Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Umar Mamko has advised commercial motorcyclists commonly called okada riders to be grateful to Governor Babatunde Fashola for restricting their operations on major highways in the state. He said left to him, he would prefer a total ban.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS in his office at Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Monday, Manko said if he had his way, he would prefer a total ban on okada riders like it was done in some states in Nigeria.
He blamed okada riders for crimes like robbery and kidnapping, adding that since they were restricted on some roads in the state, crimes had dropped drastically.
“Okada riders were banned in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and some states, and heaven did not fall. They should appreciate Fashola that he restricted their operations and not total ban. Left to me, I prefer a total ban,” Mamko stated.
He advised okada riders to obey the law even though they have challenged their restriction in a court of law. He appealed to them to exercise restraint and allow the court to decide the matter.
On the allegation that some policemen were collecting N5,000 or N10,000 bribe for each okada seized, Manko defended his men, saying that okada riders should not have violated the law in the first place. He accused them of resorting to bribery allegations in order to blackmail policemen to release their seized motorcycles after being caught on the wrong side of the law. “It is when they are arrested that they resort to blackmail and unprovable allegations of bribery,” he stressed.
However, he said any policeman caught collecting bribe from okada riders will have himself to blame as he does not condone any act of bribery and corruption. “Any policeman caught receiving bribe does so at his own peril,” he declared.
The Lagos Police boss also commended the welfare programme of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, who instructed all police commissioners that their men must be paid their December salary early for them to enjoy the Christmas.
“Given the welfare policy of the IGP who instructed us at a briefing that we should pay salaries of policemen early enough to make them enjoy the Christmas, any policeman caught collecting bribe will have himself to blame,” he stated.
He said there was no waiver for policemen who took loan to buy motorcycles or acquire them on hire purchase to ease their transportation to and from their offices. “The law is not a respecter of persons. If I ride okada on a restricted road, I don’t expect the policeman on duty to respect my uniform. We policemen who enforce the law must also obey it,” he said.
He denied allegations of connivance with touts or agberos who extort money from bus drivers or okada riders, adding that the Lagos Traffic Law will be enforced in phases. He revealed that after the successful clampdown on okada riders, the police will map out strategy to contain motor park touts in the state.