Mo­tor­cy­clists lament po­lice ha­rass­ment, ex­tor­tion in La­gos

The Punch - - NEWS - Etim Ekpimah

COM­MER­CIAL mo­tor­cy­clists ply­ing Okeira from the Shonola Street junc­tion, op­po­site the Ex­cel­lence Ho­tel, Aguda, in the Ogba area of La­gos State, have ac­cused the po­lice of ha­rass­ment, ex­tor­tion and seizure of their mo­tor­cy­cles.

The mo­tor­cy­clists told PUNCH Metro that the po­lice were car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar raids on them de­spite the fact that they were not con­gre­gat­ing on the Ex­cel­lence Ho­tel junc­tion, but on Shonola Street.

One of the com­mer­cial mo­tor­cy­clists, who iden­ti­fied him­self sim­ply as Michael, said the po­lice were com­ing to the street, where they wait for pas­sen­gers, to im­pound their mo­tor­cy­cles.

Ac­cord­ing to him, they have had to leave Oke-ira and the Ex­cel­lence Ho­tel junc­tion, where they used to wait for pas­sen­gers, to avoid fre­quent abuse of their rights by the po­lice.

Michael stated, “On De­cem­ber 24, 2019, we were sur­prised to see the po­lice ve­hi­cle drive to Shonola Street, where we were wait­ing for pas­sen­gers; more than 10 of our mem­bers were ar­rested and their mo­tor­cy­cles seized.

“We did not know what we did wrong, be­cause we waited on Shonola Street, which is a dis­tance away from the Ex­cel­lence Ho­tel and the Okeira junc­tion, which they asked us to move away from.

“The po­lice im­pounded more than 10 mo­tor­cy­cles. We went to the Pen Cin­ema Po­lice Sta­tion to re­trieve the mo­tor­cy­cles af­ter pay­ing be­tween N3,000 and N4,000 for each, de­pend­ing on their con­di­tion.

“It was later that the po­lice said we stayed on the road, but they were un­able to es­tab­lish which side of the road they met us. When an in­ci­dent of this nature oc­curs, there is noth­ing we can do; we can­not fight the po­lice.”

An­other mo­tor­cy­clist, who iden­ti­fied him­self sim­ply as Ab­dul­lahi, told PUNCH Metro that he just started work on the day the po­lice took his mo­tor­cy­cle away, adding that he had been ill for al­most two weeks.

He said he had to bor­row N4,000 from a friend to give to the po­lice be­fore his mo­tor­cy­cle was re­leased.

PUNCH Metro had in Septem­ber re­ported a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent with the mo­tor­cy­clists lament­ing that they could not get back their mo­tor­cy­cles as they could not trace where the po­lice­men came from.

They had said that while wait­ing to pick pas­sen­gers, the po­lice usu­ally emerge in mini buses and some­times on tri­cy­cles and push them off the mo­tor­cy­cles, which they usu­ally take to their sta­tions in Ogba and Agege.

The mo­tor­cy­clists noted that they had to pay the po­lice at Ogba N2,200 and those from

Pen Cin­ema N5,200 be­fore their mo­tor­cy­cles were re­leased.

One of the mo­tor­cy­clists had told PUNCH Metro, “These peo­ple will come in po­lice uni­form in the morn­ing, af­ter­noon and evening, flash their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards and take away as many mo­tor­cy­cles as they can. They tell us that they are tak­ing the mo­tor­cy­cles to Alausa.

“Af­ter the com­mo­tion, we will go to Alausa and will not see the mo­tor­cy­cles there, or at the Area ‘G’ in Ogba, or Pen Cin­ema. We also go to other po­lice sta­tions, but we don’t of­ten get to see the mo­tor­cy­cles. This hap­pens of­ten.”

The Po­lice Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, DSP Bala Elkana, said he had in­quired about the in­ci­dent from the Di­vi­sional Po­lice Of­fi­cer, Pen Cin­ema Po­lice Sta­tion, who de­nied that any­thing of such hap­pened un­der her watch.

Elkana urged the mo­tor­cy­clists to come to his of­fice with ev­i­dence to sub­stan­tial their claims.

“I for­warded that in­quiry to the DPO, but she de­nied out­right that any­thing like that hap­pened in the di­vi­sion. Let those peo­ple in­volved come for­ward with ev­i­dence to back their claims and we shall in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent,” he said.

• Shonola Street

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