LAGOS State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce), on Sunday, said it has arrested a 35 years old ex -convict identified as Ismaila Salami for Impersonating Task Force operatives.
The suspect who was arrested at Oshodi was said to have specialized in impounding commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘Okada’ under the guise of being an official of the Agency.
Disclosing this at the Agency’s headquarters at Bolade Oshodi, the Taskforce Chairman, CSP Shola Jejeloye said he was arrested on Thursday after he seized a bike from an unsuspecting commercial rider at Mushin and rode on it down to Oshodi where he was accosted by some Policemen attached to the Agency and questioned till he confessed to the crime.
Salami has since confessed to being an ex-convict who got into the business of swindling commercial riders after he got out of the correctional center.
The suspect stated that this was his first time operating alone as he was a member of a gang which goes out on illegal patrols to impound ‘Okada’ from their owners. He said,
“We do not get paid but go out on illegal patrols round our axis to see who we can arrest and bully till he part ways with some money before we release his bike. We usually charge between 3000 to 4000 Naira per bike” said the suspect
He further stated that mere mentioning of the word “Taskforce” makes the riders succumb when arrested.
Items recovered from the suspect include an Identity card with the inscription ‘Mushin Local Government, Taskforce Okada Board”
The suspect, according to the Taskforce Chairman, will be charged to court while investigations are ongoing to ensure that all other criminal elements who go about tarnishing the image of the Agency are arrested and brought to book.
Similarlly, the agency has impounded 60 motorcycles, 43 tricycles and 19 vehicles for flouting environmental law at Allen Avenue area of the state just as it bursted some suspected miscreants numbering about 150 and arrested 20 of them.
Jejeloye said the operation was in view of the state’s vision of zero tolerance for criminal elements, hideouts and black spots and to restrict motorcycle operations on restricted routes.
According to him, the 19 vehicles were displayed for sale on walkways at Ladipo while the tricycles were playing restricted routes on the highways.
The Chairman also said that the 40 traders were arrested for illegally displaying their wares on the highways saying, ” The Agency this year is all out to reduce the Environmental laws offenders to the barest minimum, stop illegal ticketers on the state’s highways and free the state from menace of hoodlums and street urchins popularly known as area boys, the Unit commenced its tactical and strategic enforcement for compliance operations for the year 2022 this week, in order to nip in the bud every intending criminal activities and entrench total sanity in the State throughout the year,” he noted.
Speaking further, he said the arrested traders will be prosecuted at the Mobile Court.
The CSP enjoined the public to furnish the Agency with details of any illegal activities going on around their areas.
He further said that the Agency will come out with full force to make the State unbearable for any criminal and violator of the State environmental laws this year.