Friday, November 18, 2016

Chaos on the Long Bridge



It was about 7:30pm. The orderly queues of vehicles moving towards Magboro stopped for not more than 5 minutes on the Long Bridge inside the demarcation created by Julius Berger on Thursday. We were still wondering whether a car broke down again when the evil boys sprang out from nowhere.

They started with a commercial bus, stabbed the driver in the rib and yanked off a woman’s hand bag. The woman reportedly slumped probably out of shock. People shouted ‘won ti pa o’. Motorists scrambled out of their vehicles and fled in various directions. A boy of probably 7 years stood by their family car, shouting to his fleeing mother ‘I cannot leave my daddy’. His father probably couldn’t run or didn’t want to run. I’m not sure which.

I made frantic calls for help to the police and to someone who I believed had their special password. I was assured they would be there shortly. But I, like the rest of the teriffied people on the bridge knew that the job of keeping ourselves from being killed or hurt was exclusively ours in the interim.

With no help in sight, some motorists who had apparently been experiencing such on the road came out with cutlasses, axes, and other hideous weapons etc. Sheer terror was unleashed. No one was sure who the robber was and who the vigilantes were. Utter bedlam in pitch darkness. The Long Bridge falls under Ogun State which, quite frankly has no wish to be like Lagos when it grows up

Somehow, the sight of some motorists emerging with crude assault implements proved intimidating for the robbers. They cut short their operation and jumped into the bush with their small loot. People rushed back to reclaim their vehicles. A woman was heard shrieking: ‘Omo mi da?’ (Where’s my child?). Apparently, mother and child had fled in opposite directions when chaos descended.

It’s not the first time. It will still probably happen tonight and tomorrow night and the night after that, to different sets of terrified citizens.

For how long will this continue? Should it get to a stage that people will begin to get illegal guns to protect themselves on the Long Bridge before the authorities will take action?