and the one they would withdraw through ATM are for specific purpose, that we also would benefit from it. Information about the ATM card of those who had it had been supplied before time.
All of us that fell victim looked at one another’s faces patiently to hear more of their formulas. They brought out a big bag in form of our olden days cocoa sack, after which they put a big Mortar covered with red cloth on the sack. The red cloth, which was on the Mortar, had a female statue which had cowries on its neck.
They said, the sack was full of money from Ghana. They explained further that the monies were in US dollars, and of course, it had a code, and that, they wanted to unlock it. They also said the monies they had collected from us would be used to unlock it from a great prophet, though, the monies collected were not enough.
I had a deep thought in my mind, could these people be a 419 liners, ritualists or fraudsters? I calmed myself down still thinking about a way of escape. They collected our phones shortly before this episode but they weren’t switched off. My phone was ringing all through. They brought out a calabash filled with water, sprinkled this water on us and told us straight away that we had entered into a covenant, with which we would have to raise more money. They asked us how we were going to raise it.
At this point, I quickly raised up my hand for me to be called to say something. Of a truth, I was called, I told them, I did not have any money in my bank account but I had a sister in ‘Alagbole Akute’ area of Lagos State that can raise almost a million naira. On hearing this, their ears stood one by one. They quickly replied me by saying “how long will it take me to do that?”
Be that as it may, I said between now and tomorrow morning (It was around 7pm in the night already) Through this discussion and for the grace of God, the leader of the team ordered that I should be taken back to Berger Bus-Stop. I told them, I needed to communicate with them at intervals as regard the monies I wanted to contribute for the unlocking of the code. (They thought, I had lost control and fell for the trick) so what should I do? On the basis of this, the leader who was a tall person like NEPA poll said I should be given my phone to call them.
On the whole, to cut the story short, I was exited from this ordeal through this medium. It was already dark. We had been ransacked when we entered the room at first, therefore, I had no money on me. The man who took me out via instruction gave me some change that would take me to my sister’s place. The fate of other people behind I did not know.
In all things, one should learn to pray without ceasing and be careful. In the next edition of my write-ups, with respect to my personal experience, I will make available some simple ways, how one can be safe from ‘ONE CHANCE VEHICLE OPERATORS ‘. CHEERS!