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A violent clash broke out around Grammar School in the Ojodu area of Lagos State on Tuesday when police officers enforcing a ban on motorcycles in the state clashed with some commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders.
An eyewitness who witnessed the clash on Tuesday morning, reported that some policemen from the Ojodu Divisional Headquarters used tear gas canisters to disperse the protesting riders.
It was learnt that a raid conducted by the policemen in the division led to a confrontation between some riders and law enforcement officers, leading to claims of injury to one of the officers.
It was also learnt that the patrol van used by the policemen was vandalised by the riders who reportedly revolted, which led to a clampdown on the commercial motorcyclists in the area.
Following the clash, road users were stranded, and residents were forced to stay indoors to avoid being caught in the middle of the violence.
A rider who spoke said, “The fight started yesterday (Monday) when some policemen took away some motorcycles in the Grammar School area. One of the riders inflicted an injury on one of the policemen. I believe this is why they came back in their numbers to clamp down on those who know nothing about it.”
Another rider, Adamu, claimed the officer sustained an injury to the neck, and the van carrying them (the police) was also attacked.
Adamu said, “They (the motorcycles) threw things at the police van. One of the policemen was stabbed in the neck.”
A resident who identified herself as Rasheedah said, “Some motorcyclists injured policemen after their Okadas were seized during a raid. And then the policemen came back in their numbers to retaliate. The policemen shot tear gas canisters to disperse some of the riders. I wanted to go out, but when everyone was running, I had to stay indoors.”
A senior police officer who did not want to be mentioned because he was not authorised to speak for the command confirmed the clash on Wednesday, even though he could not reveal the extent of the injury sustained by one of his colleagues.
The police officer said they were on a routine raid to enforce the ban placed on commercial motorcycles in the state when some riders revolted, causing them (policemen) to use tear gas canisters to prevent a breakdown of the law.
The policeman said, “I am not in a position to tell you the details of the raids that led to what happened yesterday (Tuesday). If you want to know more, go and meet the command’s spokesperson. But what you saw yesterday was that we carried out a raid on the Okada riders.
“However, in the process, they wanted to revolt. That is why you saw tear gas canisters fired to disperse them. And that settles it.”
When questioned about whether a police officer was injured, the senior officer directed our correspondent to the state Police Public Relations Officer for the details.
He simply said, “Go to the command if you want to get the details, because I will not tell you what happened to the police if you are not a policeman. I have a limit to what I can say.
“The issue is this: The government has banned Okada. And the police are the rightful people to enforce the law. If you live in this area, you will realise that it is no longer business as usual. You cannot see Okada and ask them to take you to Grammar School.
“We have started enforcement since Christmas, but we were fully enforcing it because of the festival. Things are different now. Since there’s a law against okada in Lagos, we will not tolerate it in Ojodu.”
Meanwhile, the command spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, neither picked his mobile phone nor responded to the text message sent to him for comment.
It was observed that since the ban on commercial motorcycles, the state has witnessed similar violent clashes between law enforcement and some riders in the past.
In December 2023, the state command, in a post on its official X handle, explained that some officers were attacked in Santos Avenue, Abule Egba, by some motorcyclists in a bid to stop them from enforcing the ban, while teargas was said to have been used to disperse the crowd and preserve their lives.
A similar act of violence was recorded in April 2023 when a policeman was reportedly killed and another sustained an injury along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos State.
The incident was believed to have happened around the Cele Bus Stop area of the expressway.
It was reported at the time Hundeyin wrote via his 2023 post that, “While enforcing the existing ban on the use of motorcycles in parts of Lagos State, police officers of Isolo Division came under attack from motorcycle riders at Cele bus stop, resulting in the death of one police inspector and serious injury to the Divisional Police Officer.”Follow us on social media