By EMEKA EZEKWE
Our nightmare actually started with the rescheduling of our Airpeace Lagos to Port Harcourt return flight for Monday, 14/6/21 from 11.30 to 7am. All efforts to change it was fruitless as that was the only time they said they could fly, even the next day also had only one 7.00am Lagos to Port Harcout. So we decided to adjust our own schedule by agreeing to leave our hotel in VI at 5am to the airport to remain on schedule.We made an arrangement with our airport cab man to come get us on the said date and return us to the airport. Sadly, the guy called few days before to say he couldn’t make it ,he will be occupied.
We used Uber throughout our Lagos stay,it was very convenient and fast.That was how we now came across this Uber driver Sammy during one of our shuttles and asked him to come take us to the airport on the appointed date.While waiting for him,l tried to book another Uber,but it was too early and the app keep showing “no driver available around your area at the moment ”,finally,l got one Uber ,driver called to say it will take him about 20-25 minutes to get to us,then,Sammy suddenly called to announce his arrival,he was granted access to us.l had to cancel the other Uber .He arrived at 5am and the journey started .He claimed he spent the night at ikeja and was coming from there, ,some minutes into the journey ,as we were approaching 3rd mainland bridge ,l noticed his meter was showing red,you no get fuel? Sorry sir,l couldn’t buy fuel yesterday in ikeja,fuel dey scarce ?no sir😳,no worry sir ,my reserve will take us to the airport ,how so?, I became apprehensive,how can you pick up a passenger to a far destination without enough fuel in your vehicle at 5am ?
My hunch,gut feeling and antenna was already up,indicating danger 😳l started preparing for eventualities and contingencies,l also quietly prayed for a best outcome and tried to condition my mind for eventualities.His phone started ringing continuously almost immediately,3 different callers with funny names like “banger “,etc.I told him,he cannot take any call till we arrive the airport,all the calls rang out,and started ringing again……continuously,l still refused that he pick any of the calls,it’s few minutes past 5am in the morning 😳
Just some distance after descending third main land towards oworonshoki,fuel got finished,”but,you said you have enough fuel to take us to the airport? Sorry sir,l go find fuel………then the drama started,he kept rolling the car and finally stopped at a particular spot on the express,no houses,it was pitch dark,one guy suddenly appeared from the bush and offered to show him direction to where he can buy fuel.He brought out a 10 liter gerry can from his boot to “go and look for fuel” while we wait for him.l said no way,we all go together buy fuel and come back here together.l also asked my wife to step out of the car,and be vigilant.We took a combi bus,he was a bit fidgety,the nearest filling station was not selling fuel,not yet time to open at 5.25 am.There were 3 taxis at the station,with all their drivers sleeping inside,l woke one of them and explained our situation,he explained that the place our Uber is packed is very dangerous,but agreed to take us to the airport after retrieving our luggage .We agreed to drive to where our failed Uber cab was ,on getting there,there were 3 men waiting for us and subsequent events turned ugly😳
At first,their leader asked for money,l gave him some money,all the money in my pocket,without counting ,he collected it but became very violent,then,he grabbed my wife and started dragging her into the bush,shouting “shey,you no wan give us better money? ……you think say we dey play with you ?we will take her with us,she’s coming with us,if you try me ,l go just blow your head off,idiot man like you” he started dragging my wife and they started struggling as he was struggling with my wife and trying to put one hand into his pocket as if to draw a gun……..l summoned enough courage ,rushed at him, jumped on him,landed him devastating blows repeatedly,he lost his balance ………l disintangled my wife from his grip and pushed her off screaming “Benny,run,run,let me kill this idiot here……” my surprise,unintended action/attack disorganized,dazed the guy,his two colleagues were also apparently dazed and shocked by my effrontery and audacity,he staggered,struggling to recover his gait,still putting hand into his Jean pocket as if to retrieve his “gun”,when he saw me putting hands inside my Jean jacket,for me,it was just to check that my phone and some money still dey,he got really scared and started screaming to his two other dazed accomplices “him hold gun oh, Shebi,you want to bring out your gun,you want to kill me,you wan shoot me…………”then,it occurred to me that he has “no gun”,because,all these while,he didn’t bring out his hand of his Jean pocket,him for don show me the gun tey tey ……..me sef begin dey “rake” “ bullet no dey enter me,you’re a dead man today,God punish you,idiot ,bullet no dey penetrate me ,you no know l be o ,you go die today,l don kill you finish today ,na me you wan try ? As he was conferring with his two accomplices cursing me in Yoruba ,l rushed to my shocked,traumatized ,paralyzed and fear frozen dear wife still lying on coal tar ,and we ran away to seek help.
All these while ,our Uber driver was standing there forming dazed,cowed and shocked to participate ,he played no part in the “fight”,he just stood there pretending to be “shocked and confused “
We ran back and met “baba”,our new cab man who was surprised to see us without our luggage,my wife’s blouse was already torn,after relating what happened,he said,”Shebi,l warned you people about that particular place ,how una motor come go spoil dia,dat place na their headquarters “,madam,sorry o,thank God for life,no mind those yeye criminals .He assisted us to mobilize some boys around and other passerby because according to him,we needed at least “5 people “ to be able to go back there,dislodge them and retrieve your boxes .
Na so we take mobilize o,went back with 3 other volunteers with “baba” behind us ,flashing his torchlight ,immediately they saw us approaching,they ran away apparently thinking we came back with police or security men …..we pretended to be chasing after them,then pushed our fueless cab to babas cab,transferred our luggage into babas cab and got to the airport but,the counter was almost closed ,we explained our situation,showing my wife’s torn blouse and destroyed hand bag,they allowed us to board.
When we arrived PH,Sammy the Uber driver sent this attached message and later called me begging for forgiveness and for me to forget,but,l decided to share this story to save other potential victims.While trying to process our ugly experience,my hunch convinced me without doubt that Sammy,our Uber driver carefully planned and executed this whole episodic event.After our first ride with him,he profiled us,our hotel,etc and organized a hit.Secondly,when l realized his fuel tank was empty,we should have aborted the journey and look for another vehicle.
Be careful guys ,too many bad people out there ,everywhere 😳