They lurk around areas prone to traffic in Lagos and sometimes at bad spots, waiting for their prey. Sometimes, they pretend to be beggars and at other times hawkers or commuters.
They are between ages 16 and 40, all males. Some of them are homeless. They sleep in markets, bus-stops, open fields and uncompleted buildings after operation.
Formerly, they operated only under the cover of darkness, springing out from their hiding places, to dispossess their victims mainly of cash, phones and laptops.
But today, they brazenly display their acts of notoriety in broad daylight, without fear of being apprehended by security agents.
Traffic congestion in Lagos has become a recurring nightmare that seems to have overwhelmed relevant government agencies.
Although the Lagos State Police Command, which is the lead agency in traffic management, has come out with many strategies to manage the situation, the continued influx of Nigerians from other parts of the country to Lagos, due to the state of insecurity there, has heightened the already tensed traffic situation in Lagos.
Daily, Lagosians go through harrowing experiences in gridlock. As if that is not enough, traffic robbers hijack the situation to carry out their nefarious activities, which have sent some Lagosians to early graves while others are left with scars of the ugly encounter.
Prone areas: Mile-Two/Badagry expressway
Areas where these traffic robbers operate include Agboju/Alakija, Abule-Ado, Okokomaiko, Iyana-Oba, Oko-Afo and Magbon, all, along the Mile-Two/Badagry expressway.
On this axis, they operate in batches. A vehicle for instance can be attacked by different groups. One of the reasons of having an upperhand is majorly as a result of bad roads, which keeps motorists at a spot for several hours.
At Alakija and Mile-Two, presence of articulated vehicles which usually take over the entire road, aid traffic robbery operations.
Few months ago, two suspected members of the gang that had been terrorising commuters along Agboju/Alakija were arrested by policemen led by the then DPO Satelitte, CSP Chike Oti, in a hotel around Satellite Town.
The gang as gathered, converged in the hotel between 6pm and 7pm, on any given operation day to strategize on how and when to launch an attack on their victims that were trapped in traffic .And at the end of each operation, members of the gang would retire back to the hotel to share their loot and return again, between 12 midnight and 1am to continue from where they stopped. By that time, trucks would have taken over the ever busy expressway, leaving private motorists at the mercy of the gang.
Lagos/Ikorodu Express road
The Lagos /Ikorodu express road is another axis where traffic robbers hold sway, no thanks to the perennial gridlock in which motorists could be trapped for hours. Findings revealed that the gridlock at Ketu, Ojota and Mile 12 bus-stops is caused by commercial bus-drivers who park on the road to pick or drop passengers and traders who display their wares on the road especially in the evening, and hawkers who approach passengers trapped in traffic for patronage.
At Fadeyi, Maryland and other bus-stops along the expressway, traffic robbers take advantage of the build-up of traffic caused by traffic lights to operate.
Ogolonto and Ikorodu bus-stops inside Ikorodu, are a living hell, as operations of these dare devils are done without recourse to human life.
Sometime last year, a hawker had her life snuffed out by the bullet of a traffic robber during operation.These traffic robbers also operate with motorcycles, for easy escape and maneuverings. (Vanguard)