There was pandemonium in Ibillo, Akoko-Edo Local Government Council of Edo State over the weekend as commercial motorcyclists went on rampage in protest the killing of one of their members by a policeman at a checkpoint.
The cyclists barricaded the Abuja -Lagos road for several hours, searching for policemen in uniform for reprisal attack over the killing of their colleague following an alleged refusal to yield to the police demand for gratification.
Unable to find any uniformed policeman in the line-up of vehicles, the protesters matched to the Ibillo police station, where they set ablaze some vehicles and released detainees at the station. They accused a police officer from the station of being the one that killed the cyclist.
“The policemen attached to Ibillo police divisional headquarters shot a bike man to death at a check point in Ekpesa junction when the bike man refused to pay the normal N20 to the men at the check point,” one of the protesters said. “It was during the argument that one of the police sergeant, who is popularly called Yellow, pressed his trigger and killed the bike man who hails from Imoga community. That resulted into violence between the policemen and bike men from the area.” A witness, Shola Iyogun said it took the intervention of the chairman caretaker committee of the council, Anselm Agbabi who had to cancel his journey to Abuja to appease the cyclists. He however had a different explanation.
“The clash erupted between both the police and okada riders at the police station, when the riders stormed the station to bail one of the bikes that was arrested by the police. The police demanded for N2,000 for the release. The bike men complained that the police extort them too much and three of their bikes were arrested and they reported to the union executive who, in an attempt to secure the bail of the bikes at the police station, got locked up by the police in Ibillo. The police tear gassed them but when they resisted the police started shooting and the mob set one of their vehicles ablaze. One person was shot dead and three others injured and presently responding to treatment and recuperating at the hospital in Ibillo.” The state police command spokesman, Peter Ogboi could not be reached yesterday; but a senior police officer at the command said, “We are already investigating it.”