From Mustapha Isah Kwaru Maiduguri
Vehicular movement were yesterday disrupted in various roads of Maiduguri metropolis as thousands of commercial tricycle operators staged a peaceful protest over alleged multiple extortions by police personnel.
Our correspondent reports that the aggrieved tricycle operators took to the various roads, causing a heavy traffick jam which caused delay in smooth vehicular movement.
The demonstration which begun around 10am has also brought activities in Maiduguri to a standstill.
The protesters were demanding that the police should be compelled to stop unnecessary extortion of their members.
The tricycle riders, popularly called Keke NAPEP operators, said they embarked on peaceful protest by boycotting operations following what they termed continued “harassment, intimidation and extortion” they face at the hands of men of the Nigeria Police Force.
Babagana Bukar, who participated in the protest told newsmen that the tricycle operators in Maiduguri are tired of the ugly situation, alleging that at times police personnel even arrested them and took them to police station when they refused to give them money.
“A lot of our members have been complaining since and nothing was done about it because they make this extortion to look legal. Our leadership have been reporting this ugly incidents to police authorities but nothing was done to halt it,”
However, the Borno Police Command denied that its personnel were involved in the acts.
A statement issued by the Police spokesman, DSP Edet Okon said, the tricycle riders were accusing local government authorities of illegal collection of levies.
“Tricycle riders within Maiduguri metropolis embarked on protest alleging illegal collection of levies by Local Government Authorities and no provision of motor parks for their operations.”
“They were promptly addressed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations DCP Maiyaki Baba and the State Attorney General/Commissioner of Justice. The situation has been brought under control and no life was lost,” the statement said.
“The Commissioner of Police Borno State, CP Damian Chukwu hereby urges members of the public to be law abiding and always endeavor to report their grievances to the police or other appropriate government agencies,” it further added.