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Terrifying Robbery! How Hoodlums Robbed, Set Ablaze Luxury Bus with 59 Passengers On Board

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By Moses Akaigwe

It was a narrow escape for 59 passengers on board an Abakaliki-bound luxury bus, on Good Friday night, when armed robbers attacked them at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and set the vehicle ablaze.

The dare-devil robbers had earlier stripped them of their belongings, and locked the vehicle from outside before torching it.

But, what would have been the most horrific robbery scene in recent time turned out not to be, as the passengers were said to have smashed the glass windows, and jumped out of the bus before it was completely consumed by the raging inferno.

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The management of Ifesinachi Transport Nig. Ltd, confirmed, yesterday, that the attached bus belonged to the company, and that the vehicle took off from Maza Maza, Lagos, on Good Friday, en route Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

Speaking to Daily Sun, yesterday, the Managing Director/CEO of the company, Prince Emeka Mamah, said he was still in shock over “this new dimension to armed robbery, which is now accompanied by terrorism.”

Also, reacting to the incident, the National President of the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON), Mr. Nonso Ubajaka, bemoaned the rising cases of robberies and kidnapping targeted at the members’ vehicles on various routes lately.

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“But, robbing and burning a luxury bus with 59 passengers on board is unprecedented. This is no longer robbery. It is terrorism,” Ubajaka said yesterday.

A passenger, who narrated the incident early, Saturday morning, in a video recording which showed parts of the bus still burning, confirmed that no life was lost, though some of them sustained injuries.

The passenger, who, like many other victims, lost his shirt and other belongings to the robbers, narrated: “This is the night bus (showing the charred remains of the 59-seater vehicle) in which we were travelling home for Easter, on Friday.

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“The armed robbers attacked us at Ijebu Ode. They stripped us of our dresses and belongings and beat us mercilessly. They forced us back into the bus and set it ablaze. But, we are grateful to God that nobody was burnt to death, because we all managed to escape from the burning vehicle alive.

“Though some of us sustained injuries, and we all lost our belongings because the robbers took everything with them, including the clothes some of us were wearing. We have been stranded here since 2am (Saturday morning): Men, women and children who are innocently travelling to the east to celebrate Easter.”

To the Managing Director of Ifesinachi, that armed robbers now operate like terrorists is a new dimension that should worry all and sundry, including the government.

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Prince Mamah lamented: “I can’t imagine the motive behind the burning of the bus after robbing the passengers of all their phones and valuables, plus cash.

“It is a very dangerous trend which needs to be investigated and a stop put to it. If nothing is done now, we may not be lucky next time as no casualty was recorded. It could happen to anyone.”

Speaking further, Ubajaka appealed to the Federal Government and the various security agencies to device new strategies to tackle the rising insecurity in the country and, particularly, make the highways safer.

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The ALBON National President said: “Something very drastic has to be done urgently to arrest this ugly dimension to highway robbery.

“The passengers, whose bus was set ablaze at Ijebu Ode, were lucky to have escaped. Who knows what next the robbers would do? Maybe they will use dynamite.

“And that is why everybody should be worried, including the government and the security agencies.

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“These days, when air fares are going out of the reach of average Nigerian, many people are now using the comfortable buses instead.

“But, how can people feel safe when the buses are frequently attacked these days. That’s why I said the government should do something before it is too late.”

(Sun)

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