LAGOS – Gbagada residents, who have been patronizing tricyclists for their transportation needs after Lagos State announced a total ban on okada operation in the state, on September 1, 2022, are lamenting that criminals, formerly using Okada to rob in the area have adopted a new strategy.
According to them, these criminals now disguise as tricyclists, also known as Keke Marwa operators to rob them.
The residents said the trend is more prevalent in the Ifako area of Gbagada and are calling on the state government to come to their aid.
A resident, Samuel Oriade, said criminals, who disguised as Keke Marwa riders, now use the opportunity to rob commuters of their valuables.
He said: “I am not a victim, but I was at the bus stop days ago at about 9:00p.m., when a guy jumped out of a moving tricycle shouting on top of his voice and pointing at the moving tricycle.
“When some residents at the bus stop rushed towards him and asked why he jumped out of the moving tricycle, he said the tricycle driver and one passenger wanted to rob him of his money, phone, wrist watch and other valuables, but he dragged with them.
“Then when he saw one of them trying to bring something out of his pocket, that was why he jumped out.”
A victim, Olayinka George, who sells fast food at Gbagada, narrated how he was robbed by criminals, disguised as tricycle operators.
He said: “I’m not a resident of Gbagada but I have a kiosk, where I sell Shawarma. On that day I was on my way home after I had closed for the day, it was at about 9:30p.m. then I saw a Keke Marwa going to toward my way.
“So, I entered unknown to me the rider was a criminal disguised. Few minutes after entering the Keke Marwa, the guy who sat next to me pointed a small gun at me and ordered me to empty my pocket and my bag, which I obeyed.
“They went away with my two phones and all the money I made from that day, it was a good Samaritan that saw me in my bad state of mind that gave me N2,000 to go home that day.”
Confirming the incident, a property owner at Gbagada, Femi Ismail said: “There have been reports of residents being robbed by criminals who drive Keke Marwa at night.”
Ismail, who is an executive member of Gbadaga Residents Association, urged the police to come to their aid because they have no other means of transportation since the state put a ban on the use of motorcycles for public use.
“The police need to come to our aid by having a meeting with operators of Keke Marwa to ensure that they have an identification tag to differentiate genuine operators from criminals.”
When contacted, spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, Superintendent of Police (SP), Benjamin Hundeyin, said they are yet to receive any report on the issue.
He urged residents to always make reports of incidents they encountered at police stations for proper documentation and action.
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