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Published On: Tue, Jul 15th, 2014

Okada riders decry killings by unknown syndicate in One-man village

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okada-ridersBy Stanley Onyekwere

Some commercial motorcyclists, otherwise known as okada riders, in One-Man village, a popular settlement near Nyanya suburb area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have decried the incessant killings and theft by unknown assailants, who lay ambush on them, in the area.

The latest of series of attacks on okada riders operating in the area occurred last week when the unknown syndicate butchered four motorcyclists in the night at Koroduma I axis of the area, carting away with their victims motorcycles.

But, the latest onslaught resulted to pandemonium as   aggrieved commercial motorcyclists in the area went on a rampage at noon in protest of the incessant mayhem against them in the area.

It was gathered that prior to the latest incident, between January and June, no fewer than eight okada riders had been hacked down by the  notorious unknown assailants in the area, bringing the total number of their victims 12.

In their usual tactic of operating, a member of the syndicate, according to our investigation, would board a motorcycle from the heart of the town-by Adehi Filling Station junction pretending to be going towards Lape Estate located at the extreme of the street.

Upon getting to the flash point near the estate which is located at an isolated area where only a few uncompleted buildings with a large expanse is visible, other members of the mysterious  gang would emerge from their hiding under a big mango tree in the area and attack the unsuspecting okada rider with weapons, making sure he was dead before abandoning his remains in any of the uncompleted structures, after which they disappear into the dark with his motorcycle.

However, in protesting the latest incident, the aggrieved cyclists in their dozens, block the ever busy Nyanya-Keffi road from Adehi Filling junction end in One Man village, causing serious holdup as vehicles plying the route were barred from moving ahead.

It was gathered that it took the intervention of some armed policemen from nearby police division, who fired shots into the air, to disperse the protesters.

As a result, residents of the area were gripped with fear with the sound of the gun shots and as the rampaging okada riders in a convoy like fashion, rode dangerously along the street linking the scene of the murder.

The aggrieved okada riders, who declared the day as “no work day” in honour of their deceased colleagues, refused to convey passengers to their destinations leaving a lot of people stranded.

They complained bitterly that they could no longer watch their members die continuously in the hands of the murderers while the police remain lackadaisical to the ugly development.

“Last month, they killed one of our members and dumped him in an uncompleted building. Yesterday night (last week), four okada people were killed at once; they use cutlass to butcher all of them.

“We cannot remain like this for them to kill all of us,” one of the aggrieved motorcyclists, Sani Usman said.

Another commercial cyclists,  who simply gave his name as  Ibeanzor said: “If you count all the okada people that they have been killing from January till now, it is up to 12 and the police is not doing any serious thing to stop this.”

The ‘okada-men’, who lamented that they cannot abandon their legitimate means of livelihood because of the incessant killing, call on the police authorities to rise up to their responsibility , so as to unmask the unknown syndicate and find a permanent solution to the development.

Another okada rider, Haruna Danjuma says: “Where will we go from here and how can we survive if we don’t do our work because of this bad people. The police should do everything to arrest the people behind this crime and make it safe for us to continue our job here.

Also confirming the latest incident, a resident residing close the scene of the crime, Abel Micah, said since the beginning of the year, roughly no fewer than 12 okada riders have been killed and dumped in the area.

On the last week’s incident, he said, “It was not clear if the killers lured the okada riders  there at once in a convoy but all the four men wearing the new lemon green jacket prescribed for commercial motorcycle riders operating in Karu Local Government were butchered.”

According to him, when news broke that some people had been killed again at the notorious area, okada men came and they identified the deceased as their members.

“When the last incident occurred, policemen were stationed at the area for 2 days from 7:30pm to 9pm but they later stopped coming around,” he said.

When our correspondent visited the Koroduma I Police Station, the Station Officer, Sunday Ayuba who confirmed the incident, however, declined mentioning the number of okada men killed in the latest incident.

“I cannot tell you the number of people that were killed because I am not there. Our men that have been sent there are still there,” he said.

Although he refused to give the number of those killed, he said the police was not even sure if all the victims were killed on the said night, as according to him, information he got revealed that one of the bodies is so badly decomposed that nobody could get close to it.

Interestingly, the officer complained that in the previous incidents the hospitals where the corpses were evacuated to, forced them (Police) to cough out N5,000 before allowing them to deposit the corpses with them.

“Where are we going to get that kind of money from to pay the hospital if we evacuate the bodies,” he decried.

He however refuted the claim that 12 okada men have so far been killed by the yet to be known assailants since this year, saying, “apart from this incident, not more than three okada men have been reported killed at the flash point.”

On what the police was doing to address the issue, he said the police was collaborating with the vigilante group in the area to mount surveillance along the street linking the notorious spot.

 To this end, he said the assailants no longer pick motorcyclists from the junction but have now devised a new tactic whereby, they now pick their victims from Mararaba area and pass through Ruwan Madaki village, and bring them to the flash point where they are eventually killed.

When asked why the police in the area would not consider deploying it officers to mount surveillance at the flash point, the station officer complained of shortage of staff at the station.

It was difficult to do so, as he lamented that he had only three police women working with him at the station, making a total of only four police officers manning the station.

Ayuba further revealed that sometimes ago, two members of the syndicate were arrested and taken to the Nasarawa state Police Command, where they confessed to be working for some agents  who send them to kill the cyclists and bring their bikes which are eventually resold.

According to him, the suspects confessed that they were being paid N50, 000 for any successful ‘job’.

It was further disclosed that in the event were they failed to do the job successfully and they are caught, they would eventually be paid ,N30,000 while the balance of N20,000 would be used to settle any case that may arise.

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