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when the new Lagos traffic law was passed, many Nigerians  greeted it with mixed feelings, with the biggest swing on motor cycle riders popularly know as Okada. At first many Nigerians thought that they were completely banned but the  Lagos Commissioners for transportation Mr. Kayode Opeifa clarified that  their activities were only banned from some major routes in the state .

Though the law is not completely adhered to, as many Uniformed men still flout it. Opeifa  disclosed to journalist earlier that the operators of the motorcycles and their counter parts who operate the tricycle (maruwa) were not included in the state transportation plan and insisted that they were only limited in their operation form certain parts of the state and not banned.

but it seems some police command in the state have decided to take laws into their hands. Newsfact recently witnessed an incident between an ‘okada’ rider and a group of police men around Bello street close to the Lagos University teaching Hospital LUTH, who were identified as men from the area C command.

Then men of the NPF who were in a commercial bus without a plate number had tried to dismount the rider who Insisted that he had not broken any rule. On  refusing to come down from his bike, he received several slaps and pushes from the police men.  shortly one of the police men angered by the riders action used the butt of his gun and smashed several parts of the motorcycle.

Several residents in that area who refused to give their names for fear of victimization say, the policemen frequently visit the area, extorting money from the commercial motorcycle riders. when Newsfact tried to question the police man on the reasons for his action he simply answered “don’t know about the new traffic law” hurriedly boarded the bus and drove away.

Attempts by Newsfact to reach the Divisional Police Officer proved abortive as he did not pick his calls.earlier

At the beginning of the New Lagos Traffic law when allegations that some policemen sized Okadas, collecting between N5,000 to N10,000 bribe for each okada which some of the okada riders claims is still happening,  Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Umar Mamko defended his men,  He accused the riders of resorting  to blackmail policemen in order to release their seized motorcycles after being caught violating the law. In his words he said“It is when they are arrested that they resort to blackmail and unprovable allegations of bribery,”  he however assured that “Any policeman caught receiving bribe does so at his own peril,” but so far there has not been any record of any policeman who has been caught.

but Okada riders in the state insist that the men of the Police force have resorted to “hide and seek” tactic, most times posing as passengers to extort money from them.

Omolola Sodunke

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Omolola Sodunke Holds a First and Second degree in creative arts from the University of Lagos Nigeria, With over seven years journalism experience. Worked with NN24, Nigeria International, Media International and Crown Troupe.

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