The Crime Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, Emma Nnadozie, narrowly escaped death in the hands of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly known as okada riders, in Lagos State.
The Crime Editor, who narrated his ordeal in a piece he wrote, said the incident occurred on Saturday in Amuwo-Odofin.
He wrote: “Last Saturday night, around 7.30pm, I was on my way to the office and was driving along Apple Junction in the Amuwo- Odofin area of Lagos, going towards Second Rainbow bus stop when, suddenly, two commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada, recklessly rammed into each other on the lane directly beside mine.
“The impact flung one of the riders headlong, towards my moving car. His head came directly under my left front tyre. I swerved to my right side on impulse, while holding the steering wheel tightly and narrowly avoided crushing the human head. But, his motorcycle still ran freely after my vehicle, and came crashing on the floodlight. Broken pieces of translucent glass went up like a volley of bullets and came down at the same speed; covering some portion of the road.
“I made an effort to manoeuvre the car out of the wreckage, other Okada riders arrived as if on queue. Swiftly, one after the other, they blocked my car. In a flash, no fewer than 20 dirty cravens surrounded me. From all sides, accusing fingers furiously pointing at me. I hastily stepped out of the vehicle and attempted to explain the incident by recapturing the scenes.
“Needless to say that my explanations fell on deaf ears. More riders joined the mob. Their rough statues formed a thick iron circle around my car and ferociously they accused me of being responsible for the incident. To drive the point home; one of them, a lean dark fellow, yanked off his hot exhaust pipe and used the steaming metal to etch a mark on my lower leg. A quick cloud of pain settled around my head.
“At this point, I knew that my life was in grave peril. I had to think fast because there was no mistaking the mob for normal commercial motorcyclists. If there was any doubt that remnants of the deadly Boko Haram members and foreign terrorists from the Sahel have infiltrated Lagos to engage in Okada riding, such doubts were effectively dissipated by the scene unfolding before my eyes that evening.
“Noticeably high on drugs, a large number of them drew out daggers, yet, none of them witnessed the crash. Most surprising was that none cared to help their wounded brothers, still lying on the road. They were only thirsty for a lone motorist’s blood and to deal ruthlessly with other motorists found around the scene. Confusion enveloped the long evening. I reached for the Cross I always tucked inside my dress pocket before driving out. Silent prayers poured out from the inner recesses of my being.
“The Lord in His infinite mercies, sent a helper. As I was shouting myself hoarse with one hand, explaining that I did not cause the accident, a young male bystander raised his voice from the pedestrian walkway. He explained how the accident occurred in two quick sentences. He also yelled at them that I was a victim. Miraculously, two or three of them peered intently into my eyes in disbelief, but still anticipated ‘bloody’ action.
“With bated breath, I kept on shouting, pleading my innocence. At this stage, one of the riders who blocked my car gave way slightly. He drove away through the side of my car. I cashed in on the opportunity created by the biker who drove out and zoomed off without blinking an eyelid.
“As I was racing out of the scene, I noticed that some of the riders still came after me. I then drove to a nearby nightclub, where I saw neatly clad private security men, elegantly keeping watch around the building. I then drove towards their gate and the speed with which I approached them attracted their attention. They all rushed toward me.
“I explained my predicament to them. Pronto, they all came out, poised for war with the approaching Okada riders. They were telling me: ‘Oga relax, we will deal with them. They have been doing this to a lot of motorists. They will not succeed this time around.”
“The security men then moved towards them with their cudgels and sticks. Having seen their match, the scoundrels turned back and disappeared to God knows where.”