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Lagos Taskforce arrests 20 traffic robbers terrorising passengers, 40 others

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following a tip off on activities of traffic robbers disguising as commercial motorcyclists popularly called Okada riders, the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce) has arrested atleast 20 of the suspected criminals around Allen Avenue axis of the state.

Aside from the arrest and detention of the suspects, the law enforcement agency has also impounded atleast 60 of their motorcycles during the operation in the state.

The Taskforce, meanwhile, has arrested and detained 40 street traders and their wares for displaying their goods on restricted locations across the state.

It has also impounded 19 vehicles displayed by car dealers for sale on walkways at around Ladipo axis while 43 tricycles popularly called Keke Marwa, for plying restricted routes on the highways were also confiscated by the taskforce.

Speaking at the Agency headquarters, Safety Arena in Oshodi, the Taskforce Chairman, CSP Shola Jejeloye, on Sunday, said that the Agency had busted some miscreants numbering about 150 at Allen avenue using okada operations as guise to perpetuate their nefarious activities.

According to him, no fewer than 60 of their okada were impounded and about 20 of the suspect miscreants were arrested and detained for prosecution.

Jejeloye maintained that the agency had started the year on a good note, and it is evident that year 2022 in Lagos is not a safe haven for criminals and environmental law offenders in the State.

In a related development, operatives of the Agency arrested a 35 year old ex-convict, one Ismaila Salami who specializes in impounding commercial motorcycles, (okada) under the guise of being an official of the Agency.

The suspect was arrested at Oshodi on Thursday after he seized a bike from an unsuspecting commercial rider at Mushin and rode the bike down to Oshodi where he was accosted by Policemen attached to the Agency and questioned till he confessed to the crime.

He confessed to being an ex-convict who got into the business of swindling commercial riders right after he got out of the correctional centre.

He stated that this was his first time of operating alone as he has a gang of over five men who jointly go out on illegal patrols to impound Okada from their owners.

“we do not get paid by the Local Government. We just go out on illegal patrols round our axis to see who we can arrest and bully till he parts with some money before we release his bike. We usually charge between 3000 to 4000 Naira per bike”

He further stated that the bare mention of the word “Taskforce” makes the riders succumb when arrested and that they take advantage of that to collect money from them.

Items recovered from the suspect was an Identity Card with the inscription ‘Mushin Local Government, Taskforce Okada Board”

He will be charged to court while investigations are ongoing to ensure that all other criminal elements who go about tarnishing the image of the Agency are arrested and brought to book.

Jejeloye, however, enjoined the general public to furnish the Agency with details of any illegal activities going on around their area. He further said that the Agency will come out with full force to make the State unbearable for any criminal and violator of the State environmental laws this year.

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