A ROUTINE enforcement of the restriction of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in parts of Lagos on Wednesday degenerated into a violent clash between the police and cyclists backed by thugs in Iyana Ipaja area of the state.
The police operatives were attached to the state task force on the Environment.
The clash, which started about 8am and extended to Aboru on the outskirts of the metropolis, left many people including school children, including a policeman, injured.
It was gathered that the miscreants had descended on policemen on duty and mercilessly beat up an Inspector after some bikes were seized by the task force in the Iyana Ipaja area of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
Bikers pick up passengers from to various destinations, including Aboru and Ayobo.
The men in their hundreds were said to have put up a fierce resistance when the policemen came for the enforcement, pelting them with stones.
The miscreants made bonfires, smashing and burning vehicles as well as looting shops.
Sources alleged that the situation escalated after a stray bullet from the police hit a passersby fleeing the scene.
“They set vehicles ablaze including a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), LNSC and police vehicle. They were smashing people’s windscreens with stones and looting shops,” the source said.
“It was a complete chaos. I think the problem started with police harassment of the riders. The police people came in the morning to enforce the ban but Area Boys and the riders kicked.
“The next thing, the task force people started shooting teargas and fired gunshots in the air which made people run in different directions. Then, the area boys started burning things. They set fire on the road and started looting shops.
“People’s shops were vandalised up to Aboru. Goods from shops littered everywhere. The road was blocked up to Moshalashi.”
Witnesses who took to social media to recount their experiences, said the place was chaotic for over four hours until security was reinforced.
They claimed many people sustained varying injuries while fleeing from the bullets and teargas released by the police, just as they warned those intending to ply that route to steer clear.
Police spokesman Bala Elkana said 34 suspects have been arrested for attacking policemen and 86 cycles seized.
“Around 10:20am, the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences and some teams of police officers carried out enforcement on restrictions of motorcycles and tricycles at Aboru area, where 86 motorcycles were impounded. “