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Drivers Protest Attacks, Abductions By Hoodlums Along Major Road With Military, Police Checkpoints In Enugu

Drivers Protest Attacks, Abductions By Hoodlums Along Major Road With Military, Police Checkpoints In Enugu

 Commercial drivers

Several angry commercial drivers have staged a protest in Enugu State, according to SaharaReporters.

The drivers plying Enugu-Ugwogo-Opi-Nsukka Road, on Tuesday, barricaded the Nsukka end of the road, to protest against the increasing cases of abduction by suspected herders on the road on a daily basis.

SaharaReporters reported on Sunday that no fewer than 16 commuters were abducted along the road in one week despite the presence of several military and police checkpoints along the road, which have been converted to ‘toll gates’ where they collect money.

It reported that from Tuesday, June 20 till Friday, June 23, the kidnapping of commuters and transporters went unchallenged. The relations of most of the kidnap victims went to Kogi State or Benue State to pay ransom to secure the release of their loved ones.

Staging the protest on Tuesday, the commercial drivers, who were mainly Toyota Sienna drivers moving passengers between Abakpa and the university town of Nsukka, appealed to the state government to immediately intervene to arrest the situation.

The placard-carrying protesters chanted solidarity songs and insisted that security personnel who have been on the road for over one month should be redeployed.

The protesters accused them of being more interested in collecting money from motorists than providing security on the road.

The protesting drivers gathered at Pillar Pole Fuel Station Opi- Agu, between Ugwuogo Nike and Nsukka, where they also asked policemen at a checkpoint close to the station to double their efforts.

One of the protesters, Ejike Ogbu who spoke to SaharaReporters, said, “Government should urgently intervene on this road. We cannot continue plying this road in fear. Men, women and children are in the bush and the government is not doing anything about it.

“Criminals are increasing on this road and security operatives are reducing. The attention of the government is highly needed. It is either the government intervenes or nobody will ply this road again.”

Last Thursday, hoodlums reportedly attacked commuters on three separate occasions in one day along the road. The first attack occurred at noon, the second attack took place at about 2 pm, and the third group of commuters were kidnapped at about 5 pm.

Last Thursday’s attack was the third of such attacks in a  week on that route.

Several other commuters were attacked and kidnapped the previous day despite the numerous military and police checkpoints along the road.

Confirming the protest, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Peter Mbah on New Media, Reuben Onyishi, assured road users of the safety of the road, adding that no new case of kidnapping was recorded on the road.

“The true position was that commercial Sienna drivers converged at Opi- Nsukka with placards, protesting the cases of kidnapping that took place on the road last week.

“They were addressed by the DPO of Umabo Police Station, Eha-Alumona Nsukka this morning, explaining to them the security measures that had been put in place and which had successfully cleared the road of kidnappers. Thereafter, they dispersed and went about their businesses.”

He also encouraged residents to disregard the claims by “mischief-makers on an assignment” to scare commuters that kidnappers were on the road.

“The road is safe as a joint team of the military, police and forest guards patrol the road and the bushes. Let no one be scared. Opi-Ugwuogo Road is safe as the Enugu State Government has adequately contained any form of insecurity on that road,” he said.


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