You are here: HomeNews2020 11 19Article 395668

Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 19 November 2020

Source: www.mynigeria.com

Motorcycle riders, task force at loggerheads in Lagos

There was pandemonium on the Ikeja Along end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway as members of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) unit and some motorcycle riders clashed.

This brought a complete halt vehicular movement as the motorcyclists set bonfires on the road.

The Wednesday incident is the second fight between the riders and the task force, according to The Punch.

On Tuesday, the task force officers seized over 70 motorcycles around Second Rainbow, FESTAC town, over an infraction of traffic laws, which resulted in a clash between them and the okada riders.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the task force officers stormed the Ikeja area around 9am on Wednesday and were challenged by the riders.

A food vendor in the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the clash paralysed vehicular and business activities for hours.

She said, “We were going about our daily activities when the task force officers parked their vehicles at one corner and started arresting okada riders.

“The okada riders mobilised themselves to resist the officers and they started shooting sporadically, not minding who their bullets would hit. We had to leave our goods and run for safety when we noticed that the situation was getting tense.”

A motorcyclist, who identified himself simply as Yusuf, said the task force officers started impounding motorcycles from the Iyana-Ipaja area.

He said, “The officers started impounding motorcycles and arresting our members from Iyana-Ipaja, so we resisted them and got back all the motorcycles. They started shooting at us and we chased them from Iyana-Ipaja to Ikeja-Along, where they eventually left us. The task force officials are fond of harassing us and we won’t take that anymore.

“If they seize our motorcycles, what do they expect us to survive on? The government should have mercy on us; they cannot just say they want to stop motorcycles from plying the roads without providing an alternative for us.”

A spokesperson for the task force, Adebayo Taofiq, said the attack on personnel of the agency at Ikeja was “a continuation of the criminality of the riders.”

He said, “We have a beat at Ikeja Along with two vehicles and a few of our officers enforcing the traffic laws around that axis. This morning, we resisted the riders from plying the BRT corridors and the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. They, however, mobilised and attacked us.

“In order to avoid casualties, we retreated from the scene for full reinforcement after which we launched a serious attack on them. About 23 motorcycles were impounded and seven of the miscreants arrested.”

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, in a statement, said the government would continue to enforce traffic laws to maintain sanity on roads and save lives.

He noted that the task force had seized a total of 131 motorcycles and 150 vehicles in different parts of the state.

Omotosho said 15 riders were arrested and prosecuted.

“The task force subsequently arraigned and prosecuted 35 drivers of impounded vehicles, who had to forfeit their cars to the state for driving against oncoming traffic; 62 drivers who plied the BRT corridor were fined N70,000 each; and 28 tricycle owners were also arraigned in court.

“Traffic enforcement agencies will continue to assert their authority. They have been directed to arraign and prosecute all violators to ensure that penalties are apportioned in consonance with the law,” he added.

Omotosho stressed that the ban on commercial motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the state was still in force.

Join our Newsletter