Hundreds of commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as ‘Okada,’ on Thursday marched through the streets of Ikorodu, Lagos State, protesting against incessant arrest, extortion and seizure of their motorcycles by the police.
Newsmen report that the protesters, who carried placards and chanted various solidarity songs to show their displeasure, also marched to Ayangburen’s palace and Igbogbo police barracks.
Among inscriptions on their placards were: “We are not thieves”, “Police knows thieves” and “We use this bike to feed ourselves and our families” among others.
The spokesman for the protesters, Mr Tunde Muftau, said that police in Ikorodu had been raiding Okada since Wednesday, saying that many commercial motorcycles had been seized during the clampdown.
“Lagos State Government has banned us from going to the express road to work, so most of our members don’t work there anymore.
“Among us are some who have lost their jobs, we use this motorcycle business to sustain ourselves.
“Government should please listen to our plight and let us work according to their directive,” Muftau said.
One of the motorcyclists, Mr Saheed Ikole, appealed to the state government to allow them work, adding that it would reduce idleness and unemployment.
“The motorcycle business has helped a lot of people to put food on the table for their families,” Ikole said.
Another cyclist, Mr Kehinde Ewenla, said that Ikorodu was not among the local government areas where commercial motorcycles were banned.
“We are enjoying our work until yesterday when police started arresting us and seizing our bikes.
“Ikorodu is not listed among the local government areas where bikes were restricted, I think the police were just doing anything they like,” he said.