Commercial taxi drivers in Rivers State have embarked on a massive protest, grounding business activities, over the killing of their colleague by members of the government-owned Task Force on Street Trading and illegal Motor Parks.
According to reports, the victim died on Sunday, March 12, at the hospital where he was rushed to after he was attacked and beaten beyond recognition by the taskforce members.
According to sources, who spoke to journalist, the victim had parked his bus by the roadside for his passengers who had arrived at their exit point to alight, when the task force men descended on him.
An argument ensued between the driver and the task force officials and it resulted in the beating of the driver. It was learned that the victim died at the hospital where he was rushed after he had collapsed during that attack.
An eyewitness said the task force officials involved in the beating have been arrested.
Spokesperson for the State Police Command, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, who confirmed the incident, said the culprits have been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
Following the ugly incident, friends and drivers in the area took to the streets of Rumuokoro and Ikwerre road, stopping every form of vehicular movement in the area. The protest resulted in heavy human traffic from Rumuokoro to Rupokwu, leaving passengers stranded, while some trekked from Rupokwu junction to Rumuokoro due to absence of vehicles.
Also, drivers from other parts of the state who wanted to ply the route, either made U-turn or used alternative routes. Others parked by the roadside and disembarked their passengers for fear of being attacked by protesting drivers.
One of the drivers said: “The protest is to honour our dead colleague. We have resolved that we will not offer our services until government bans the boys that are doing this.”
Also, leaders of the drivers’ union, who addressed the protesters, assured that the matter would be taken to court.