Okada riders protest police extortion, arrest

Okada riders protest police extortion

Scores of commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders, on Thursday morning, stormed the palace of the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Kabir Shotobi, to protest alleged extortion and illegal arrests by officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

The protesters, who blocked the road in front of the palace, said they wanted the king and the government to intervene and stop the police from arresting and extorting money from them.

Some of the protesters said since Ikorodu Local Government Area was not among the LGAs where the Lagos State Government had banned Okada operation, they considered the continuous arrests and extortion by the police as illegal.

An okada operator, Kazeem Gbadegesin, said, “The policemen are troubling us. Since we cannot resort to crime because there is no job, we chose okada as our job to make ends meet.

“And apart from the fact that Ikorodu is not among the places where okada has been banned in Lagos, we are not working on the expressway. Why are the policemen after us?”

Another okada operator, who gave his name as Mudashiru Ayinde, said, “What happened this morning was beyond what I’ve ever seen. At Oluodo Bus Stop, policemen came and started seizing our bikes forcefully. One of them hit one of our colleagues with gun. There is another of our colleagues who was hit in the face and one of his eyes is injured.”

Ayinde said they wanted the king to intervene as he had done in the past.

Efforts to reach the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, were unsuccessful as calls to his phone were not answered and a text message sent to him had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing this report.

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