By Abubakar Akote, Minna
Passengers were stranded in Minna, Niger State capital, after tricycle riders began a warning strike on Monday.
They protested extortion by policemen, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Officers, among others.
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The striking tricycle riders also blocked Shiroro Road and Mobil Roundabouts, forcing passengers off tricycles that did not join the strike.
One of the drivers said, “Apart from the stress we go through in the hands of Revenue officials of Chanchaga and Bosso Local Governments in respect of Chanchaga Local Government Registration Number with the way they want it written boldly, which we think will spoil our Keke, Police, Road Safety and VIO officials also extort us daily. If you are arrested and taken to their office, you will be made to pay N5,000 before they release you. It is getting too much”.
Another driver, Junaidu Abubakar, said they will continue with the strike if authorities fail to address their problems, especially the persistent extortion by the police and men of other para-military agencies.
The State Treasurer, Amalgamated, Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria, Suleiman Danjuma, told Daily Trust, “We just woke up to the strike action by our members.
“The action is trigger by too much taxes from the government and too of arrest by the VIO on the issue of Chanchaga Local Government Registration Number. It is not that they are against the registration but they don’t want it written too bold as Government wanted it, that it spoils their Keke.”
Some passengers who came from outside Minna unknowingly got locked up in the road queue.
A woman, Aisha who said she came from Paiko to buy foodstuffs appealed to striking Tricycle riders and authorities to reach a common ground for the sake of poor masses.
“I didn’t know. I just came from Paiko. This is a problem. I don’t even know how to get to market now,” she said.
Calls put across to Niger State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun, to comment on the alleged extortion by the security men went unanswered.
Officials on surveillance of the protest declined to comment.
Effort to reach the State Commissioner of Transport, Rahmatu Yar’Adua, was not fruitful as her number was not reachable.