Okada riders on the rampage in Lagos •BRT buses destroyed, passengers stranded, injured
THERE was confusion on Monday morning in many parts of Lagos State as angry commercial motorcyclists protested against the confiscation of their motorcycles by officials of the state government and men of the Nigeria Police.
About five buses in the fleet of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme were destroyed with many passengers of the bus injured during the confusion that followed the attacks on the buses.
Unconfirmed reports have it that the police in the state have arrested many of the protesters but the Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State command, Ngozi Braide, denied knowledge of the arrests.
The attack on the Lagos State government buses created panic among school children and workers who were going to school and their places of work. This consequently caused traffic gridlocks in many parts of the state.
At about 9.00 a.m., hoodlums suspected to be from Mushin, Onipanu and Somolu areas of the state had reportedly attacked fully loaded BRT buses around Olosha area of Mushin, Ojuelegba, Onipanu and Fadeyi.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the angry hoodlums attacked three BRT buses between Onipanu Bus Stop and Aladiye Bus Stop on the ever-busy Ikorodu road, smashing the buses with stones, sticks and other objects.
It was also gathered that the hoodlums, mainly from Mushin and Somolu, attacked a BRT bus around Ojuelegba, where passengers were forced to scramble out of the bus for safety.
Text messages on the attacks on BRT buses instantly spread to many parts of the state as friends and relatives sent messages to their loved ones to stay away from BRT buses.
One of the leaders of Association of Commercial Motorcycle Operators of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Jude Samuel, lamented that the action of the state government was making life difficult for riders as they continue to lose their bikes to law enforcement agents.
At Idumota, there was a clash between the riders and law enforcement agents patrolling the area.
The protesting riders attacked the police by throwing stones, bottles and other objects at the police.
Some of the riders who spoke with Nigerian Tribune stated that they were forced into riding motorcycles due to unemployment in the country.
Braide confirmed the attacks on BRT but described it as “minor smashing" of the buses and added that the police swiftly moved to the affected areas and brought the situation under control.
She also said that divisional police officers in the affected areas had been directed to speak with leaders of okada unions in their areas to call their members to order.
Meanwhile, the clampdown on okada in Lagos is having a devastating effect on residents of the state as many of them were stranded on Monday at bus stops all over the state.
Passengers also had to pay through their nose as drivers cashed in on the ban on okada on major roads in the state to increase their fares by over 200per cent.
Many of the residents appealed to the Lagos State government to reconsider its stance on the operation of motorcycles in the state, as “almost all the lower class populace will be affected if the ban on okada stays.”
The ban, as expressed by some of them, will cause them untold hardship, while movement from one place to another would be hard.
A resident of Iyana Iba, who simply identified himself as Raymond, while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, described the ban on okada operations in many parts of the state as “harsh.”
He called on the state governor to consider millions of people who did not use okada on the major roads, but relied on motorcycles for moving from one place to another outside the expressways.Share
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