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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
'One Chance' is the practice of using
commercial vehicles to rob passengers of their
personal belongings such as mobile phones,
money, etc. Numerous cases of missing
persons have also been associated with One
Chance activities.

Survivors of one-chance operations are often
left traumatized by the event.
Yours truly was once a victim of One-Chance.

It happened many years ago while I was
returning from a trip to Cotonou. I arrived
Lagos late - around 9:30 pm.
It started when I boarded a danfo at Mile 2,
under the bridge.

Curiously, a good number of people waiting
for commercial vehicles at the spot were
ignoring available danfos. Instead, they opted
for big Molue-type buses.

It did not dawn on me at that their preference
for the larger buses was a precautionary
decision, as the larger buses were considered
safer to patronize at such wee hours.
Now here is an interesting thing: a police
officer boarded the One-Chance bus with us.
Interestingly, he was earlier discouraged by the
bus conductor from entering the bus.
According to the bus conductor, there was
already a “staff” in the bus.

I thought that was weird, because no one was
wearing a uniform in the bus, and the bus
arrived empty, except for the drive and a
passenger sitting at the front with the driver.

That was a red-flag signal, but I missed it.
Still, the elderly policeman insisted on
entering. It was a decision that he would
forever regret as he suffered the most savage
beating when the One-Chance operation

Thankfully, these one-chance operators were
not human organs harvesters. They only took
our personal items like phones, money, etc.
We were later dropped off at an isolated dark
spot at Sanya bus-stop, on Oshodi Apapa

It was a horrifying experience.

Anyway, we have identified 15 ways to identify
and secure yourself against One Chance

Board buses and taxis at designated Bus-stops
Board buses or taxis at designated bus stops or
motor-parks. One-chance bandits rarely pick
up passengers at designated bus stops, except
quite early in the mornings or late at night.

Observe the occupants and sitting arrangement before you enter
It is important that you do a quick analysis of
the passengers in the car or bus before you
board. Do not board if you notice anything
suspicious. Also, if you observe anything
suspicious in the sitting arrangement – don’t

Do not board “Kabu kabu”
“Kabu kabu” refers to unregistered taxis. They
typically operate without the designated
colours of commercial vehicles. They are also
not registered with the drivers’ union. So they
do not have designated garages or parks. When
they are used for abduction or one chance, it
makes it hard for the vehicles to be tracked.

Do not board Vehicles with tinted glasses or Curtains
Avoid vehicles with tinted glasses or with
curtains. It is dangerous to board vehicles with
these features. With tinted glasses or curtains,
it will be hard for outsiders to notice a cry for

They operate at the wee hours
One-Chance bandits typically operate at night
or at dusk. At such times, security operatives
would typically be unavailable. They also
operate in isolated locations or where the
police would not be easily available.

Scrutinize the driver and conductor closely
You can identify their criminal intent if you
watch closely. Observe their body language of
the driver and conductor carefully. If your gut
feeling tells you that they are untrustworthy,
do not board or quickly disembark.

Avoid accepting lift (hitch-hiking)
Do not hitch-hike or accept a lift from strange
Ladies, in particular, should be wary of whose
cars they hitch-hike on. Many have gone
missing from taking a ride with strangers.

Be wary of vehicles with all-male passengers
All-Male passenger buses or taxis raise a red-
flag. Do not board unless you are convinced
that it is safe to do so. However, in some
cases, women or teenagers have reportedly
been part of some one-chance gang.

They reserve seats at the back
They typically reserve seats at the back. This is
a strategy to trap potential victims so that they
cannot call for help or attract external
They usually outnumber the victims in the
vehicle in order to render them helpless. So, if
while boarding you observe a suspicious
seating arrangement – disembark immediately.

Use government approved motor-parks when traveling a long distance

Long distance travelers should ensure to use
government-approved motor-parks. At these
parks, the identity of the commercials vehicles
are and their drivers are known. Also, personal
information of the passengers are documented.
The manifest will be useful in tracing missing

Avoid rushing into buses or commercial cars
The practice of rushing into buses and taxis is
not particularly advised. Rushing into
commercial vehicles can make one lose sight of
some red-flag signals. It would not give you
sufficient time to observe anything suspicious
about the vehicle or the occupants. Observe
the vehicle you board with carefully.

“Danfos” (yellow buses) are also used for one-chance operations
Asides unmarked buses or taxis, yellow-painted
Lagos state commercial buses popularly
referred to as “Danfo” are mostly used for
one-chance operations. Most victims typically
fall for this false appearance. So do not be
fooled by the taxi or danfo colour.

Be vigilant, obey your instincts
Be vigilant; look out for their body language.
Obey your instincts. This is crucial for your
safety. Do not ignore your instincts. If a bus
or taxi arrives at your bus stop, do what your
instinct tells you to do.

Do not struggle with them
It is not wise to struggle with them. The One-
chance bandits in the vehicle typically
outnumber victims. Besides, one or more of
them could be armed with a weapon of death.
Be co-operative as much as you can. Only put
up an offensive when the risk is sure.

I believe in the power of prayers. Before you
leave home, say a prayer for protection.

Photo credit: Vanguardngr



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