7th Avenue festac town was under siege and raid based on intelligence by the Police command yesterday at about 12 midnight . Policemen were said to have raided okada riders and no fewer than 100 motorcycles were impounded.
Also it was reported that during this raid , 2 people were killed , an okada rider,Emmanuel Omofule, said to be from Calabar, Cross River State was shot dead as it turned into violence and Audu Michika from Adamawa State. Some policemen were injured as from bottles and stones hurled at them.
Punch Metro reported that the operation was led by policemen attached to the state task force, the Rapid Response Squad, the FESTAC, Satellite Town and Trade Fair police divisions in a joint movement.
When the raid was carried out , some of the Okada riders were sleeping and their motorcycles parked by the roadside were seized. In reaction to this resistance was put up by the okada riders.
Mr omofule was killed when fire was released to disperse the increasing violence he was shot in the head while Michika was hit by bullet in the leg. They both died later at a private hospital.
According to Punch Metro,
A security guard, who gave his name simply as Abdullahi, said the policemen opened fire on the okada riders after seizing their motorcycles, adding that the motorcyclists had hurled pebbles at the policemen raiding them at night, when they were not working.
He said, “It was at about 12am. Most of the shops were locked, and many people were sleeping under sheds and open place. The policemen just invaded the area, and they started packing motorcycles into their trucks.
“The commotion woke up the sleeping okada riders and they tried to stop the policemen from going away with their means of livelihood. That was how the violence started. The riders threw stones at the police vans. The policemen replied with gunshots. Emma (Omofule) was hit in the head by a bullet. We tried to rush him to a hospital, but because the police were arresting the okada riders, we could not move out of the area.
“What actually angered the motorcyclists was that the policemen came to harass them at night, when they were not operating on the roads. It is true that some of the policemen were also injured, but none of them died.”
A resident, who gave his name as Chukwuka, however, said the motorcyclists were notorious for robbery and road accidents in the area, adding that they killed a policeman in Alakija a few weeks back.
He said, “That area is very notorious and people’s lives are not safe because of the incidence of robbers operating on okadas. I think it is best that they should be cleared off the area. “The okada riders already got a leak that the police would be in the area. So, when operatives burst them, the hoodlums were fully prepared for a reprisal. “They also used guns, so the victim could have also been killed by the riders.”
A resident of the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Eagleonline, said the motorcyclists had constituted nuisance at Festac. He said:
“We don’t want them. Police should send them away. Most of these motorcycle riders were mostly from Adamawa, Borno and other parts of the North. On a slight provocation, they would bring out knife and threaten to kill whoever that has an issue with them.
“Recently, one of the motorcyclists killed a policeman and took his rifle away at Alakija area. The policeman wanted to impound his motorcycle. I saw the heavy presence of policemen in Festac raiding the motorcyclists and I felt relieved.”
But , Ibrahim Abubakar,one of the motorcyclists said the police had impounded several motorcycles.He said:
“We were sleeping outside the entrance of an estate on 7th Avenue, when the policemen came and rounded us up.“We all ran to Lagos State because of the Boko Haram crisis ravaging our states. Some of us have lost our family members to the war. We believe the place where they would accommodate us is Lagos. The state government should allow us to ply the inner routes we are already plying.
Another rider, who simply identified himself as Gabriel, said:
“We are helpless. We were sleeping when the policemen came to arrest us.”
When contacted by Eaglesonline, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Patricia Amadin, said motorcycles were impounded while 25 persons were
She said: “The report of the motorcyclists operating without registration number in the area got to the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who ordered a clamp down on them, after given them warning.
“When policemen went to impound motorcycles, the cyclists attacked them. They threw bottles and stones at our officers. Some of them sustained injuries in the process. “The command has commenced an operation to restrict okada riders. We discover that many of them operate without registration numbers, and use the opportunity to rob. The riders gathered and launched a reprisal on the policemen. We have arrested 20 suspects and 72 motorcycles were impounded.”