Thursday, 27 December 2012 00:00
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Anti-traffic law rally: How Lagos police drilled me for hours - Activist

Comrade Dandy Eze, National President, Paths of Peace Initiatives was picked-up by police authorities in Lagos, alongside two other activists for organizing yet another rally to protest the partial ban on the activities of commercial motorcycle operators by the Lagos state government.

In this interview with EMMANUEL UDOM, Eze spoke on how he was trailed to the NLC House in Yaba and arrested after the rally, how the police seized his phones and kept him incommunicado for hours and why he will continue to tackle the Babatunde Fashola-led government over the ban on Okada operations in the state.

Media reports have it that you were  among the three activists recently   arrested and detained by the police for organizing yet another okada rally at NLC House in Yaba?
Yes, Joint Action Forum organized  another successful rally at NLC House in Yaba, Lagos  last week. This was the second in the series of rallies planned by human rights activists to continue to address the injustice meted out  to okada riders in Lagos by the Babatunde Fashola-led administration. We actually planned initially to shutdown Lagos for a week.
You will recall that on October 8, this year, my non-governmental organization packaged a one day rally, where we rattled the police and moved with about 6000 okada riders from Ikeja under-bridge bus-stop to the Lagos state government t secretariat at Alausa in Ikeja.

How were the three activists arrested during the second rally?
After the rally, we were about moving from the NLC House in Yaba to Ikeja when some police officers on RRS cornered us and bundled us into their waiting vehicles and then zoomed off to the Lagos state police command headquarters  in Ikeja, where we were drilled for hours by police officers attached to X-squad unit at the command.

We were asked to come back the next day, where we held meeting with some senior police officers at the command, led by the assistant commissioner of police in-charge of administration. Eventually the next day, Dr Dipo Fashina and Comrade Abiodun Aremu did not come to the command till late in the evening and I was the only one detained behind the counter for more than nine hours by the police after my phones were collected from me.

Who ordered the detention behind the counter?
It was Tunde Sobulo, the deputy commissioner of police in-charge of operations. Let me say here and now without fear or favour that Sobulo was hash and  barbaric in the manner he handle the case. He ordered his officers to seize my phones and keep me incommunicado behind the counter for hours on end.

So, will this deter you from further going ahead with your planned one week rally with okada riders over the Lagos traffic laws?
Deter me? Never. It will rather encourage me to go on with  more rallies until the injustice meted out to the riders is address by the Lagos state government. Fashola, as far as I am concerned is the most autocratic governor in this democratic dispensation. He is inhuman. Okada riders are suffering and smiling even though they voted massively for Fashola to become the governor of Lagos State. The governor is only interested in inflicting pains and more pains on these commercial  motorcycle operators, who are trying to look for legitimate means of earning a living.

But, police and medical records show that majority of crimes and deaths or accidents come from the reckless and unbecoming activities of some okada riders.

These records may not be true. Not all okada riders are criminals, reckless, drunkards and drug addicts. We have some descent and responsible  persons running okada business.