by Oge Okonkwo
Activities at Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja were yesterday halted by commercial motorcycle popularly known as ‘okada’ mechanics protesting police arrest and impoundment of no fewer than 1,000 motorcycles from their workshops.
According to the mechanics, they claimed the policemen while enforcing the Road Traffic Law 2012, storm workshops where motorcycles were being repaired and impound them.
The protesters under the body of Federal Motorcycle and Generator Mechanical Association of Nigeria (FEDMGMAN), stormed the Governor’s Office at about 4pm chanting anti-government songs to express their displeasure over the action of the law enforcement officers in the state.
The mechanics claimed the policemen, while enforcing the Road Traffic Law 2012, would storm workshops where motorcycles were being repaired and impound any okada they see.
The state government enacted the Road Traffic Law 2012, aimed at returning sanity to roads in the state.
The protesters, under the aegis of Federal Motorcycle and Generator Mechanical Association of Nigeria, FEDMGMAN, stormed the Governor’s Office at about 4:00 pm, chanting several anti-government songs to express their displeasure over the action of the law enforcement officers in the state.
The artisans displaying placards with inscriptions such as “Enough of police harassment”; “Police leave us alone”, “we are doing our legitimate business”; “repairing okada is our legitimate source of income” among others.”
The protesters in a letter to state governor Babatunde Fashola, signed by the National President of FEDMGMAN, Ganiyu Jimoh, said “following the ban on okada in Lagos, officers of the Nigerian Police, Lagos State Command have been arresting my members and impound any okada found within their workshops.
“We understand that okada riders are banned from plying some specific roads in Lagos but certain roads were exempted by the law. Okadas plying these exempted roads go through wear and tear, hence they need repair. When these Okadas are brought to our workshops for repair, policemen come to the workshop and impound any okada found within the premises.”
Secretary of FEDMGMAN, Jimoh Sulaymon said they embarked on the protest to expose the illicit act of the policemen, saying “we are tired of daily arrest and impoundment. Many of our members are today indebted because of this illicit act of the law enforcement officers.”
The solicitor to FEDMGMAN, Mr. Segun Ayodele, lamented that several motorcycles had been impounded by Policemen in workshops under the pretence that they were enforcing the road traffic law 2012.
Speaking to the protesters, Superintendent Wale Ajao, who addressed the protesters, urged them to come back in another fortnight to meet with the governor.