The use of motorcycle, popularly known as okada for commercial purpose is not limited to the civilian populace any more. ENCOMIUM Weekly’s investigations revealed that some police officers have ventured into the business.
However, we learnt that some of the policemen don’t only ride the motorcycles but they have also invested heavily in the business by purchasing the bikes and contracting such out to the full blown commercial riders who are made to deliver to them daily or weekly depending on the agreement between the owner and the prospective rider.
“Most motorcycles in some areas of Lagos state are owned by the police. That’s what most of them invest in now as additional means on livelihood. Only very few of them ride the bikes themselves at the close of work. Instead, they rent them out to permanent commercial operators who are charged to pay some amount daily or weekly. Such bikes carry police logo either in paint or a sticker to avoid being arrested by their colleagues on duty. You can find most of these motorcycles in Apapa, Okota, Mile 2, Ajegunle, Fagba, Ketu and other parts of the state,” said a competent source.
Confirming this, one of the operators, Isa Abdullahi from Borno state said, “Yes, this okada is owned by a police officer. That’s why I can work freely here. If not, I will be arrested almost every day. If I am lucky they release my bike again because if you’re not riding one of their motorcycles and you’re arrested, it’s either you forfeit the bike or pay a huge amount to retrieve it. But as it’s now, I can’t be arrested. It’s only that I must buy the local government ticket and settle the task force at the park.”
On how much he delivers o the owner, he explained, “That’s N7,000 per week, other things being equal. I am okay with that because some demand even more than that.”
“Every day I work, I realize about N2,500 after eating three square meals and paying all the dues. The only thing is that most of us using police motorcycles are usually restricted to where they can monitor us properly. Other okada operators don’t enjoy all the privileges we enjoy, that’s why they don’t realize much profit at the end of their labour.”
Another rider who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly under the condition of anonymity also said, “It’s true there are sacred cows among us. The same thing applies to some drivers of some of the commercial buses owned by the police or even army officers. All the motorcycles owned by the police are free to operate without any disturbance but any of the bikes without the logo of the police suffer regular harassment by the police. That’s why most of us who fall into their category are being very careful not to fall victim because if you’re arrested for plying just any route, you’re on your own.”