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Trucks block Kaduna road over alleged extortion

Thousands of motorists were stranded along the Kawo-Rigachikun expressway in Kaduna on Saturday when truck drivers blocked the road in protest against alleged extortion by…

Thousands of motorists were stranded along the Kawo-Rigachikun expressway in Kaduna on Saturday when truck drivers blocked the road in protest against alleged extortion by security agents.

It was gathered that two drivers were seriously beaten on Friday night allegedly by the Kaduna State Road Enforcement Agency marshals and a policeman for refusing to give N1000 bribe.

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Our reporter, who visited the scene around 9:00am Saturday, said angry looking drivers left the heavily loaded vehicles at the middle of the road for hours, causing a heavy gridlock.

A truck driver said: “We blocked the road to protest the injustice done to our colleagues  who were beaten and injured for refusing to give N1000 bribe.”

It took the intervention of officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and policemen from Kawo Division to disperse the drivers.

The state secretary of the NURTW, Comrade Bature Yusuf Suleiman, who was at the scene, told Daily Trust that the injured drivers had been treated.

“Yes, there was an incident involving our members and KASTELEA and police personnel on Friday night.

“One of the injured drivers told us that a KASTELEA marshal asked for N1000  from him which he refused to give.

“So, he (marshal) called a policeman that was working with them who used a stick to break the truck’s glasses.

“So, when the driver came down he was hit on the head and became unconscious, the co-driver too sustained a fracture on his arm,” he said.

He said other truck drivers left their vehicles on the road in solidarity even as most of them were not from the state.

He urged the police and KASTELEA marshals to always use non violent methods to settle misunderstandings with drivers.

KASTELEA General Manager, retired Major Garba Yahaya Rimi, said he would not comment until he completes investigation on the incident.

“When I finish the investigation I will know what to say.

“Until I hear from both sides,  whatever anybody says now is just hear-say,” he said.

The police spokesman, Mohammed Jalige, didn’t answer calls for comment.