‘We’re Tired of Working for Them,’ Motorcycle Rider Laments Extortion From Festac Police

A motorcyclist (name withheld) has spoken out about his daily struggles with officers from FESTAC Police Station, who regularly extort motorcycle riders working in Iba, Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos....READ FULL ARTICLE

The motorcyclist told FIJ that he and his colleagues were tired of paying the police and the workers of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) on the road more than once a day.

Describing the manner and frequency at which the police take money from him and his colleagues, he said they would come before 10 am and collect N1,000 from every motorcycle rider.

“In the afternoon, they return and collect N500 from everyone. Then they leave and return in the evening and collect N500 from everyone, making it N2,000 every day. They do not mark our motorcycles, but they recognise the faces of all of us, such that one cannot avoid paying them,” Sanusi said.

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He further said that failing to pay these police officers, who are usually stationed in Iba, would infuriate them and spur them into confiscating motorcycles as though the owners had committed a crime.

According to Sanusi, once the police officers confiscate a motorcycle, the owner will have to pay N40,000 to retrieve it from the officers, who will level false allegations against the owner.

“Every week, we pay them more than N10,000. We also have to pay the area boys of the road. Usually, I pay N500 from my first trip to the police and N300 to the area boys. This means I work for them. But I have to continue. And we all need help here,” he said.

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A student of Lagos State University who spoke to FIJ said he had seen police extort motorcycle riders in the area.

He said that he had seen the police, on several occasions, stop motorcycle riders after the military barracks in Iba to collect money from them.

This is not the first time people have accused officers from the FESTAC Police Station of being high-handed and corrupt. FIJ published a report in 2021 about how young men who had been extorted by officers from this station described them as the worst of all evil.

In a grimmer vein, calls for the overhaul of the FESTAC police have been ongoing since as far back as 2017 on the grounds of extortion, but this issue seems to be taking on a new form and thriving.

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When FIJ spoke to Benjamin Hundeyin, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, he said the passenger, motorcycle rider and police were all guilty because the Lagos State Government had banned motorcycles in Lagos State.

He added that he would take proactive measures to prevent a recurrence of such an issue and that whoever wanted to complain could reach out to the Lagos Police Command Complaint Response Unit (CRU).

The ban mentioned by Hundeyin is active in 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 15 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), of which Ojo, the LGA Iba is in, is not part.…READ FULL ARTICLE

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