•  8 arrested, 53 vehicles impounded

By Christopher Oji

There was pandemonium yesterday in Asaba, capital of Delta as Police clashed with commercial motorcycle operators, popularly known as Okada riders.

The exchange of gun shot between the police and the Okada riders caused serious confusion as people scampered for safety , motorists abandoned their vehicles , while commercial activities were temporarily grounded.

A senior police officer told our Correspondent that trouble started when the State Task force was trying to execute the law on the ban of Okada and tricycle on government restricted areas but they were resisted by Okada riders who overpowered the officials of the Task force.

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The police officer said that the Okada riders did not stop at attacking the officials of the Task force, but stormed the office ,looted some valuables, destroyed many vehicles and injured some people.

Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, said:”Today, 18th March 2024, a group of motorcycle (Okada) riders embarked on a violent protest within the Asaba metropolis, over their perceived maltreatment by members of the State Taskforce, who enforced the ban on late-hour operations of tricycles and motorcycles in Asaba, at about 8 am.

“The protesters stormed the Taskforce office along sunmit road, ransacked and destroyed vehicles and offices. Upon receipt of the information, the Assistant Commissioner of Police Department of Operations, ACP Efeizomor George, on the directive of the Commissioner of Police, led teams of operatives to restore peace and further put a halt to the rancorous demonstration within the metropolis. To that effect, the team of police officers successfully carried out a raid of recalcitrant motorcycle riders who were embarking on this violent and destructive protest in Asaba Metropolis, Eight male suspects were arrested, and 53 motorcycles were impounded.

“CP Olufemi Abaniwonda reiterates the negative impact of violent protests on the economic growth of the State and therefore appeals to the public to remain calm and be law-abiding, assuring that the police command has the responsibility to ensure the safety of lives and properties, hence creating a safer and more equitable society for Deltans”.