Hundreds of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders went on rampage in Surulere/Mushin, Lagos State, on Tuesday, as the enforcement on Okada entered Day 7 in the state.
Despite the rampage, several commercial motorcycles were successfully impounded at about 9am, at Ojuelegba Road down to Idi-Araba area, a boundary between Mushin and Surulere in Lagos.
Eyewitnesses’ accounts said nobody died during the incident but some persons sustained minor injuries in the cause of scampering for safety. A plantain seller in the area, Mama Ibrahim, said the vicinity was calm before the incident though some riders were battled ready in case the enforcement was extended to the area.
“Unfortunately for them, the enforcement took them by surprise as the team came prepared and hundreds of commercial motorcycles were impounded.
“Before the arrival of the enforcement team, some of us told the riders to suspend their activities for a while but they boasted that nothing will happen.
“They tried to attack the enforcement team but things didn’t work out as planned and many of them abandoned their bikes and took to their heels.
“After the exit of the enforcement team, the riders angrily returned to the scene, barricaded the road, made fire and attacked people in reprisal thereby causing chaos in the area.
“This caused apprehension which paralysed commercial and vehicular movement for hours. ” She said.
A trader at Idi-Araba, Alhaji Musa Usman, said the crisis lasted for about three hours as people ran helter-skelter while residents locked themselves inside in apprehension.
“Transporters in the area hurriedly called it a day to avoid being caught up in the incident,” he said.
Alhaji Musa said he escaped the scene by jumping the wall of a building. “In fact, I abandoned my wares and ran for safety. It is when I am alive that I can think of any other thing.” Said the trader.
Recounting what transpired in the area, Sade Odejobi who was to visit a patient at Lagos University Teaching Hospital LUTH, said she ran out of the scene in fear saying, “Ha! Okada riders went on rampage today and Ojuelegba Road to LUTH was deserted after the fight. Infact, I have suspended my visit to a patient. I was approaching the hospital gate when people started running and I joined them. I have returned home safely and the visit has been suspended.” She said.
As at the time of filing this report, security operatives were at strategic areas and normalcy had returned but it could not be ascertained if arrests were made.
Reacting to the incident on his Twitter handle, the Spokesperson, Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said, “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. @rrslagos767 and men from the Area Command have since been drafted there. Absolutely nothing to worry about.” He said.
The PPRO did not mention the number of the impounded bikes or whether arrests were made.
It will be recalled that the state government commenced enforcement on ban of commercial motorcycles in six local governments and their councils on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 following the death of a sound engineer, David Imoh, who was killed in an attack in the Lekki area of Lagos on May 12, 2022.
The six local governments are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Apapa, and Surulere.
Despite the ban, Okada riders have been operating freely in some of the prohibited routes.
Over 2,000 impounded motorcycles were grounded by the state government in Ikeja, on Friday, June 3, 2022.