According to our correspondents, a band of robbers has recently posed an attack in Mowe community, Ogun state.
One of their victims, who gave her name simply as Alhaja Bola, explained that she and her husband were sleeping with their children when the robbers scaled the fence of their building and gained entry into the compound. That was about midnight.
She said: “When they came in, none of us knew they were already inside the sitting room. They started shouting, ‘where is the money? Where is the money?’ When I heard the strange voices, I stood up from my bed. The next person I met on the way was one of the robbers, who marched me to my children’s rooms and ordered everyone to get up.
“The robbers were young boys between the ages of 18 and 25. They ordered my children and I to lay face-down and threatened to kill whoever dared to look at them. At that point, a lot of things went through my mind. But most importantly, I thought of my children; I didn’t want anything to happen to them. I prayed.
“While this was going on, three among the robbers went into the rooms and assigned two people to guard us. To my shock, the robbers ransacked the whole apartment and brought out every valuable they could find. They also collected about 10 phones from my children and carted away N500,000 I use for my POS transactions.”
Bola added that the robbers, who were armed with locally-made guns, took their time to finish the operation before leaving two hours later.
She said: “They then went to Olajide Close where they also spent an additional two hours and robbed a couple of their money and valuables.
“As I speak with you now, I have not overcome the trauma of the robbery attack. Even my children, who are adults, are also afraid to sleep in their rooms. None of us had ever had a gun pointed at him or her, let alone my children.”
Bola’s son, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that the robbers came fully prepared for the operations. He said the robbers took their time in ransacking the apartment and carted whatever tickled their fancy.
He disclosed that after the incident, the matter was reported at Mowe Police Divisional Headquarters for possible arrest of the suspects, but no arrest had been made.
Our correspondent, who went to the community, heard from angry residents that policemen in the axis preferred chasing cyclists and extorting money from them to embarking on patrol of communities.
Our correspondent also went to Olajide Close, but the victims of the robbers’ attack were not at home.
On June 20, another set of robbers stormed Mukadamu Street, where a POS operator was also robbed of N1 million in her home.
The victim, who gave her name as Barakat alias ‘Iya Road Safety’, said that fateful day was a day she would never forget for as long as she lived.
She said: “That fateful day, I started a transaction on a good note, but about 1 a.m. we were sleeping when the strange visitors came and started banging on our gate. They ordered us to open the door and threatened to deal with us if they found their way into our apartment themselves.
“Out of panic, my husband didn’t open the door. They finally scaled the fence to gain access to our compound. When they got into our sitting room, my husband and I had already said our last prayers; because we thought they would do as they had earlier threatened.
“Luckily for us, they didn’t touch us, but they ransacked the rooms for money and valuables. They came out with N1 million. It was the money I had just collected from the cooperative society. I wanted to use the money to boost my business. Immediately I saw the bag containing the money, I urinated on my body. I knew there was no way I could return the money to the cooperative.”
Barakat added that since the incident, police had not been able to arrest the suspects, while she now depended on her children to feed. She said that the robbery wrecked her business.
A police source at Mowe Divisional Headquarters told our correspondent that on a daily basis, they received complaints of POS operators being attacked. The source said that the police were already having a series of meetings with the operators on precautionary methods of doing business in a community like Mowe and its environs.
At House No. 5, Shotayo Adebayo Street, Abesan in Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, a similar attack was carried out. One of the victims is Mrs. Nike Akande.
The woman narrated how the robbers collected money in her apartment, which she had earlier taken as a loan from a cooperative society. She disclosed that the robbery left her devastated.
Akande, a widow, who lost her husband four years ago, decided to go into POS business as a result of her ill health. She revealed that since the death of her husband, things had not been the same for her and her children.
She said: “I was given N1.2 million by my husband’s family members after the demise of my husband, to take care of my children. I decided to go into POS business, so as to have a close look at my younger children because my first daughter just got admission into the University of Ibadan to study Medicine and Surgery.
“Thank God when I started the business, there was little patronage, but as time progressed, people started coming and the money was yielding profit. I used to close business at 7 p.m. I don’t go beyond that hour.
“On that fateful day, I was about to lock the main gate to our compound when three guys hijacked the gate from me and forced their way into my compound. Before I realized what was happening, they had brought out guns and ordered me into my sitting room. Unfortunately, none of our neighbours knew what was happening.
“When the robbers entered the sitting room, they sat on a couch and asked me to entertain them. Out of panic, I went into the kitchen and got them soft drinks, after which I begged and told them that I was a widow, that they should have mercy on me. I became speechless when they told me how much they came to rob me.
“When I pleaded with them, I was told to go and bring N1 million. I begged them that the only money I had in the house was N500,000. They collected the money and asked me to pray for them, which I did and then they left. It was after they had gone that I ran out and started shouting; it was my cries that attracted my tenants. We checked around the whole community if we could get them, unfortunately, we couldn’t trace them. That was how I lost my money.”
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, refused to pick his calls neither did he reply to the text message sent to him to confirm the attacks on POS operators.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana said, Point of Sales Operators should take security issue serious especially in a business environment.
Elkana, However, Said, such cases are isolated one, POS Operations should install Close Circuit Camera in their shops where they are doing business, so that if such incident occurred, Police would be able to analyze the video and go after the robbers.’
“There was a time when a game center was robbed, it was the CCTV footage that exposed the robbers and they were arrested.”