IGP, Mohammed Abubakar
Apparently lashing on the ban on the activities of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as ‘Okada’ on some Lagos roads, police officers serving in Alakuko area of Lagos State are now arresting okada operators in Ogun State territory and extorting money from them.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved motocyclists, Mr. Hakeem Somuyiwa, who said he left Lagos to ply his trade in Ogun State, said: “Between the toll gate and Ogba-Iyo via Sango in Ogun State, the police officers usually numbering about six come past the Lagos-Ogun State toll gate, to arrest us and they take us to Alakuko in Lagos State where they usually take between N1000 and N10, 000 from us before allowing us go.”
According to him, despite the fact that there is no law prohibiting commercial motorcycling in Ogun State, the policemen apprehend the victims on the ground that they are working during late hours: “But what they call late hour is usually around 10 p.m.”
Somuyiwa, who narrated that “the policemen come as far as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) office in Ogun State, where they park their vehicle and catch our members coming from Dalemo area, also stated that some of those who attempted to resist arrest on the ground that they are not operating in Lagos were thoroughly beaten: “And advised to lay their complains with Area Commandant.”
THISDAY checks, however, reveals that most of the motorcyclists arrested were those riding against the traffic, from Sango and other areas in that axis.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Zone 2 Police Command, Mr. Femi Balogun, said he was not aware of such activity in the area.
While promising to verify the issue, he advised that the state Command PPRO, Mrs. Ngozi Braide, be contacted.
However, in her reaction, Braide said: “They could be arrested if they are found to be moving people from the other side into the state (Lagos). By that they are still violating the law.”
While underscoring the fact that police officers don’t have the right to come into the neighbouring state: “Police Officers don’t have the right to come to the other side”, she emphasised that: “But if they are found to have entered into the state to drop passengers, and attempt to escape, they could still be arrested.”