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Tension in Lagos community as police enforce Okada ban

Pandemonium broke out yesterday in Idi-Araba area of Lagos following the arrest of many commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada riders by officials of…

Pandemonium broke out yesterday in Idi-Araba area of Lagos following the arrest of many commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada riders by officials of the state taskforce.

The enforcement operation, which was embarked on by officials of the state’s Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) unit, was resisted by the riders who pelted the operatives with sachet water.

The state government had outlawed the operation of Okada riders in six local government areas and nine local council development areas (LCDA) under them. This followed the killing and setting ablaze of an engineer in Lekki area of the state.

The affected LGAs are Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Ikeja and Apapa.

Tuesday’s fracas between the riders and the taskforce officials started around 9am and lasted the better part of the day.

The taskforce had arrived in the area around 8.30am and started impounding some motorcycles for violating the ban which the riders tried to resist.

A witness who identified himself as Ibrahim Saidu said hoodlums seized the opportunity to attack passersby.

“Some even broke into shops to loot property,” he said.

Another witness, Emeka Chinagorom, a trader at Ladipo Market, Mushin, said many people were injured in the crisis.

He further stated that the chaos extended towards the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) as many people sought refuge inside the premises.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Lagos State, Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the crisis on his official Twitter handle @BenHundeyin, said it was some miscreants who went attacking people after the taskforce men had left.

“They can’t fight because taskforce went well prepared. They were just causing a scene after the taskforce left with some of their impounded motorcycles. Men from the Area command have since been drafted there. Absolutely nothing to worry about,” he said.

Hundeyin could not confirm the number of motorcycles impounded nor give an account of the number of casualties.