LAGOS, Nigeria – There was pandemonium at Oshodi area of Lagos State as commercial motorcyclists known as Okada riders attacked officials of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce) on Thursday.
A statement released by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of the agency, Taofiq Adebayo, quoted the Chairman of the Agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, that the attack was launched by 14 illegal commercial motorcyclists at under bridge, Oshodi area of Lagos.
Egbeyemi disclosed that a distressed call was received that about 14 illegal commercial motorcyclists attacked the enforcement team of the Agency and wounded a paramilitary officer (Mr. Innocent Okoro) with operational vehicles damaged.
He said immediately after they attacked officials of the Agency, it was discovered that the 14 illegal motorcyclists ran into a compound at Igbehinadun Street around Oshodi and locked themselves up.
According to him, “The enforcement team with the support of other officials coming from an enforcement operation at Lagos Island chased them and broke the entrance door of the compound and discovered a large number of motorcyclists and miscreants smoking Indian hemp within a residential house.”
He confirmed that 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,” he said.
He noted that 231 illegal illegal commercial motorcyclists have been arrested so far in Oshodi community.
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.
Meanwhile, the Okada riders have staged protest against the Taskforce officials over their Okada taken away by the force.
They claimed that the Taskforce officials invaded the Mosque in Almoruf, Oshodi and others places where bikes are parked at about 1:30am on Thursday and took away all the bikes within in their van.
One of them, Saheed Owonikoko who was lucky that his bike was not taken from the mosque said many bikes were taken away by the Taskforce.
He expressed his annoyance towards the motorcycle Union, Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State that sells tickets to them for their inactivity.
He said: “If government wants us off the streets, they should tell us rather than seizing our bikes overnight which depicted the act of theft.”
However, the General Secretary of the union, Mr. Samuel Darlington stated that the union chairman, Alhaji Hassan popularly known as Walter has intervened in the matter yet, taskforce officials refused to release the bikes in their custody.
“I wonder which government would send out its officials at midnight to seize motorcycle,” he said.