The Lagos State Government on Tuesday vowed to intensify the clampdown on commercial motorcycles plying restricted routes and disclosed that it had impounded 2,000 motorcycles okadas in the last two days.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, stated this at a ministerial press conference to mark the second year of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office.
The commissioner lamented the lawlessness of okada riders in the state, adding that while 1,000 okadas were impounded on Sunday, another 1,000 were impounded on Monday.
He said the government would not go back on the ban on okada riders from plying strategic routes in the state.
On Tuesday, operatives of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences seized unspecified number of motorcycles on Freedom Road, Lekki.
It was gathered that the okadariders resisted the operatives from impounding their motorcycles and exchanged gunshots with policemen on Monday.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, described the rumoured attack by okada operators on police personnel in Lekki as false and mischievous.
The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said in a statement that the command after carefully studying the video noticed that the originators distorted the fact and raised a false alarm.
He stated, “This was in order to cause confusion and create fears in the minds of the general public for reasons best known to the originators or sponsors as the case may be.
“The command wishes to set the record straight that on Monday, April 26, around 9.30am, the Divisional Police Officer in Maroko was informed that some okadariders were on the rampage by resisting the police from impounding their motorcycles at Lekki Phase 1 gate.
“The area falls within the restricted areas for okada operations in the state. The Divisional Police Officer then called for reinforcement and ordered his policemen to race to the place to take charge and restore normalcy.
“The policemen were able to curtail their activities and chased them to their hideout, where 31 of their motorcycles were impounded and one of the leaders, one Mohammed, was arrested. Normalcy has been restored in the area.”
Meanwhile, the command has said it is awaiting the report of the Area Commander on the clash between members of the Nagari Nakowa Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association and okada riders the Iyana Iba and Alaba Rago areas of the state.
The clash, which occurred on Monday, resulted in mayhem in the area and disrupted free movement of residents.
PUNCH Metro had reported that different casualty figures were bandied.
While a transport worker said no fewer than six persons lost their lives, a campus marshal insisted that four persons were killed.
The clash escalated into a free-for-all that affected vehicular movement in Iyana Iba and Okokomaiko, among other nearby routes along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
Footage trending online showed soldiers driving away from the front gate of the Lagos State University as the Hausa motorcyclists hurled stones at the students and security guards, who were preventing an attack on the institution.
The okada riders were also seen vandalising vehicles parked by the front gate of the institution, while the security guards were forced to close the gate.
Adejobi said the command was not aware of any death during the clash, adding that the injured victims had been treated.
Adejobi said, “The Area Commander is to send a report to the police, so we are waiting for the report on the issue, then we will know the next line of action.
“Generally, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has deployed additional policemen in that area to intensify patrol. He also deployed armoured personnel carriers and Police Mobile Force personnel in the area.
“With all these arrangements, we don’t think we are going to have a breakdown of law and order in the area again. Also, the Area Commander is carrying out the directive of the CP by engaging leaders of the unions to see how they can be managing their subordinates.
“‘The investigation is ongoing; the report of the Area Commander will tell us what to do. I can’t say if somebody is detained or not detained.”
The Lagos State Chairman, Nagari Nakowa Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association, Sulaiman Adeshina, aka Jafo Authority, said the union members were not responsible for the unrest.
Adeshina told PUNCH Metro on Tuesday that members of the body were enforcing the state government’s ban on motorcycle operations on the highways when some Hausa okada riders allegedly resisted the enforcement.
He stated that one of his members was injured during the clash, adding that the victim was responding to treatment.
The LASU spokesman, Ademola Adekoya, in a statement on Tuesday, refuted the claim that the institution was attacked by hoodlums during the clash, adding that the campus was safe and secure.
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