Travellers on the Ogoni wing of the East-West road are counting more losses as armed robbers continue to dispossess them of cash and other valuable items at gun point.
The robbers operate at will despite security checkpoints mounted by soldiers and policemen along the road, particularly close to the border area with Akwa Ibom. One of the victims of this week’s attacks, who was returning to Port Harcourt from Uyo, told The Neighbourhood on Saturday that the bus he boarded was stopped at gunpoint during which every passenger was robbed at gunpoint. The victim, a native of a community close to Uyo, narrated how he was dispossed of personal belongings including cash and cellphone. The robbers left for him only his Bible and copy of his Sunday School Book.
Narrating his ordeal, the seventy five year-old man, said that at the point he boarded the bus along the road, there were still few unoccupied seats. “The driver was picking passengers along the road. I even complained to him against doing so and suggested he should drive to Port Harcourt. My fear was because of insecurity along the road, especially on the Ogoni section. That my fear came to pass.
“Soon as we entered the Ogoni section, and drove past a military checkpoint, a young man who posed as a passenger flagged down the bus. The driver stopped and he boarded. But before the bus could move, he pulled a gun and ordered everybody to face down. We all obeyed him as three others wielding guns emerged from a nearby bush and joined him. They marched us out of the vehicle and ransacked everybody as we still lay faced-down. They took away every cash on every passenger, as well as cellphones. Some women who had gone to market and purchased bags of garri had the foodstuff poured to the ground by the robbers.
The victim said that after the robbers had collected everything on the passengers, they disappeared into the bush.
The section of the Akwa Ibom stretch of the East-West road, connecting Rivers State, has been a nightmare to road users. Multiple armed robberies occur along the road despite the presence of security outfits. Travellers using the road endeavour to avaoid using the road road anytime later than 6.00pm even though the Wednesday robbery incident, according to the victim, took place at about 1.00pm