by Anike Jacobs
You don’t believe in miracles, then read this.
A seasoned lawyer and human rights activist based in Warri, Barrister Robinson Ariyo, was recently shot twice by suspected armed robbers but his skin refused to yield to the gun pellets.
Narrating his miraculous encounter to Tribune Newspaper, Ariyo revealed that he was waylaid by the gang along Refinery Road late night of Wednesday, January 28.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate to the Delta State House of Assembly had left his home at Ugwuwangwe in Warri at about 12 midnight to honour an invitation by one of his clients who was lodged at Hotel Excel situated along Refinery Road.
His choice to embark on the midnight trip in volatile Warri and environs was, according to him, informed by reports that crimes usually occurred at certain hours – between 7:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m and 4:00 a.m to 6:30a.m.
“…I understand that the crime style in Warri usually subsists till late in the night, but at about 12 midnight, there is no robbery incidence. So, I usually moved freely that period; I did not think there was any danger on my way,” he stated.
However, while driving through the NPA expressway and negotiated Refinery Road, he met a road block, and as he applied the brake and attempted to make a U-turn with the belief that the hindrance was mounted as a result of the construction work ongoing, some young boys dashed out of the woods and opened fire on him, shattering his windscreen in the process.
“Suddenly, a couple of boys jumped out with guns and told me to wait and I couldn’t think so fast, but the next thing I heard was a gunshot on the driver’s windscreen which shattered the screen. Of course at that point, I had to cooperate with them.
“So, I came out and they asked for my valuables, took my mobile phones, cash and some other items they saw in the car. In order to buy more time, I told them there were drinks in the booth, and while they were going to open the booth, one of them, who apparently could read, saw the sticker on my car that I am a candidate in the coming elections.
“I think it occurred to them that they could take me away so they compelled me to go into my car booth, but traditionally, I don’t operate under tight space. So, I appealed to them that at least, I had given them maximum cooperation and that if they even wanted more, I could give them,” the Supreme Court solicitor narrated.
At that point, Ariyo said the most violent among the hoodlums got angry and said in pidgin English: “We dey tell you say enter your booth you no wan enter eh?” Enraged, the hoodlum pulled out his gun and the next thing the victim heard was a loud bang.
“He brought out his gun and the next thing I heard was a loud bang echoing through my ears twice. So I looked at it, as I was expecting to see blood, they also did not see blood. At this point, one of them went to a store and was coming with a cutlass, so I had to break loose and run. I managed to outrun them and got to the Warri/Sapele Road. As I was still running, fortunately I saw a patrol van belonging to Ekpan Police Station. They stopped me and thought I was a thief before I later explained to them that I was a lawyer and that I just escaped from some robbers. The police went after the robbers and recovered my vehicle while they fled,” the managing director of Robinson Ariyo & Co Law Firm, stated.
According to him, after he escaped from the hoodlums and the police went after them, he hid in a store along Warri/Sapele till about 5:00 a.m when he got a motorcycle to take him home. He complained that the skin around his chest and neck was as hot as pepper from particles of pellets and gunpowder shot at him. Doctors, he said, told him that his scapular had been distorted due to the impact of the pellets. Radiologist, orthopedic, audiologist and ophthalmologist were preparing to carry out forensic examinations on him. Injuries incurred from battering by the heartless hoodlums were also found on the victim’s forehead and right arm.
When asked if he suspected an assassination attempt on his life, being a top party candidate for the state House of Assembly in February 28 election, Ariyo said, “An expert told me it is possible to hack into someone’s mobile line and listen to your conversations. One cannot rule anything out, but basically what I can say is that I thank God because I’m alive today. I want to take it that it was a robbery attack that wanted to turn into a kidnap.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Delta State Police Command, DSP Celestina Kalu, confirmed the attack saying Mr Ariyo’s car was recovered almost immediately and that being a robbery attempt, further investigations were on.