The Lagos-Ibadan expressway, one of Nigeria’s busiest expressways, has in recent times become a crime scene with back-to-back stories of robberies, kidnappings and even death.
A few days ago, on 8 November 2022, gunmen dressed in military uniform attacked commuters travelling along the road. They came out of a bush along the Sagamu Interchange and started firing at a bus carrying passengers. Thankfully, despite injuries, no one died.
The incidents are happening more than you think
Let’s explain using numbers.
Data shows that the southwest until recent times has been relatively secure, at least compared with other geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
In the first half of 2022, 65 people were abducted in the southwest which was significantly low when compared with 1,305 people in the northwest. Ideally we want these numbers to read zero, but let’s just say that at the time it looked like the southwest were keeping things in check. Then July came.
Between July and October, a period of four months, the number of abductions in the southwest increased from 65 to 132, doubling at a scary rate. This is just abduction data. Other crimes like robbery and attacks on residents have also increased.
What can the government do about this?
The 127 km Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a vital economic corridor linking two commercial cities. It cuts across three states: Lagos, Ogun and Oyo. This is one of the reasons why everyone needs to join efforts to end this wahala.
One suggestion is the implementation of interstate policing. The Western Nigeria Security Network, which you know as Amotekun, is a security outfit for the southwest.
Unfortunately, only Ondo state seems to be using them effectively. The rest need to up their game.
There is also a need for the government to provide technical support for more policing along notorious hotspots. The highways are famous for having bushes and hideouts where criminals operate from. They need to sweep those places and send a message that crime is not welcome.
How can you protect yourself?
The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is still undergoing construction around the Kara area. This often creates a heavy traffic build-up along the long bridge that can stretch endlessly. To help yourself:
- Avoid being caught in traffic for too long and exposing yourself to the risk of kidnapping. Steer clear of the roads during peak hours and on busy days.
- Only travel when absolutely necessary, and as much as you can, avoid travelling at night.
- Have on hand emergency numbers. The Federal Road Safety Corps which is in charge of traffic along federal roads has an emergency number, 122. Use only in the event of an emergency.
- Let someone know where you are at all times. It is much easier to keep track of movements that way and to send help to your last known location in case you’re in trouble.