Thursday, 25 May 2017

“I Cheated Death Again” - Man Recounts His Narrow Escape From Armed Robbers On His Way To Abuja

A man, Okeme Arome Romey was thankful as he gave a recount of how he escaped death again after his nasty encounter with armed robbers on his way to Abuja from Kaduna state. Romey wrote: I CHEATED DEATH…YET AGAIN.

On the seventeenth of May in the year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen, at about 6.20pm, I cheated death…yet again. I had just spoken with Arc. Felix and hung up with a wry smile that didn’t go just too soon. It’s being a while I saw the young man. I was headed to Abuja from Kaduna in a public car, there was a gentleman who sat next to my left engrossed in his phone and I peeped and he let me in on what he was watching. I smiled because I had seen the funny video before.

I focused on the journey proper as we drove some 20-30min after taking off, I realized we were at a village called Rijanna and I let my fibers and muscles relax as we had some 1-2hrs more of driving to do. Just as I made to relax, I caught a glimpse of a car parked in the distance by the side of the road with some rough looking men, about 5, wearing military camouflage tops and other trousers wielding guns, I recognized a locally made pistol and some bigger AK47 rifles.

They were obviously the High way men. This mental calculations took only a few seconds to register and I whispered aloud, Robbers! They were robbing the occupants of the vehicle as I saw them all seated on the ground distraught. We had unfortunately ran into them, one of them started beckoning at us to come closer, we were some 50-100meters away, so i asked the driver to reverse the car and try to escape. He obliged.

As the car screeched to retreat, one of the robbers launched after us, he pointed his gun at the vehicle and squeezed the trigger, there were rain of bullets digging their way through the thick body of the car with ease, wheel screen shattered and glasses splintered hither and thither.

I was under the illusion that we had escaped when out of the blues three other colleagues of theirs emerged from the bush behind us in a commando style with AK 47s and opened fire on the car, I was sitting just directly where the car was taking fire. The driver opened his door and jumped out, the passenger at the extreme left of me behind the driver opened his door also and we began pouring out.

Once outside, we made for the trough on the side of the road in an attempt to escape to the other carriage of the road leading cars from Abuja to Kaduna. The robbers didn’t give up just yet, they ran after us and kept shooting, bullets bounced off the ground close to my feet and flew past my side, I missed a step and fell, picked myself up and commenced running again. It was obvious my mind ran faster than my legs.

I kept the motivation going by saying to me, ” breathe easy and run for it, you haven’t been hit”. To the glory of God alone, I made it to the other side of the road and kept running while flagging cars down. I was finally lucky to get one which stopped, whisked me away to some 2-3 km from the site of the action where I met the police preparing to respond.

They had obviously heard the shots and noticed the long queue building up on the highway. As I was running I could see from the corner of my eyes how cars were trying hard to turn around, some left their cars in the middle of the road and jumped out, passengers were pouring out through windows and skedaddling, people were falling off as others took cover in the bushes. It was a chaotic sight.

I joined the police van as they drove towards the Drama. When they got there, the robbers had gone. They had escaped.

Was I infuriated? No I wasn’t. I politely asked the police why this was a frequent occurrence on this road and one was bold to tell me, under condition of anonymity, that since the airport activities were transferred back to abuja, the security apparatuses deployed to the road within the period when the national airport was closed like frequent patrols, heavy presence of police and other security operatives, hovering choppers and escort services, were reduced and cut short significantly.

He also said they usually had no fuel in their trucks and that they only fuel they normally allowed in the car was that needed to drive the car to its stationary spot to give the impression that security was present on the road, but in the real sense, they were handicapped because there was no fuel in the truck.

He said they didn’t patrol any more, they only relied on alarm raised by people to rally to areas of robbery operations. As if to give credence to his position and assertions, they car jerked, hiccuped, and came to a halt. I nodded my head. He said, “fuel don finish”. We were in the middle of nowhere exposed to the perils that came with the night. We contributed some monies and one of them luckily got a car that stopped and he went to the next village to get fuel.

Today I breathed air freely, heard the morning birds chirp, saw the dawn of a new day, chatted with friends and called loved ones only because I made it out inexplicably and divinely by the grace of God on the 17th of May 2017, snatched away from the jaws of the snare of death by Jesus christ himself. If a bullet had hit me and pierced through my skin and into my lungs or heart in the middle of no where, it would have been a different story altogether.

I am grateful for yet another opportunity at life, I wish to tread and wend through her with gratitude seeking only what is right within my capacity devoid of malice.

The next day at about 7.30am, the police called to inform me of yet another attack on that same spot only this time along the road leading from abuja to kaduna, with two of the victims not so lucky to have come out alive like we did. They had their brains splattered on the road and blood painting the ground. They were shot dead.

The Abuja-Kaduna express road has increased in its notoriety in cutting short lives of individuals, especially along RIJANNA axis, a fearsome area terrorized by the Highwaymen. They are usually out to Rob, Kill and Kidnap. Between Monday to Wednesday, they had kidnapped 5 people, one, an NNPC staff that was later released after he had paid a ransom.

Narrating his ordeal when we met at the hospital, he said he was kidnapped around RIJANNA, taken somewhere where his daily meal was mangos. He claimed two other abductees had no money to pay for ransom and they were instantly shot dead in his presence. He didn’t know when he started shouting that he was rich and had plenty of money to give them, in the end he paid the ransom and he was released.

Please if it’s not important, do not use that road once it is 3pm. Do not start your journey too early as well. In the end, “whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high shall abide in the shadow of the almighty”, Psalm 91.1.

My story is that of God in his awesomeness.

Thank you.

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