Commercial motorcyclists in Osun state have cried out over alleged victimisation by the government of the state.
The motorcyclists stated that the government has embarked on arresting and detaining them for offence they did not commit.
One of the motorcyclists who spoke with our correspondent said two of them have been detained in Ilesa prison since last week Thursday because they protested against extortion by officials of the Osun Traffic Marshal, O’TRAM.
The motorcyclists had on Thursday, barricaded the popular Olaiya junction, Osogbo, Osun state capital, in protest against alleged extortion by officials of O’TRAM.
They caused traffic gridlock for some minutes before the intervention of policemen who dispersed them.
The O’TRAM was established under the Ministry of Transportation by the former Governor Rauf Aregbesola to arrest any motorcyclist that fail to use helmet or violate traffic rules.
The motorcyclists alleged that officials of the O’TRAM have been extorting them, thus preventing them from carrying out their job easily.
On Thursday morning, the motorcyclists alleged that the officials of the O’TRAM arrested one of them and ordered him to pay N5,000 to the account of state government while they released two persons who they might have collected money from them.
Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, Adeyemo Olamilekan, blamed the leadership of the motorcyclists for the ‘unfair treatment and harassment’ they are facing from police and government officials.
He alleged that their leadership are collecting N50 from them daily while the policemen and O’TRAM also disturb them. He frowned at the refusal of their leadership to intervene whenever they have problem.
He said, “We are paying N50 to the association everyday. Police will collect their own. O’TRAM will also disturb us. When they kill our members and collected their motorcycle, neither the police nor the union will do anything.
“It is not easy. We are suffering. We know many of the O’TRAM officials that are doing the job at night. We are meeting on the road. Many of them are motorcyclists.
He said two of them that were arrested on Thursday have been remanded in Ilesa prison and have not been released.
Taiwo Olasunbo, who was the victim, admitted that he was wrong for attempting to ply one way, accusing officials of the state government of unfair treatment.
He said, “It is true that I wanted to ply one way at Ayetoro area, Osogbo, when they arrested me and immediately wrote N5,000 for me. I was begging them when I saw another person they arrested. I asked why they released him and they didn’t give any excuse.
“Not up to five minutes, they arrested another person and they released him. When I asked, they said the person is a policeman. I don’t understand why somebody that is not in uniform would be called a policeman and would not be allowed to face the law.
An official of the O’TRAM (name withheld) confirmed that two of the motorcyclists are still in Ilesa prison.
Also, the Information Officer of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr Ambaliyu Bolarinwa, confirmed the arrest and detention of the motorcyclists.
He said plans have been concluded to release them and also explain why they were detained.