Since the removal of the Nigerian Police Force from mounting roadblocks, there is a twist to how issues had unfolded. We have been able to see how desperate our officers are for the juicy drops from the purse of private car owners and the commercial vehicles. As a private car owner, your phobia of the police for driving will be at the insufficiency of your papers, which is almost a norm while commercial bus drivers just need the commercial transportation colour of the state to drive around with or without documentations. Vehicle Inspection Officers are finding relevance again after their arch-rivals are gone into their booth.

The situation of our country calls for caution at all times, you cannot drive in the dead of the night for the fear of those who had not sent you on an errand but call for details. The hoodlums could attack anywhere and at anytime. At this moment, we are returning to a state wherein armed robbers are taking over the streets. The interesting part of it is the use of a motorcycle popularly called okada. Few weeks ago, people have started complaining about the ban of okada on Lagos roads but it is something that is very necessary. The genesis of okada was when Nigerians were getting averted to artisanship and vocational training.

The fastest thing that can fetch quick money was riding an okada, no matter how small; it would generate some money at the close of each day. The trend grew into large businesses that people started buying okada for others to ride. Today, thousands of people across all tribes depend largely on okada. When the menace of okada became what could no longer be tolerated in Abuja, they were sent packing and it seemed they found Lagos as the best place to continue business. The entire Island and Ikeja, in Lagos is flooded by okada.

Due to the joblessness of the Police on the road, okada parks, tricycle (marwa) parks are now the point of taxation. They sneak into those parks and extort the riders and drivers. Police no more wear uniform, you see them hanging around in mufti with their arms. This is the scariest part: at daybreak, they would be in front of their station in native attire and their guns on them; one is forced to ask how would one ascertain their identity? In the afternoon, with their rifles and in mufti, they are at a local bar (Iya Alagbo) consuming locally brewed alcohol (paraga). At night, they are still hovering around in the same manner. They ride either seized okada around or personal okada still without their uniform but just a bulletproof with the inscription “police”. Is it just the bulletproof that identifies a policeman?

RRS in Lagos transverse the city but despite this effort, hoodlums also move swiftly with the use of okada. The havoc wreaked on people’s psyche is running Lagos back into those gone era when people cannot sleep with their two eyes. People have started identifying hot spots for criminal activities and attacks via okada. At the moment, the arms which are used to attack people are quite sophisticated. Where did they get these arms?

Do we assume that our nation will continually be infested by different myriads of criminality? Does it mean that the more we try to move towards what happens in sane countries, the more we keep getting entangled in knotty circumstances? Where are the CCTV purchased by Lagos State Government in recent past? Where the report of exploits made by the CCTV? Where are those monitoring them?

These questions beg for answers.
The Inspector General of Police has a lot of assignments before him. If police officers are sent off the road and they remain hungry, commoners are suffering for it in a big way. The challenge thrown into the Ministry of Defence is that, they must tell us why other uniform groups in Nigeria do not behave like the Nigerian Police. The Police is really a nightmare to the citizens of Nigeria. If we have to stop armed robbery do we have to bring in the Nigerian army? Let the Executive look into the solution of having a nation free from robbery even at this time when police officers are no more on the road.

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
1 Comment
  1. Nice points but 'get rich quick syndrome' gave birth to several things not just loads riding.

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