18 February 2013

Nigeria: NURTW Seeks Collaboration With FCTA to Eliminate 'One Chance' Gangs

The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has called for collaboration among the Federal Capital Territory Administration, transporters and security agencies to eliminate criminal gangs, popularly called, "one chance", in Abuja.

Mr Lawrence Fadipe, the Secretary of NURTW Mass Transit Nigeria Ltd, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday said the elimination of the gangs needed collaboration among all stakeholders.

The gangs, who disguise themselves as transport operators to dispossess people of their property, money and other valuables, are noted to have intensified their operations in FCT.

These gangs are mainly seen at Area1 Roundabout, Wuse II, Airport Road, Lugbe, Mabushi Roundabout and Berger Roundabout.

"We know our members and the other operators know their members so whosoever that is not our member they should try to bring us in to identify them so that they will be dealt with," he said.

He, however, advised the public, especially visitors coming into the FCT for the first time, to endeavour to enter officially approved painted vehicles in Abuja.

Explaining that there were five registered licensed transport operators in FCT, Fadipe added that each of the operators had its identification numbers on vehicles under its control.

He said that all registered vehicles had numbers that could be used to track them.

"Vehicles that registered with NURTW Mass Transit Nigeria Ltd which is one of the transport operators have their identification numbers.

"If any passenger boards our vehicle and eventually something happens, the passenger should come back to report the colour and side number and we will fish the person out," Fadipe said.

Meanwhile, many people have complained of recent attacks by the criminal gangs and appealed to the authorities to provide security for passengers.

Miss Bushrat Yusuf, a civil servant, said she entered a taxi from Area 8, Garki, and fell victim to the "one chance" criminal gang.

"It was as if I was charmed because within the short distance they drove and dropped me, I discovered that my belongings, including N15, 000 cash, were missing from my bag," she said.

Another civil servant, Miss Katurak Yashim, narrated how she boarded a taxi at 9 p.m from Area II Shopping Complex, Garki, to Wuse Zone 1 and was robbed.

"I sat in front with the driver not knowing that there was another person hiding at the back seat of the vehicle.

"He just suddenly sprang up and put a knife on my neck, saying that I should close my eyes and cooperate if not they will kill me.

"They collected everything I had, including my gold jewellery, laptop, handset and some money while driving me around the Central Business Area, Abuja, then dropped me out immediately they finished," she said.

Mr Peter Ani, A young man who came into Abuja for the first time, said he was dispossessed of his valuables by a gang in January.

He appealed to the government to work out ways of tacking e the criminal gangs.

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