From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
The peaceful atmosphere in Ughelli, the headquarters of Ughelli North Local Government area of Delta State yesterday disrupted when commercial motorcycle riders, otherwise known as “Okada Riders”, trooped out in large numbers to protest alleged extortion of its members by men of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (V.G.N).
Speaking to newsmen, one of the protesters who did not disclose his name said they came out to protest because of the operations of the Vigilante. “We came out because of the Vigilante.
They hold us because of driver’s licence and expired particulars and we know that it is the duty of the Road safety Officers to check driver licence” he explained.
He disclosed that men of the vigilante groups collect up to N2, 000 from them and sometimes seizes their machine even when their particulars have not expired.
“When we show them our particulars, they would tell us the particulars, they would tell us the particulars have expired and force us to pay N2, 000 or seize our machine, he added.
They said they have decided to came out for government to hear them and also to know the scope of the operations of the vigilante, whether or not it is the duty of the vigilante to check driver’s license and expired particulars”. We want the state government to hear us and we want to know the scope of the operations of the vigilante”, he stated.
However, the State Chairman of Delta State Motor Cycle and Tricycle Riders Association, Comrade Austin Ayonuwe, who spoke on phone as he was said to be in a meeting said he was already aware of the protest and the Association was on top of the situation.
Mr. Ayonuwe appealed to the protesting Okada riders to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the Association would do everything possible to protect the interest of its members.