Many persons have been reportedly injured and about 15 vehicles damaged on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 as commercial motorcyclists popularly known are Okada riders went on a deadly rampage in the Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos State.
The rampage as learnt, was in protest against the arrest of some of their colleagues by policemen from the Maroko division who reportedly acted on the directive of the residents’ association to stop the operation of the motorcyclists in the highbrow area.
A security officer in the estate, who was reportedly attacked, lost consciousness.
According to Punch, some of the protesting Okada riders wielded cutlasses and held residents hostage.
They were also said to have barricaded the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge for more than one hour and scared off police officials in the estate.
An unidentified resident explained that the riders were banned from operating in the estate about a year ago, but the general elections prevented the police from enforcing the ban.
He said, “Before now, the Lekki Phase 1 Residents’ Association placed a ban on the activities of commercial motorcyclists in the estate. We had been fighting them for about a year, but every day, they grew bolder and increased in number.
“During the general elections period, they became friends with the politicians and it became difficult to stop them from operating.
“Later, the residents had a meeting with policemen from the Maroko division to assist in flushing out the motorcyclists.
“This morning, the policemen started arresting the okada riders. The motorcyclists then mobilised and returned to wreak havoc on the estate.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the victims who sustained some injuries during the fracas said it was a “traumatic experience” that he would never forget.
He said, “They left the police who were arresting them and started attacking residents. They cannot be less than 50. They came to the residents’ association’s secretariat and chased away the policemen that were there and started breaking into offices in the estate.
“I was in one of the offices, we were about three in number, and we had to lie down. They broke the windows. God saved us.
“One of us was seriously injured, while I had bruises. The motorcyclists entered into the estate and started vandalising vehicles. My vehicle was also affected. I fled the place in panic.”
He further explained that the ban on the commercial motorcyclists was in a bod to maintain a more secured and peaceful environment.
It was also learnt from the chairman of the Lekki Phase 1 Residents’ Association, Mr. Obiora Agbu, that some auditors working with them were injured during the encounter.
He said, “Some auditors working in our office were injured. One of our security men was left unconscious and had to be rushed to the hospital. They vandalised no fewer than 15 vehicles in the estate.
“They barricaded Admiralty Way. There was no free flow of traffic for about one hour. They blocked the bridge. It was really terrible.”
Confirming the ‘unfortunate’ incident, the state police spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu said, What the residents say they want is in line with keeping their neighbourhood safe. If you identify the cause of crime in your area and you want to stop it, I don’t understand why anyone should be crying more than the bereaved. There are places in Lagos where okada riders are not allowed to operate at all and nobody is complaining.
“This morning, the motorcyclists attempted to breach the public peace and we advised them against it. Those who refused and went ahead to foment trouble were arrested by our men. We have restored sanity to the area and everyone has started going about their lawful duties.”