A nursing mother and her son were injured in an accident caused by attempt by a policeman to extort N100 from a commercial motorcyclist, Okadaman, in Ondo town, Ondo State.
Eyewitness account said trouble started when a team of anti-crime police officers attached to one of the police stations in the town allegedly mounted a road block in one of the major roads.
Vanguard learned that one of the officers, in an attempt to stop the Okada rider, pulled down the boy and mother, while the motorcycle was in motion. Mother and child were rushed to the hospital, while commercial motorcycle operators staged a peaceful protest to show their displeasure over alleged incessant extortion by policemen in the town. Vanguard gathered that the protest, which started at about 9:30a.m. was led by leaders of the association. They reportedly protested to all the three divisional police stations in the town. Spokesman of Okadamen, Timilehon Akinrolabu, condemned the attitude of the policemen, who he said were in the habit of extortion at illegal road block in strategic locations in the town. He said:
“We decided to embark on the peaceful protest to tell the police that we are tired with the way they extort money from our members. “This is common when the month is about to end as they would be looking for their monthly contributions, at times they usually used their patrol vehicles to raid our parks and arrest our members over flimsy excuses.”
However, the state police command has, however, denied the allegation of extortion by its officers. A top police officer in Ondo town said that Okada riders who were arrested had no identification numbers on the motorcycles. Speaking in confidence, the officer added that the directive was to guide against crime in the state.
“The police in this town are not enforcing the law at all; they are extorting money from our members, demanding N100 and N50. “Another aspect of the story is that when the Okadamen get go their stations, each have to cough out between N1,500 and N2,000 for bail.”
He explained that they were at the police stations to show their displeasure over the development, just as he called on the relevant authorities to intervene.