Personnel of the Lagos State Task Force and Nigeria Police Force on Wednesday embarked on a raid of night traders and commercial sex workers in the Ikeja area of the state.
Three vans of the task force were used to cart away goods of traders as well as arresting some of them.
The police officers attached to Alausa and Shogunle division escorted the task force, arresting tens of traders and also forcing some of them to abandon their wares to escape arrest by the officers.
This comes weeks after some policemen extorted residents of the state of over N1m.
While some officers attached to Ikeja division illegally extorted one Kareem Damilare Jamiu of N715,000, another group of officers from FESTAC division extorted another Lagosian, Joseph Ejiro, of N185,000.
The traders lamented the “inhuman” act of the security personnel in extorting them.
They explained that the task force and police always wait till 9pm before coming out and begin their raid from Shogunle, going through Ikeja Along, Ikeja GRA, Maryland and Ojota.
One of the traders, who spoke to our correspondent and pleaded not to be named for fear of being arrested, said that the frequency of the raid intensified since the turn of the new month.
The trader, who sells bread and noodles at Leventis bus stop, Ikeja, said the police officers do demand outrageous bail in exchange for their freedom.
“They usually raid once in a while, but since this December, the raid has been happening frequently.
“When they come, we all have to leave our wares and run away because anybody they arrest will pay like N50,000 as bail,” the trader narrated.
Another trader lucky not to be arrested, said she misplaced her mobile phone while trying to escape being arrested.
She also said that her goods had been taken away by the task force.
She said, “The sight of the van of the task force has become a nightmare for many of us.
"They come both during the day and at night to pack goods and arrest anyone who does not have money to give them on the spot.
“I have to abandon all my goods and run away so that I will not be arrested. My phone got lost and I have been thinking of how to get money to buy another phone.
“Even the prostitutes on the road always run away when they see them or any strange person coming towards them because they will arrest them and collect money from them.”
The traders pleaded with Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to order the security personnel to immediately stop the arrest and extortion.
“This trade is our only means of survival and this is what most of us use to take care of the family.
“It is not our desire to stay out late at night to sell goods but we have to work since it is against the law to engage in immoral acts and we do not also support it.
“We do not make huge profits and it is inhuman and very bad when the task force and police come to collect the little money we make,” said one of the traders.
Another trader said, “The governor should please help us. We have families at home, students in university and it is from this trade that we take care of other responsibilities.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu should please help us beg the police and tell the task force to stop arresting us.”