Type in “one chance” and scroll through Google; the first thing you’ll probably see is a Wikipedia description of a movie with the same title. But that’s not the one chance we’re talking about here.

Every Nigerian knows one or two things about the term, one chance. And before you think it means a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s not. The meaning is much worse. People who have gone through the experience will tell you a better story. Pray you don’t have to go through one chance to know what it entails. This is the motive behind this piece, so you’ll be enlightened enough to avoid it.

What is one chance?

One chance is a popular term in Nigeria that describes the activities of con artists, ritualists, and robbers who deceive unsuspecting commuters to board their vehicles and then harm them during the journey. It connotes negativity because it’s a crime against humanity.

One chance issues in Nigeria

One chance is a common phenomenon in Nigeria, especially in urban areas like Lagos and Abuja. The nefarious activities of perpetrators have made the term synonymous with fraud, armed robbery, kidnapping, and death amongst Nigerians.

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One chance operators are often seemingly harmless drivers doing their normal “hustle” to earn a living. But they often leave their victims either dead or traumatised for life. There are many reported cases of one chance operations in Lagos and Abuja, where operators posing as bus or taxi drivers, conductors, and even passengers lure unsuspecting people to their vehicles and rob them along the way.

In fact, a victim is lucky if he or she is just robbed and allowed to go. Some victims are kidnapped and used for rituals of all kinds. Others, particularly the stubborn ones, are killed and abandoned on the roadsides. Some victims are also severely wounded and left to go. Either ways, one chance operation is a very harmful one that leaves more than a bad taste in a victim’s mouth.

Also, one chance in Nigeria is used to describe a situation when someone fails to fulfill their promises. In Nigeria, you’ll here sayings like, “you don enter one chance be that.” This is to describe that one should expect to be disappointed. For instance, many Nigerians believe that the country has entered one chance under this current administration. This is because there are many terrible issues in the country that the government has failed to fulfill despite making promises that they would make things better during the previous elections.

Causes of one chance

corruption in Nigeria

Corruption

Let me use this cliched saying, corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into Nigerian society. In a country with blatant abuse of power, lawlessness, lack of accountability, and other societal ills, crimes like one chance will be born and thrive. Nigeria is so corrupt that a one-time British Prime Minister has described it as a fantastically corrupt country. We may frown at the insinuation and throw insults, but it is what it is.

Unemployment

There’s a rising rate of unemployed youths in the country. There are no jobs. A lot of people are unemployable. So vibrant youths resort to crimes to sustain themselves. If it’s not yahoo yahoo, or money ritual also known as yahoo plus, then they’ve taken to full-blown robbery. Many have taken to robbing unsuspecting commuters in transit. It’s an old trend that is becoming more common these days.

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Poverty

When there are no jobs, people cannot eat. And a hungry man is an angry man. He can do anything, including sacrificing his soul to get a piece of bread. That has contributed to the rising cases of one chance activities in Nigeria. Many perpetrators are from impoverished areas and merely trying to make ends meet. Unfortunately, their activities put their victims in harm’s way and cause more havoc than solutions to a heavily burdened country like Nigeria.

Greed

A lot of perpetrators are not engaging in one chance to avoid poverty. Some are financially capable individuals who greedily want more than they already have. In particular, are those who engage in kidnapping. While it’s true that many of them do it because they have no other alternative, many do it because of their Oliver Twist nature. They don’t want to be contented with what they have.

Impatience

Nigerians are impatient people. This is why jumping queues is a “normal thing” in the country. Everybody wants to “get it” before it’s their turn. They have also carried their impatient nature to the roads. Some people want to follow shortcuts. So, criminals have decided to capitalise on people’s impatience by luring them into their vehicles and then robbing them.

Lack of standard policies on public transport

Of course, we know the official public transport operators. There are Uber, Bolt, public buses, taxis, and even okada and keke. However, do you know that private vehicles are allowed to operate as public transport? This should be illegal, but hey, it’s Nigeria. Anything goes in this country. You may argue that people are just trying to survive but when you enter a vehicle that hasn’t been registered with any public transport union, anything you see, take it like that.

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How to tackle one chance issues in Nigeria

one chance criminals arrested

The first thing to do about tackling the one chance issue in Nigeria is everybody should be security conscious. Members of the public should not rely on the police or security forces for their safety in transit. The following security measures should be taken:

  • Avoid entering private vehicles posing as public transport. Majority of one chance syndicates use private vehicles to lure commuters in a hurry to reach their destinations.
  • Note the behaviours of the passengers in the vehicle. If you notice any unusual behaviour, tell the driver to stop even when you have not reached your destination. Target when the vehicle has entered a crowded area, get out of the car and raise the alarm.
  • Do not board a vehicle on lonely roads.
  • Do not board a vehicle that just stops to pick you. Ask the driver where he is going. If it’s not your route, let him go.

That being said, security operators, particularly the police, should make more efforts to ensure the roads are safe. They should make more efforts to arrest the perpetrators and make them face the law. The government should adequately provide needed resources to help make the police job better.

There should be clear-cut policies guiding the public transport system in Nigeria. Private vehicles operating as public transport should be banned. Anyone who wants to use his car as public transport should go through the right channels to register. This way, the vehicle can easily be traced should anything happen.

Also, prevention is better than cure. More sensitization and awareness about one chance should be carried out with members of the public so that everyone will understand what is going on. The internet and social media are great platforms to disseminate information. Both the government, through the police and media, as well as private organizations should work together to spread information to all corners of the country.

Finally, one chance is not written on anyone’s face. Syndicates are mostly ordinary people like us. They are products of a society that failed to take care of them. This is why issues like unemployment and corruption should be tackled urgently to avoid more menacing problems like one chance.

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