Okada riders attack Taskforce officials in Lagos
There was pandemonium yesterday at the Oshodi area of Lagos as commercial motorcycle operators attacked officials of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences, enforcement Unit, popularly called Taskforce. They were attacked under the Oshodi bridge area of Lagos.
Chairman Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi said that 14 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack.He disclosed that the agency received a distressed call that about 14 Okada riders operating illegally attacked the enforcement team of the agency and wounded a paramilitary officer, Mr. Innocent Okoro and damaged their vehicle.Egbeyemi disclosed further that immediately after they attacked officials of the agency, the okada riders ran into a compound at Igbehinadun Street around Oshodi.
According to him:”The enforcement team, with the support of other officials coming from an enforcement operations on Lagos Island chased them to the compound and discovered a large number of motorcyclists and miscreants smoking Indian hemp within the residential house”He confirmed that while some of the attackers escaped through the fence, the enforcement team arrested 46 of them including those who carried out the attack.
“Out of these 46 arrested suspects, 18 were released after a thorough screening and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police CP Hakeem Odumosu directed that the remaining 28 be prosecuted in court”.While urging all motorcyclists and road users across the state to operate within the ambit of the law, the Chairman restated the determination of the Agency to ensure that all residents in the state comply with the Lagos State Road Traffic Law of 2012.
However, the motorcycle riders, in Boladale area, Mafoluku, Oshodi, have accused officials of the Lagos State Taskforce of carting away over 200 motorcycles in the early hours of yesterday.The angry riders, who came to t he corporate headquarters of The Guardian Newspapers, Isolo, accused the officials of operating outside the laws of the of the land as the seized motorcycles were taken away while the owners were sleeping.
One of them, Abdulraman Ademola revealed that despite the fact that they are not operating in areas where government has warned them against, they have been experiencing hardship and extortion from the officials who allegedly seized over 500 motorcycles in the last three weeks.
He said: “Whenever they seize any of our motorcycles, we pay as much as N70, 000 for each of the motorcycles through their agents in mufti, after which it would be released to us. But in the last few weeks, the way they have been dealing with us is terrible.
“For instance, last Friday when some of us were in Owoseni Central Mosque for the Jumat Prayers,they just came and packed all the motorcycles, which were over 200. Two weeks ago, they also went to where our people were sleeping and took all the bikes over night. This morning again, 200 were carted away around 2:30am, while we were asleep, this is becoming unbearable.“If we are operating at the main expressway, they can arrest us and seize our motorcycles, but we are not plying the prohibited areas. If they continue like this, we may not have any option than to react, which may lead to chaos”.
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