Residents of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state Capital, are living in fear of the unknown as they set out of their homes on daily basis.
Our correspondent reports that armed robbery syndicates and those specialized in the snatching of cell phones and women's handbags are terrorizing unsuspecting residents of the city who go about their businesses.
One of the most recent victims of the phone and bag snatching gangs is a newly wedded staff of the African Independent Television AIT (name withheld).
She told our correspondent that she alighted from a tricycle popularly called Keke NAPEP around noon and was about to pay the rider when a group of boys suddenly swooped on her, snatched her bag and ran away.
Narrating her ordeal, the AIT reporter said cash, her cell phone and other valuables were contained in the bag that was seized by the hoodlums along the DSP Alamieyeseigha Expressway in Yenagoa.
"It just happened now. Some boys numbering six came from nowhere and snatched my bag from me and ran into the street where the commercial sex workers reside.
She said efforts by a passerby police van to apprehend the culprits proved abortive as the hoodlums sharply disappeared into the congested adjourning streets, making it difficult for the police to trace them.
"They have gone with all that I had in my bag, including the money I just withdrew from the bank and my phone. The phone is very costly. They also targeted the Keke man and took all the money he had worked today. All this happened in few seconds", she lamented.
At Nikton Road, Kpansia in the state capital, a lady who gave her name as Chinaza Ezenwa told TNN that residents of the area were scared to come out with their phones once it was 7:00 pm, for fear of losing them to thieves.
"If you love your phone, you dare not hold it in your hand from 7: O'clock in the evenings. If you try it, the bad boys will come and collect it in the presence of everybody. Even if you shout, nobody comes to your rescue because everyone is afraid of his life.”
Our correspondent learnt that similar cases occur in different parts of the state capital on daily basis.
Confirming the situation to TNN, the Police Public Relations Officer PPRO in the state, Mr. Asimin Botswat said the state police command had been receiving reports to that effect.
Botswat said "we have been receiving similar reports. We are working on them", stating that police vans would be patrolling the reported hot areas to clampdown on the perpetrators.
It could be recalled that penultimate week, a heavily armed robbery gang trailed a vehicle that was returning from a bank to Amarata area of Yenagoa, shot at the two occupants and carted away the sum of N3.5 million.