Motorcyclists lament police harassment, extortion in Lagos
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