In a bid to tackle insecurity in the state, Ondo State Government has reinforced the restrictions on Okada riders, warning that violators will be prosecuted.
Chief Adetunji Adeleye, Ondo State Corps Commander of the State Security Network Agency codenamed Amotekun, made the declaration in an interview in his office, in Akure.
He said: “In view of the incessant robbery attacks on fuel stations in the state, Mr Governor has re-introduced the ban and prosecution of Okada riders who operate beyond 7pm in the state as from Monday May 31, 2021.
“With the records of robbery attacks in the state which usually occur between 7pm to 9pm, we have spoken with the leadership of the petrol station dealers to know what they are actually facing.
“We have brought back the ban on Okada riders from the hours of 7pm to 6am. As it has become a norm for criminals to disguise as Okada riders robbing filling stations and engaging in other criminal acts.
“Initially, we make defaulters pay N5,000 at the internal revenue office. But now, it is mandatory they face prosecution in the court of law.
“This is because any criminal will see the payment of N5,000 fine as small and pay such with ease.
“In confiscating their machines as well as prosecuting them, the government aims at discouraging the use of night riders in the exception of accredited persons with identification cards.
“Anyone with an identity card will not be arrested as they ride their motorcycles to their respective duty posts. But any rider without an ID card at that particular time will be impounded and prosecuted.
Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers, Ondo State chapter, Bayo Olowookere, while expressing his gratitude over the decision of the state government, lauded the move, saying it would guarantee safety of the petrol dealers in the state.
He thanked Governor Akeredolu for his proactive steps in keeping the stations safe.
He said: “Security is everybody’s business. We trust what he can do in terms of security. We have lost some staff due to robbers invading our petrol stations. Thank God am an end has come to this ugly incidents.
“We, Petrol dealers got confused over the incessant attacks, especially the recent attacks carried out on five filling stations at the same time.
“We quickly came together and agreed to be closing by 7pm.
“Although we resorted to closing at normal hours as we’re not making much sales by closing earlier. But after we were addressed by Mr Governor’s representatives, the situation changed for the better.
It would be recalled that two robbery incidents that happened few weeks ago in two separate Filling Stations in Akure, the Ondo State Capital were carried out by people who operated on motorcycles to rob their unsuspecting victims during which one person was killed at a filling station along Oda road.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, while reacting to the allegations that hoodlums carry out their nefarious activities through the use of Okada in the state, said the law prohibiting Okada operators from operating beyond 8pm was still in force.
He stated that the law subsists, warning those flouting the order and directive of the State Government to have a rethink or be ready to face the full weight of the law.
His words: “We relaxed the enforcement because there was relative peace in every part of the state. But now, it has been observed that some unscrupulous elements are trying to bite more than they can chew and we will deal with them according to the law of the land.
“This government is particularly concerned about the peace and security of everybody. And we will not hesitate to deal ruthlessly with anyone trying to undermine the existing peace being enjoyed at the moment,” he stated.
Our correspondent observed that hoodlums operating in the state in the past few months, carried out their dastardly acts with the use of motorcycles, just as Amotekun and other Security agencies have step up their patrols in a bid to apprehend criminals and consequently bring them to justice.