Fear Grips Lagos Okada Riders Over Impending Clampdown
The Lagos State Police Command has concluded plans to commence massive arrest of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly known as Okada riders from June 15.
The decision might not be unconnected with last week’s attempt by some Okada riders to burn Ibeshe Police Post in Ikorodu.
The Okada riders ended up burning a police patrol vehicle stationed at a black spot in the town.
The Okada riders were angry after one of them, identified as Paul, aka Baba Ezine, died in the early hours of Wednesday after an accident which residents claimed was caused by the police.
Paul was said to be taking a passenger somewhere when he ran into the police checkpoint.
He tried to evade the policemen, but crashed into a gutter.
After the accident, the police operatives, instead of taking him to a hospital, left him in the gutter.
They, however, seized his motorcycle, which they took to their station.
Paul’s friends later took him to a hospital where he died.
The man’s kinsmen and colleagues mobilised and took his corpse to the police station.
The police were said to have fired shots into the air to scare them away.
That was when they found a police van which they burnt.
To resolve this impasse, a meeting was convened by the police authorities on Sunday.
The meeting was attended by different Okada unions in the state, such as Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State (MOALS) Nagari Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NAMORA) and Okada Riders Welfare Association (ORWA).
During the meeting, which was held at the MD Abubakar Conference Hall of the police headquarters, the Police Commissioner, CP Edgal Imohimi, decried the attitude of some Okada riders who attack members of the public or constituted authorities at the slightest disagreement.
He warned that the police would not only arrest unruly okada riders but ensure that they face the full wrath of the law.
At the end of the meeting, the following resolutions were reached.
That with effect from June 15, 2018,
1. Any motorcycle without licence plate number will be impounded;
2. All commercial motorcycle operators are restricted from plying the highways and the bridges;
3. Every commercial motorcycle operator must register with any of the approved unions for the purpose of accountability and easy identification.
4. Every commercial motorcycle operator must wear an apron which must indicate the union he belongs and bear boldly, his identification number.
5. A joint taskforce, comprising the police, the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation and members of the motorcycle unions to oversee the implementation of the resolution reached and the enforcement of the Lagos State traffic laws.
The impending clampdown is already sending shivers down the spine of some Okada operators.
Some of them who spoke with Bounce News said some policemen will use the opportunity of enforcing the new rules to extort money from them.
Bounce News learnt that motorcycles impounded are released to their owners at very exorbitant amounts ranging from N20,000 to N50,000 as fine.
It was further learnt that those that are not collected are either auctioned off or scrapped and recycled while others end up in the possession of corrupt members of the police force.
An Okada rider in Oshodi, Rasak Kusimo told our correspondent that the impending clampdown will turned motorcycle riders into ATMs for the police.
"I once got my bike impounded when I took a neighbour who was sick to the hospital around 5am
"All pleas I made fell on deaf ears. In fact, the crime officer told me that I should forget about the motorcycle because he was going to add it to those to be sent to Alausa.
"He asked me to pay a N10,000 fine before he would hand over the motorcycle back to me.
"I pleaded with them that I had only N5000 on me but they refused. I collected my motorcycles three days later after I was able to raise the said sum."
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