Motorcycle riders, otherwise called Okada riders, numbering over 500, at Oghara headquarters of Ethiope West Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State took to the streets and major roads of Oghara this weekend. They were protesting extortion by men of the Oghara police station.
During the protest, which paralysed social and economic activities at Oghara main town, the leader of the protesting Okada riders, Mr. Friday Oyibu, spoke to SaharaReporters about his accusations of the Nigerian policemen extorting members of the motor cycle association about N250, 000 everyday.
“On daily basis, the police from Oghara station will seize our motorcycles and take them to the station for just no cause. Whether your particulars are correct or not the policemen will extort from us N5,000, N10, 000 and N15, 000 as the case may be before our motorcycles are released to us.”
“Everyday, this is what we go through here in Oghara at the hands of this policemen. This has been going on for the past three months with the knowledge of the DPO, SP Ugochukwu Ezeijiofor. And whenever we complained to him he will promise to address the problem and till now nothing is been done and this extortion continue to go on.”
“So, today we have decided to protest against the police because enough is enough and this extortion must stop,” Oyibu warned.
Another Okada rider who identified himself as Kevwe, disclosed that each day in the community over fifteen motor cycles are arrested and taken to the police station where N20, 000 each will be extorted from them before their motorcycles are released.
Kevwe lamented, “We are tired of this whole extortion by the police in Oghara hence we are coming out to cry to the public to see and hear what we pass through on daily basis. There is no job for us, Okada business is our only source of livelihoods and the police won’t allow us rest because of their daily arrest of our members and extortion.”
The protesters called on the State Commissioner of Police and the Inspector General of Police to address this matter of urgency and importance by calling their men to order. If not, they protesters will be left with no other option than to take the law into their hands if extortion continues.
While chanting war songs, the protesters barricaded several entrances to the community and thereby caused a serious gridlock.
At the time of this filing this report, when the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Oghara police station, SP Ugochukwu Ezeijiofor, was contacted at his office, our reporter was denied access. However, a policeman there confirmed that those protesting on behalf of the Okada riders made way to the station where the DPO assured them he would address the issue.