Some residents of Abuja have said they are disturbed by the rate of phone and handbag snatching at Independence Avenue in the city centre. Some of the residents said they were always careful when stopping at the traffic light at the avenue’s junction also popularly called Bolingo Junction.
A taxi driver that plies Area 10 Garki from Lugbe, who pleaded anonymity, said he recently saw a passenger robbed of her phone at Bolingo Junction in the morning. He said the woman, a passenger in another taxi ahead of him, was using her phone at the rear seat while the driver was waiting for the traffic light when the incident happened.
He said in less than a minute, a man approached the vehicle, snatched the woman’s phone and ran away. “The woman only kept on shouting, telling the driver to pursue the thief. And you know there is always traffic gridlock in the morning, so the man could do nothing about it. I did not know how it ended but I am sure nobody chased the thief because you can’t tell what you will meet in the bush the hoodlums dash into for cover,” he said.
He said phone snatching was common on Independence Avenue, adding that the hoodlums take advantage of the traffic light at the junctions to terrorise the people especially passengers and pedestrians. Another resident, Dare Mudashir, said his sister’s handbag and phones were snatched at the traffic light on Independence Avenue last week. He said the incident which happened recently, left his sister traumatised, adding that several people had fallen victim to the hoodlums who always escaped into bushes in the area. He said the case was not reported at any police station.
Another taxi driver, who also pleaded anonymity, said while the hoodlums take advantage of traffic light to rob passengers during the day, pedestrians are also at risk at night as the road which leads to Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway is poorly lit. “Bolingo, Wonderland, National Hospital Junction, Churchgate are usually dark at night and there are reports of hoodlums robbing residents around those areas. I am always careful when driving through that road,” he said.