Yesterday, students of the Delta State Polytechnic were left stranded as okada riders who usually ply the route to their school deserted the area due to alleged extortion by the police officers stationed along the route.
According to Punch, the okada riders have completely pulled out from Azagba village in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State just to avoid the daily confrontation with the police. This left many students of the Polytechnic, who reportedly lived in Azagba and Iselle-Azagba villages, stranded. The students depend on the cyclists as their major source of transportation to school.
Speaking with the press, an okada rider Mr. Uche Ezendu said this:
“We can no longer bear the high extortion. Everyday, we pay N100 to a SARS patrol team from Asaba and another patrol team from the Ogwashi-Uku Division on the same road. This extortion has been on over a long time and nobody is saying anything about the activities of these police teams. They just stationed themselves within a distance of four poles apart.
Imagine two different police teams mounting a checkpoint on a four kilometer road, collecting N100 each from cyclists, motorists and other road users. This is very outrageous if you ask me. We used to charge N200 as transport fare from Azagba to the Ogwashi, and that amount is what we also pay to the police teams on the road, so we are left with nothing after each trip.”
This was corroborated by a student, Anthonia Ukonu, who described the activities of the police stationed on that route as “highly disgraceful to the image of the Nigeria Police force.”
When asked to make a comment, the spokesperson of the Delta Police Command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, promised to investigate the report. He said:
“We are going to investigate these allegations. First and foremost, I will reach out to the officers in charge of these two police units mentioned. I will inform the SARS commander and the DPO in Ogwashi-Uku about these allegations.
We don’t condone any act of official misconduct, because issues like this bring bad image to the Nigeria Police and we will not allow that.”