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Taskforce arrests 85 traders, 130 Okada riders

By OLASUNKANMI AKONI & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO

IKEJA—As Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State is expected to sign the amended traffic bill as passed by the state House of Assembly into law today, the state Task-force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, yesterday, arrested no fewer than 85 suspected miscreants at different locations of the state in the ongoing frisking of criminal hideouts.

The combined team of task-force and the police also impounded 130 motorcycles popularly known as Okada for violation of traffic laws in a renewed onslaught against them.

However, there was a shocking revelation when a gun was recovered in one of the seized motorcycles by the Elere Police Station, Agege area. But the police refused to give the identity of the motorcyclist for security reasons, saying a manhunt had begun for the owner of the bike.

The miscreants, who were being detained pending trial in the magistrate court, were arrested in Ojota, Oshodi, Isolo, Ilasamaja and Cele areas in the past two days and brought to the task-force headquarters in Alausa in a Black Maria.

Those arrested included 14 under-aged children. They are expected to be taken to one of the state’s Correctional Centres.

Worried by the rising cases of armed robberies and violent attacks in the state, Chairman of the task-force, Bayo Sulaiman, while parading the suspected hoodlums, said they would be arraigned in court soonest while those found culpable would be punished according to the laws of the state.

He stated that the task-force had stepped up enforcement against street miscreants as they were mostly behind crimes, saying that “we don’t want them to come back to the main roads again. We are going to charge them to court, while the exercise will be continuous.”

Also, in the ongoing clampdown on erring okada riders, the task-force had impounded 130 motorcycles in about a week across the Lagos metropolis.

According to Sulaiman, okadas were not expected to ply the highways, ride against traffic and breach the laws of the state and that many of them were being used for criminal purposes.

He explained that while carrying out a routine search on one of the seized bikes, a pistol was recovered by the task-force and “we are going after the owner of the motorcycle as he might be an armed robber.”

In a renewed directive not to release seized goods from environmental offenders, the task-force has auctioned seized goods from traders who flouted environmental laws.

Items auctioned included; clothing, shoes, bicycles, among others while perishable goods are sent to various motherless and remand homes.

Armed police invades LASTMA yard, forcefully release contravened vehicle. Meantime, an unidentified armed police officer, yesterday, allegedly stormed the Iponri office of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, shooting sporadically and forcefully removing his impounded vehicle.

General Manager of the agency, Engr Babatunde Edu, confirmed that a red Mercedes Benz with registration number plate JV 23KJA was impounded at Oyingbo for parking on the Bus Rapid Transit BRT, dedicated lane, hereby violating the BRT traffic law.

According to Edu, the owner of the vehicle deliberately parked on the dedicated lane without recourse for the established law as it became an impediment for BRT buses to move on the lane and which led to the towing of the vehicle.

The Mercedes Benz was booked in accordance with Lagos state Traffic Management Regulation law. The unidentified suspect who latter traced the vehicle to the Iponri office of the agency  wore a cream top on his mobile police trousers on arrival and started shooting into the air indiscriminately to scare away the officers and the security men on duty and succeeded in taking away the vehicle from the yard.


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