The Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency (Task Force) yesterday impounded 120 motorcycles and arrested 10 Okada riders.
The riders were arrested at 2nd Rainbow Bus-stop near Mile 2 and Ijesha on the Apapa – Oshodi Expressroad.
Okada riders have enjoined the government to save them from daily harassment in the hnds of the task force.
They accused the task force and policemen of harassing them on unrestricted routes.
Task force Chairman Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Superintendent of Police (SP), in a statement, said yesterday’s enforcement followed several warnings to the riders to desist from operating on restricted routes particularly the highways and bridges.
Egbeyemi decried the increase in motorcyclists’ illegal activities, accusing them of constituting public nuisance around 2nd Rainbow towards mile 2 and Ijesha Bus-stop.
“While some of them harassed innocent members of the public at various bus-stops, others engaged in all sorts of criminal acts by dispossessing their passengers of valuables materials such as phone, jewelleries and bags,” he said.
Egbeyemi urged the riders to fish out the criminals among them and educate others to stop plying any of the restricted 375 routes which include highways and bridges.
The task force boss enjoined private powerbike (200cc above) owners, particularly corporate bodies, to warn their dispatched riders against illegal commercial activities.
He said anyone caught violating road traffic laws, would be prosecuted.
The seized motorcycles would be crushed and those arrested charged to court, Egbeyemi said.
Some of the Okada riders who spoke with The Nation described the task force and policemen’s actions as uncivilised.
“We do not have problem with those they arrested on restricted routes, but it is inhumane to continue harassing and arresting us on unrestricted routes. We are the one that made the law. The policemen should stop turning us to daily Automated Teller Machine (ATM). We are law abiding citizens,” said Segun Adio in Mushin.
Solomon Nathaniel said the government had no future plan for Okada riders, adding that they are suffering, following their ban in some areas and continuous harassment by the task force.
Nathaniel said he would remain in Okada riding business than venture into robbery.
“I know the dangers involved in Okada business, but I do not have an alternative. Government should provide job opportunities for youths if they want us to stop riding Okada,” Nathaniel said.
Ewebi Akinola said: ‘’I do not enjoy Okada riding but I do it to put food on my table.”
Ajayi Rasaq, who plies Baruwa in Ayobo, said the government had not touched his life in any way.
“I dislike this job but I have no other means of livelihood. As long as we did not ply the restricted routes, we should be given breathing space,” he said.
He urged Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to call the task force to order.