From Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Asaba- Onitsha bus drivers on Tuesday abandoned their Commercial activities in Protest of alleged extortion by those they described as” touts” on daily routine
During their protest, teeming number of Commuters were stranded as few ones who play the road Collect outrageous fare to and from as against the N150,00 and N100,00 respectively they Charge per head from Asaba to Onitsha
While the protest lasts, Commuters especially pregnant women were subjected to trekking inside the excruciating sun as those found not to be part of the Protesting drivers and are bus drivers were beaten severely and fined for violating their rules Considering what informed their Protest.
But the Chairman of the Asaba- Onitsha bus unit, Delta state, Chukwujindu Okeleke who spoke to Journalists said that over 300 buses plying the route were directed not to ferry their passengers into Onitsha in Anambra state until the Suspected touts led by one Nelson, reverted to the old rate Collected as” Settlement” from drivers that was Jettisoned since 2011.
He said” although we agreed on N600,00 for every bus loaded with passengers traveling to Onitsha, they had been Collecting a much higher rate, which our members can no longer afford to pay, hence our decision to boycott the road”, adding that the amount being paid by drivers as settlement at different destination points in Onitsha as bridgehead, N850,00 , upper Iweka N2,000, Ugah, N1,300, Benin Park, N1, 700, adding that they demanded N800 from the bus drivers of Asaba in Delta state
He alleged that while collecting twice the amount paid by passengers on every trip to Onitsha and from, the Asaba- Onitsha route is Known for high movement of People and goods between Asaba, the Delta state Capital and the Commercial City of Onitsha in neighbouring Anambra state
Okeleke said that the road boycott would not be Called Off until the Anambra Government Calls the Suspected touts to order with a view to bringing them to arrest, adding instead of plying Asaba Onitsha, the bus drivers would rather terminate their service at the bridgehead, but in a swift reaction, the leader of suspected touts, one Nelson claimed they were Collecting what rightfully belong to them as members of the union and threatened that violators would have them to contend with