The Disturbing Trend Of Nigeria’s ‘One Chance’ Robbery

Nmesoma Okwudili


March 14, 2024

The phrase “One Chance” emerged in Nigeria to describe a particular type of robbery where criminals operate within seemingly ordinary commercial vehicles, exploiting unsuspecting passengers. These attackers pose as regular commuters, concealing small weapons to harm victims.

On March 12, 2024, during a publicized interview with law enforcement, Rita Joffrey, a 25-year-old pregnant woman hailing from Plateau State, was apprehended and confessed to her involvement in the One Chance robbery scheme. Rita, who had traveled to Abuja in search of employment as a house help, admitted to resorting to this criminal activity due to insufficient income from her previous job.

“As I go the house-help, the money they used to pay me, the money is ten thousand and , I didn’t have money to send for village and take care of myself, that’s how I met one lady wey introduce me”

She revealed that she was introduced to the illicit practice of ‘shifting chair work’ by an acquaintance she encountered. This method involves positioning one individual in the back seat and another in the front, creating an opportune situation for assailants to easily attack and harass unsuspecting victims upon entering the vehicle. Additionally, they employ a method known as ‘confuse the victim’ to steal money.

During the interview, Rita detailed the ‘confuse the victim’ technique, wherein the perpetrators deliberately disorient the victim to facilitate theft. In this method, when the victim enters the vehicle, the criminals initiate confusion by asking her to assist the person in the front seat in adjusting their seat. While the victim is engrossed in helping, the perpetrators offer to hold her bag to make the adjustment process smoother. In this strategic moment, they slyly pilfer valuable items, such as phones and ATM cards, from the victim’s bag, leaving her unaware of the theft until it’s too late.

Another highlighted method is when they force a victim down and collcet their ATM cards along with other valuable items they own.

“ They will keep her for ground when she enter,then they will press her and collect her ATM and give me to go and withdraw money and come and give them”.

She acknowledged that she had carried out this procedure around three times, working with different people each time. These acts have caused the victims to suffer serious trauma and injuries, which is a recurring phenomenon in Nigeria.

Sadly, there have been cases where victims have passed away, either as a result of deliberate attempts to hurt them or accidentally while the illegal acts were being committed. Such accidents’ knock-on effects highlight the seriousness and extensive implications of “shifting chair work,” underscoring the pressing need for increased awareness and preventive steps to stop these dangerous incidents.

The terrifying tales of ” One chance” or “shifting chair work” emphasise how important it is for the people to be vigilant and alert in order to prevent falling victim to these kinds of illegal operations. People need to be wise and cautious when they go into new environments. Furthermore, the authorities are essential to preserving public safety, thus it is critical that they continue to be diligent in finding and prosecuting these offenders.

The entire community needs to be vigilant and foster a shared commitment to preventing crime. Together, we can create a safer society where people can move about confidently and securely, and the threat of such criminal acts is reduced as long as citizens are aware and law enforcement is proactive.

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