By Col Tunde Vaughn
For those residing or commuting along the Lekki/Epe Expressway, we are accustomed to having the ‘imported’ Almajiri destitute from Northern Nigeria, begging for money at traffic lights.
Sometimes with menaces, trying to spray dirty water all over your car and windscreen while pretending to wash your vehicles. When you object, they throw dirty slurs at you and even angrily bang your car. But one thing is to beg, and another is to attempt robbery. The new trend is to threaten to break your windscreen should you fail to part with alms and money.
Top on the score is one moron called Ali, around the Elegushi/Freedom Way traffic light tailback. Ali is in his early 30s. He is often unkempt and drags his leg, holding on to what looks like a nylon bag. It contains a big stone. He goes between the cars and deliberately knocks his shoulder on your wing mirror. As soon as that happens he comes for you. He brandishes his stone and threatens to break your glass. He would ask you for 3k or break your glass for ‘jamming’ him. I assure you it is very life-threatening. I’ve experienced this bastard twice, and my heart flew into my throat.
The first time was over a year ago at the horrendous traffic standstill occasioned by roadworks at the turning into Gbagada General Hospital Road from the Expressroad (opposite the Mobil fuel station). His modus operandi was the same. I was in a cheerful mood and said ‘sorry’, waving to him. But the scumbag chased me in the traffic brandishing a stone to break my glass. I desperately offered him N500. He refused. I then made it 1k, thinking he was just a hungry beggar. To my surprise, he demanded 3k. I was lucky to get away, as the traffic suddenly eased out ahead of me.
Now guess what? On Thursday 9th of November 2023, I encountered the same scenario at Elegushi. He deliberately shouldered my wing mirror and came after me. I immediately recognized the bastard. He asked for 3k or break my glass. I looked ahead. Still jammed. No chance of zooming off. I gave him 1k. He vehemently refused and insisted on 3k. I refused. He looked around him and noticed eyes on him. He then kept his stone away and mumbled to me, ‘Oga, ok I dey beg you in the name of God. Make am 2k’. Suddenly I got a chance to zoom off and I did. But not before asking his name. Lo and behold, it was Ali again. Now, this is ridiculous. Unacceptable. In this Lagos? Bad enough living with the Area Boys disaster. Now it’s Almajiri urchins calamity. My take here is:
- This horrible guy does this all the time and gets away with it. 2. He uses the element of surprise to scare motorists into thinking he is about to break their glasses. After all wouldn’t you rather give away 3k than fix a windscreen for 30k?
- Ali is a ticking timebomb on the Streets of Lagos. He is going to lose his head one day and not only commit criminal damage but assault a car owner. Murder cannot be ruled out. He is always carrying a stone. He may have knives too. 4. Ali may be plagued by serious mental illness. He needs to be taken off the streets FAST.
I was highly traumatized by both encounters and wouldn’t wish it on the faint-hearted. And guess what, I am ex-military. Some of his victims would be unsuspecting female drivers. My advice to Governor Sanwo Olu and his sedately Security Team/Police is to mount active surveillance in that area and whisk away this bastard from our streets.
What I can indeed tell you for free is that I WILL ‘take him out’ if I ever ever encounter a 3rd hit by this bastard (don’t ask me how). It is called SELF DEFENCE.
- (Col. Tunde Vaughan Rtd.)
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