25 arrested as ‘Okada’ men fight in court

by Adeola Balogun

The Federal High Court in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was the scene of a violent clash with some commercial motorcyclists aka “okada” being taken into custody for causing the fracas.

Police officers in the state arrested a total of 25 of the bike riders after the clash which reportedly left dozens of people injured.

The motorcyclists were within the court premises over a case filed by one of the members of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (ACOMORAN) claiming that he was illegally detained by a former chairman of the association.

Nigerian Eye reports:

The former Secretary of the association, Lateef Yekini filed the suit challenging his alleged detention sometime ago by the association’s Chairman, Alhaji Shamsudeen Apelogun.

However, shortly after the case was adjourned by the presiding judge to December 3, the association’s members began to fight at the court premises, leaving the state ACOMORAN Treasurer, Razaq Sotayo, critically injured.

An eyewitness revealed that the hoodlums freely used dangerous weapons, including guns and machetes, forcing many people in the area to scamper for safety.

It was gathered that the sporadic gunshots of the okada men attracted the attention of security agents from the military, Police, Department of State Services, DSS and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, who restored normalcy after some of the fighters were apprehended.

Confirming the incident, the state Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed that no fewer than 25 suspects had been arrested in connection with the fracas.

Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said normalcy had already been restored and that the suspects would face prosecution.

He said: “Currently, about 25 hoodlums were arrested and they are undergoing interrogation. They are going to be screened. Those who were not part of the fracas will be definitely released.

“But those who perpetrated the act are going to be prosecuted at the law court. Few people sustained injuries, but I cannot confirm their number at the moment.

“Our own concern is to bring the situation under control and make sure those who perpetrated the act are dealt with according to the law.”

Meantime, the Apelogun group had accused the former Secretary of inviting security agents into the matter.

Apelogun, who spoke with newsmen, absolved himself from the fracas, saying it was the former Secretary that mobilised armed hoodlums from Ibadan and some neighbouring towns to cause crisis.

He said: “The former secretary was facing criminal charge at the Magistrate’s Court over embezzlement. He later sued me for unlawful detention, even though I’m not a security agent.

“Today (yesterday), the presiding judge asked us to bring all our trustees to court.”


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