Anambra: Truck drivers block Onitsha bridge over extortion



Great Tipper Drivers Association, Anambra state, has raised the alarm over an alleged N1000 extortion by naval officers stationed at Bridge Head Onitsha.

Tipper drivers operating in the area alleged that the naval officers forcefully commanded the drivers to pay them N1000 each but they refused and resisted the molestations which resulted in the naval officers shooting and destroying the tyres of the tippers.
The commotion however degenerated into a protest in the early hours of Saturday as the tipper drivers barricaded the highway blocking the Head Bridge and preventing movement in and out of Anambra state.

President-General of Great Tipper Drivers Association Comrade Ebuka Unekwe who revealed the situation to our correspondent via a telephone interview around 6am, said the Head bridge has been blocked since 3am today following incessant molestations and dehumanizing treatment meted out on them by naval officers in the area.
Unekwe also told our correspondent that the extortion of N1000 from tipper drivers by the Navy began since the present state government came into power.
He said, “No vehicle has come into Anambra state since 3am today. Naval officers collect N1000 from our members for no clear reason.
“They collect N1000 from each tipper driver and any driver that says he doesn’t have money they shoot his tyres. So the whole drivers blocked the Head Bridge since 3am. Our members blocked the Head bridge up to Uga junction. This extortion started since the new government came.”
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Anambra State Police Command DSP Ikenga Tochukwu Anthony told our correspondent that he received a distress call from an innocent Nigerian whom he said alerted him of a heavy traffic gridlock at Owerri road axis.
Though he said the circumstances surrounding the cause of the traffic has not been ascertained, police operatives have been deployed to maintain law and order.
On his part, the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Anambra state Mr. Adeoye Irelewuyi told our correspondent too that the unit commander in Onitsha was already in talks with the tipper drivers to ascertain the remote cause of the traffic gridlock.
Irelewuyi who assured the public that the impasse would be resolved amicably to allow for free flow of vehicular movements, said FRSC officers had been deployed to the scene to control traffic.

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