An operator of a ridesharing service, otherwise known as Uber, is counting his losses after a three-man robbery gang snatched his car at gunpoint while pretending to pay him transport fare around an Automated Teller Machine point in the Obalende area of Lagos State.
The driver, who gave his name only as Seun for security reasons, was waiting for the passengers to withdraw money from the ATM when one of them suddenly brought out a gun.
The two other members were said to have joined and dispossessed him of the Toyota Corolla, his two phones and N16,000 cash.
The robbers were, however, caught by the Close Circuit Television camera around the ATM gallery, where they subdued the driver.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the fleeing robbers had disguised as passengers, asking Seun to take them to Obalende from a clubhouse in Agindigbi, Ikeja, around 3am.
On reaching their destination, they reportedly asked Seun to wait for them while they withdrew money from the ATM to pay the N2,500 fare he charged them.
Seun, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said as the men were about to reach where he parked, he noticed one of them was with a gun, but it was too late for him to zoom off.
He said, “I picked them from a clubhouse in Agidingbi, Ikeja on Wednesday, September 5, around 3am. They asked me to take them to Obalende. When we got there, they said they had to use an ATM to pay me. They told me to proceed to the Sanglose area, but I declined. They later used one ATM at Obalende. They were to pay me N2,500.
“I was inside the car and put off the engine. After about five minutes, I noticed two of them were approaching me from opposite directions. I suddenly noticed that one was trying to bring out a gun. Before I knew what was happening, the other man had opened the door from the passenger side. I was confused.
“The next thing that occurred to me was to run. I ran towards the gate of the bank thinking I could get somebody to rescue me. The man holding a gun chased me. He led me back into the car pointing the gun at me.”
Seun explained that the robbers zoomed off and headed towards the Third Mainland Bridge, adding that they ordered him to switch off the General Packet Radio Services with which his movement was being monitored.
“They dropped me off around Adekunle and asked for the security code of the car. I told them I did not know it. They said they only wanted to use the car for something. They seized my two phones and about N16,000 on me. They asked me to call my line the following day to know where they would drop the car. One of them suggested that I should be thrown into the water, but others rejected the idea. The whole thing happened between 3am and 4am,” he added.
The driver stated that he ran to the Iyana Oworo area to report the incident to some policemen on patrol, but he was directed to another patrol team stationed a few metres away. He added that when he got there, the policemen could not reach the control unit to report the robbery.
He said, “They called somebody to send them a control unit number but the person sent them a wrong number. I was there for about 10 minutes before we went together in their patrol vehicle to meet another patrol team at Olopomeji. They copied the control unit number from the patrol van at the Olopomeji and radioed the incident.
“They later asked me to report the case at the nearest police station to where I was attacked. I reported the case at the Lion Building Division.”
The owner of the vehicle, who did not want his name in print, said he was destabilised by the incident, urging the police to intensify efforts in ensuring the recovery of the car and the arrest of the suspects.
He said, “The driver has been working for me for a long time and he is trustworthy. We met with the bank where the incident happened and we were given the CCTV footage of the attack, which showed the faces of two of the robbers. The third gang member was captured with a gun, but his face was not revealed.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, CSP Chike Oti, said the incident was being investigated, adding that the perpetrators would be brought to book.