By Ndahi Marama
No fewer than two people, suspected to be okada riders, lost their lives with one seriously injured yesterday in a gun battle between the members of the Joint Operation Flush, which comprised the Police and Military, and members of the Achaba Riders, popularly known asÂ Okada, in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State.
The clash, according to Vanguard investigation, was as a result of the enforcement of the use of crash helmets on all Okada riders. It will be recalled that the enforcement of the use of crash helmets was introduced in the country in January, following the Federal Governmentâ€™s directives.
Therefore, some parts of the country, including Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, had strictly complied with the law, but some local government areas of the state have not welcomed the idea which left many Achaba riders in these areas operating without using helmets.
Apparently disturbed by the situation, Vanguard investigation reveals, the Borno State government, two weeks ago, issued an ultimatum to all the okada riders in Biu to start using helmets. It expired yesterday while defaulters will face severe punishment by relevant authorities.
Likewise,Â members of the Operation Flush on their routine activities to fight crime to a stand-still in the state, aggressively launched their operation in the council area, yesterday, at about 9 a.m., a situation that led to the retaliation from the aggrieved members of the okada riders, which left two dead and many injured.
Economic activities in the area were paralysed asÂ banks, markets and public offices remained closed.
In an interview with one of the Achaba Riders, Mallam Shuaibu Musa Bwala he stated that, it is good that the federal government introduced the use of crash helmets, but the way and manner some of the law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of it is not fair.
â€œLook, we in Biu are now suffering of Cholera out break which has claimed over 300 lives, without the state Government doing anything about it.
â€œAt this material time, we are struggling to make ends meet, and to see if at the end of the dayâ€™s business we can gather a little amount of money to cater for our beloved ones admitted at the Cholera camp, but the state governor Ali Modu Sheriff will just wake up from nowhere to say that we should be dealt with by his so called Operation Flush Guys, which he is using for his political ambition.
This is unacceptableâ€ he stated.Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, a telephone call put to the new state Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Abdu through his PPRO, ASP Isa Azare, said that they were not in Maiduguri, as he (the CP) and his entourage were at one of the Northern Local Government areas of the state on a familiarization tour of the Divisions under his command.
But investigation has shown that the situation has now been brought under control as many people are going about their normal businesses.