- Task force arrests notorious kingpin, 15 others
By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Lagos State Government at the weekend said it would henceforth strictly enforce the extant laws in the state especially those bordering on environmental offences and restriction of operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada in certain routes as well as street trading.
Rising from the monthly security council meeting involving heads of all security agencies in the state chaired by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the government urged residents to willfully comply with the extant laws in the state to make the enforcement of the law easier.
Briefing Government House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, urged the public to desist from patronizing traders especially where street trading is not allowed.
Owoseni also counselled Lagosians to stop patronizing commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada operators on routes where the law restricts them from plying.
Owoseni, who briefed journalists alongside heads of the Army, Navy, Airforce and other security agencies in state, said: “The council appraised the security situation in the state and looked at the challenges we are still having and from discussions and conclusions that were made, the council agreed that lot of progress had been made.
“We have covered lot of miles regarding security and safety in the state. For now, the State is relatively peaceful.
“We want to sustain that tempo; we want to improve on that tempo. We have looked at those areas we need to improve upon and basically those were the issues the council considered,” Owoseni said.
When asked on the directive by Ambode at the Town Hall Meeting in Ikorodu last week that Okada should not ply Mile 12-Ikorodu route, the commissioner said: “Yes, we deliberated on that and I can tell you that we specifically considered the need to improve on enforcement of the laws of the state, especially the areas where we have been having challenges with members of the public with regard to enforcement.
“Specifically, I’m talking about the street trading, the restriction of commercial motorcyclists to certain areas. You see, there is need to have the buy-in of members of the public in all these and the Council considered the need for us to still tell the citizens that in as much as we want to enforce, there is also need for members of the public to willfully comply with extant laws of the State.
“When they comply and conform to the laws, it will be easier for security agencies to enforce. Where the law says there should not be street trading, people should not patronize street traders; where the law says Okada should not ply certain routes, people should not patronize commercial motorcyclists in those areas.
“But most importantly, as the security council has always emphasized, there is need for everyone to be security conscious and raise awareness about security in their surroundings,” Owoseni said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Unit has arrested notorious kingpin, one Tunde Aigboje, popularly called ‘tallest’ and his 15 other gang members who usually terrorise residents and motorists around Gbagada and Oworonshoki area of the state.
Confirming the arrests, the spokesman of task force, Adebayo Taofiq, said the suspects were picked up during an operation at Gbagada aimed at clearing all illegal shanties constructed around dumpsites by these hoodlums and miscreants.
He said the operation was carried out after serving due notice as requested by the law but met stiff resistance from the hoodlums and miscreants.
He said the hoodlums, who attacked the policemen attached to the task force and paramilitary personnel with cutlasses, guns and other lethal weapons, also injured an officer, Mr. Duncan Daniel.
The victim, who had his five fingers decimated with bottles and cutlass, was rushed to Lagos State General Hospital Emergency Unit at tollgate.
He was however referred to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi for urgent surgery on his left hand.
The task force led by Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Superintendent of Police, said it acted on petitions from residents of Gbagada and Oworonshoki who revealed that the hoodlums use the dumpsite as a hideout from where they carried out criminal activities at night by robbing presidents.
Taofiq said with the “Light up Lagos Initiative, there is no more hide out for criminals as everywhere including under bridges have been illuminated.
“The agency hereby enjoined members of the public to report immediately if they notice any strange moves around their vicinity.”
In another development, the taskforce said it has impounded more than 85 private and commercial vehicles, including 19 motorcycles at Club Road, Ikoyi, for illegal parking causing traffic obstructions around the area.
He said: “These 19 motorcycles were impounded for plying restricted routes around Ikoyi area, while the officials of task force demolished 15 illegal shanties.
“It is hereby issued that every security personnel across the state must comply with the Lagos State Traffic Laws of 2012 or have his or her vehicles or motorcycles impounded.”