Peter Dada, Akure
Commercial motorcyclists in Akure the Ondo State capital on Wednesday took to the streets to protest the incessant extortion by men of the Ondo State Police Command.
They embarked on the protest following the accident caused by the policemen on patrol who allegedly attempted to forcefully collect money from the victims of the accident.
It was gathered that the crisis started when the policemen who were stationed very close to the office of the Special Anti Robbery Squad on Oda Road, Akure, caused a motorcyclist carrying two passengers to fall down and sustained injuries.
An eyewitness said, “As one of the policemen stopped the Okada rider for the usual extortion, the motorcyclist suddenly turned back to run away from the policemen, but he fell down with his two passengers.
“The three men sustained serious injuries. That was why the other motorcyclists in the area gathered to stage the protest.”
The eyewitness added that immediately the accident happened, the policemen fled the scene.
The protesters alleged that policemen attached to the Ala Police Station always stationed themselves on the road to extort money from them. They alleged that the policemen collected money ranging from N50 to N500.
The situation was, however, brought under control following the intervention of some senior police officers from the Command, led by Mr. Musibau Ajani, who promised to treat the wounded and repair the damaged motorcycle.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident and said that the matter would be investigated, adding that the command had attended to the medical needs of the wounded motorcyclist and the passengers.
He said, “When they commenced the protest, we appealed to them and we have commenced investigation into the matter. We have promised to take responsibility for the wounded persons.
“We have also taken a disciplinary action against the policeman that was alleged to have caused the accident.”
The PPRO appealed to the commercial motorcyclists to be calm. He assured them that the command would deal with any officer that engaged in any misconduct.