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The Ipaja police station's gate

28.05.2024 Featured ‘Bottled-Up Anger’: Why Okada Riders Attacked Lagos Police Station

Published 28th May, 2024

By Sodeeq Atanda

When armed okada riders stormed a police station in the Ipaja area of Lagos State on Monday in protest, police officers responded with gunshots.

From interviews with multiple sources who witnessed the violence on Tuesday, FIJ has gathered that one of the two persons who were severely injured during the attack has died.

According to the sources, the violence followed the confiscation of a motorcycle belonging to one of the riders by police officers, who asked him to pay over N50,000 to get it back.

READ ALSO: REPORTER’S DIARY: Pedestrian Bridge or Public Toilet? My Experience on Iyana-Ipaja Road

“Police officers always think they can never be wrong,” said a boy, whose name is withheld, in the area. “How will you seize someone’s motorcycle and demand that amount before releasing it? People are not happy, and you are making life more difficult for them. That’s wickedness.”

The police station's gate
Photo Credit: Sodeeq Atanda/FIJ
The police station’s gate
Photo Credit: Sodeeq Atanda/FIJ

Corroborating the boy’s account, an okada rider, who did not mention his name, stated that it had been a tough relationship between the police and riders, resulting in bottled-up anger.

“You can stop by the roadside to pick up a passenger and a police officer will just come and be dragging your bike with you. Even without any known offence. Unless you are able to pay money on the spot or go to the station to negotiate a lesser payment, you may lose your bike forever,” said the motorcycle rider.

“I heard that they seized his motorcycle and demanded some money, which he could not afford. So, what happened yesterday was evidence of the anger we are having against the police.”

The sources also mentioned that the police had taken a motorcycle from the same rider as he could not get the money requested. Because of these persistent confiscations, the rider, who is said to be from the north, reportedly mobilised his tribesmen to the station.

FIJ was told that some of them held stones and other items while proceeding to the station yesterday morning.

While the police did not explicitly state whether a motorcycle was seized, an official account of the incident by Benjamin Hundeyin, the Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, on Monday was that the police were enforcing an existing state order prohibiting the operation of okada riders in some parts of Lagos State when the riders attacked the station.

READ ALSO: Pandemonium at Iyana Ipaja as Policeman Kills Tricycle Rider

Hundeyin has neither answered phone calls put through his line nor responded to a WhatsApp chat sent to him.

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Published 28th May, 2024

By Sodeeq Atanda

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