Chaos as okada riders protest against alleged police killing of colleague in Oshodi
The serenity of a cool Saturday evening was shattered at the weekend in Apapa area of Lagos State, when a female officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Arogundade Remilekun, whose station base was Apapa Zone 36, was crushed to death by a trailer at about 4:30p.m.
It was gathered that the officer was at the back of the truck when the trailer started to reverse unknown to her, crushing her to death instantly.
Spokesperson of LASTMA, Mamud Hassan, confirmed the tragedy, saying the officer was controlling traffic when the trailer reversed and crushed her. According to him, the driver of the trailer fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle, which had been impounded by the police.
Hassan disclosed that the deceased was survived by her two-year old daughter, a husband who worked in one of the local government councils in the state and a grandmother. He added that the body of the victim had been deposited at the Lagos Island General Hospital morgue.
Hassan quoted the LASTMA General Manager, Olawale Musa as saying that the authority would not be deterred in carrying out its assigned duties. While commiserating with the deceased, Musa appealed to tankers to re-certify their vehicles before putting them on the road to avert tragedies.
LASTMA officers have been object of attacks and killings in recent times. In 2016, the Zonal Head of LASTMA, Apapa, identified as Bakare, was beaten to death by suspected okada riders in Apapa. Bakare was killed while enforcing the road traffic law, which banned okada riders from plying 475 major roads in Lagos.
In 2018, an operative of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) shot dead a LASTMA officer at Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos during an altercation. The FSARS officer, identified as Inspector Olakunle Olonade, was involved in a fight with the LASTMA official, identified as Rotimi Adeyemo, when the latter stopped him for violating a traffic law on November 28, 2018. The plain-clothed officer fetched a gun in his vehicle and gunned down Adeyemo after they disagreed on why he was stopped.
Meanwhile, an Okada rider was last week allegedly murdered by a policeman attached to Makinde police station during a night raid in Mafoluku, Oshodi. The death of the motorcyclist, identified as Abubakar, a.k.a. Zaki, occurred at about 9:30p.m. on Thursday when the police officer, simply named Tunde, arrested the deceased. Zaki, who was in his mid 40s, from Kebbi State, was married to two wives and has 10 children.
According to a cleric in the mosque, Aranse-Oluwa central mosque, where the deceased resides and worships, the policeman stopped the deceased requesting he pay N3,000, which he pleaded with the team of policemen to accept his widow’s might of N1,000. In a fit of rage, Tunde who was mounting another bike allegedly hit him when Zaki was trying to escape with his bike, which led to his death. Zaki, who hit his head against a nearby drainage, was rejected by five hospitals in Mafoluku that night before he died.
In solidarity, the deceased colleagues, mainly Hausa riders, led a protest march on Makinde police station on Friday, which turned into a violent clash, as the protesters pelted the station and some policemen with stones and planks. It took the reinforcement of two armored tanks, mobile policemen and men of RRS to bring the situation under control after tear gas canisters were released on the area.