The Ogun State Police Command has slammed the alleged action of policemen from the Isheri Police Division, Lagos State, who were accused of enforcing the Okada ban of Lagos in Ogun territory.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State, Abimbola Oyeyemi, described the action as illegal, warning that officers caught would face the law.
He said, “If any officer is caught arresting motorcyclists under Ogun State, he will face the music because that will amount to illegal duty. You cannot come from a different state to come and arrest in another state without prior notice to the police command in that state. I believe if the Ogun State DPO, who is close to that place gets any of them, I know he is going to do the needful.”
The Lagos State Government banned the movement of Okada in some parts of the state.
However, some policemen were reported to have gone outside the state to seize bikes while claiming to be enforcing the ban.
PUNCH Metro specifically reported how policemen from the Isheri division arrested a motorcycle operator, Adekunle Kristisanwo, and seized his motorcycle at New Garage, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Monday, December 5, 2022.
Kristisanwo, a pastor, said he was detained at the station and made to sleep in a cell until N20,000 was paid for his bail.
He identified the cops behind the illegal arrest and extortion as Inspector Patrick Stephen and one Inspector Mercy, respectively.
The complainant, while speaking to our correspondent on Monday, alleged that the Isheri Divisional Police Officer, CSP Amuda Abolaji, boasted that no one could tell him where to arrest and where not to.
He said, “My lawyer wrote a letter to the DPO, explaining how I was illegally arrested and detained. When I went there last Monday (January 16) to deliver the letter, the DPO said nobody could tell him where to impound bikes and where not to and whoever wanted to come and tell him that he went beyond his boundary should bring a map and argue it out. I did not reply him because he was talking aggressively.”
Motorcycle riders at New Garage said policemen from Isheri usually arrested them and charged between N40,000 and N70,000 for every seized motorcycle.
Leaders of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria in the community told PUNCH Metro that they had made several complaints to the Isheri DPO, but he refused to call his men to order.
During a visit to the community on Monday, our correspondent observed that New Garage is quite a distance away from Lagos State.
Our reporter also saw a signboard with the inscription, ‘You are within the territory of Ifo Local Government Ogun State,’ around the location.
A motorcycle rider, Razak Olabayo, said Isheri policemen invaded the location again after Kristisanwo’s case was reported.
He said, “They usually come around in mini-buses. They came on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, and seized two motorcycles. By the time they returned the following day (Thursday), we stood our ground and resisted them. Despite that, they still came yesterday (Sunday) and seized a motorcycle. They asked the rider to bring N30,000. I was called to intervene before the money was reduced to that amount.”
An executive member of ACOMORAN, Olatunji Ayodele, said the officers had not stopped the illegal operation.
He said, “This park has been in operation for a very long time until policemen from Isheri started disturbing us last year. We are law abiding citizens; we decided to make a living from riding motorcycles but these officers have denied us peace of mind. We now work with fear. We have proved to them various times that this unit is under Ogun State and they also know this, but when they are in need of money; they come here, arrest us and collect all our proceeds.”
Another executive member of the union, Moses Adefaye, said the association had started defending its members.
He said, “They are always very fast in their operation and by the time we get to the scene, they will have left.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, had yet to respond to enquiries from our correspondent on the matter.
The Isheri Police Division has been accused of extortion in recent times.
On July 5, 2022, our correspondent reported how a group of policemen from the division were caught in an extortion scheme involving the use of the traffic light in the community.
On July 19, 2022, it was also reported that transport union workers lamented being extorted by policemen from the division.