Commercial Tricycle Operators operating around Kilo, a popular bus stop in Surulere area of Lagos state have accused officers of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of Nigerian Police Force unjust arrest of their members for purpose of extortion.
The latest of such arrests, the tricycle operators said was on Saturday, when SARS men took away eight of their members in Kilo for the sole purpose of extorting money from them.
The transporters operating under the aegis of Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (TORAN) said the SARS officials stormed their park in Kilo bus stop and whisked away two tricycle riders.
Peter Jakande, the treasurer of Kilo/Bode Thomas unit of TORAN who was one of those arrested, said six other members of the unit had earlier been arrested and detained by SARS officials.
The SARS team, which, according to eyewitness, included one notorious ‘Abu SARS’ were from Census Police Station in Surulere. The police team, according to the witness, used a commercial bus (popularly called Danfo) for the raid in order to catch their targets unaware.
An eyewitness said of the raid, “they (SARS operatives) came with a yellow bus with registration number FKJ413XD and suddenly stopped at the tricycle riders’ park at Kilo, Surulere. Upon sighting the SARS officials, the whole area was thrown into confusion as everyone scamper for safety, knowing what is at stake if caught by the officers notorious for carrying out extra-judicial activities.
But the SARS officials were able to round up two tricycle riders and forced them into the commercial bus that has two other people arrested in it."
It was gathered that as usual, the SARS personnel did not allow the tricycle riders to leave without extorting money from them.
Our correspondent gathered that N11,000 was paid to the SARS operative to free Jakande and the other tricycle rider arrested with him.
It was gathered that the SARS men continued their illegal operations later in the day, raiding other communities in Surulere, arresting people and tricycle riders.
A resident of Kilo told our correspondent that tricycle riders have always been victim of extortion by SARS officials.
He added that the Lagos State Police Command has refused to act on the reports of the deplorable activities of cash-loving SARS officials lodged with it.
According to him, failure of Police authorities to act on the reports have emboldened the SARS personnel to continue with their nefarious activities.