Commercial Motorcylists Retaliate Death of Colleague, Burn Police Van

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  • Police arrest 63 suspects

Chiemelie Ezeobi

Operators of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada, Wednesday set a police patrol van ablaze in retaliation of the death of one of their colleagues, who was allegedly killed by the police.

The patrol vehicle belonging to Ipakodo Police Station in Ikorodu, was said to have been set on fire by the angry operators at Baale junction in Owode area of Ibeshe in Ikorodu.

According to eyewitness report, the burning of the van was a spill over of Tuesday’s crisis between some policemen from Ikpakodo Division and the deceased.

It was alleged that the policemen gave chase after the deceased failed to purportedly part with the sum of N100 demanded by the cops, as was usually their practice.

While fleeing from the cops, he was said to have fallen into a gutter with his motorcycle and sustained fatal injuries on his head and other parts of his body.

Noting his precarious situation, the cops allegedly fled the area and the deceased was left unattended to until he was stumbled upon by some of his colleagues.

Although he was rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention, he died in the process, thus inciting the rage of his colleagues.

On Wednesday morning, the irate mob mobilised themseves and attacked the policemen, who were unaware that the man was dead, and set their patrol van ablaze.

Once the news filtered out, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Mohammed Ali, directed the DPO, CSP Adigun Salami to match the policemen involved to the command headquarters in Ikeja.

Normalcy was finally restored by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), conventional policemen and soldiers.

Reacting to the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, said the burning of the police patrol van was regrettable.

Speaking through his spokesperson, SP Chike Oti, the CP said the van was stationed at a black spot in Ibeshe, Ipakodo area of Ikorodu before the irate motorcyclists burnt it.

He said, “The incident was occasioned by an encounter between policemen manning the black spot and an okada man plying the routes way beyond Lagos state approved time of 10pm.

“As he approached the police pin down point, the police team observed that he was carrying a passenger with a big bag placed between him and the rider.

“They flagged him down but instead of obeying, he increased his speed in order to evade police scrutiny. Sadly, he ended up in a ditch and passed on.

“Meanwhile his associate with the suspicious bag vanished into the thin air.

“However, today (Wednesday), Okada riders sympathetic to their late colleague, mobilised in their thousands and attempted to burn the Ibeshe Police Post.

“They were resisted, so they moved and found a softer target which was a police van stationed at a known black spot in Ibeshe and set it ablaze.

“In view of this incident, the police authorities in Lagos state wishes to warn all those with the penchant to burn, destroy or loot its property/armoury, that henceforth the Command will be compelled to use all lawful means including the use of firearms to protect such properties and defend its petsonnel.

“The police in Lagos will no longer standby and watch hoodlums destroy government property worth millions of Naira for whatever reason.

“Any group of persons with complaints against the police action, must toe the civilised option of registering their complaints with the police authorities for appropriate action.”

Edgal said the 63 okada riders arrested for burning the police vehicle should be charge to court for arson.

He also directed the OC Legal to file a motion to a court of competent jurisdiction to surcharge the suspects for the purchase of another police patrol vehicle.