Commercial taxi drivers in Rivers State came out in their numbers to protest the killing of their colleague by members of the government-owned Task Force on Street Trading and illegal Motor Parks.
It was gathered that the victim was attacked and beaten beyond recognition by the taskforce members and was rushed to the hospital on Sunday, March 12, 2023, where he died.
According to sources, who spoke to journalist, the victim had parked his bus by the roadside for his passengers who had arrived at their exit point to alight, when the task force men came.
An argument ensued between the driver and the task force officials and it resulted in the beating of the driver. It was learned that the victim died at the hospital where he was rushed after he had collapsed during that attack on him.
However, friends and drivers in the area took to the streets of Rumuokoro and Ikwerre road, stopping every form of vehicular movement in the area.
When news filtered in that the victim had died at the hospital, his aggrieved friends and colleagues, on Monday, March 13, staged a peaceful protest at Rumuokoro in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
The protest resulted in heavy human traffic from Rumuokoro to Rupokwu, leaving passengers stranded, while some trekked from Rupokwu junction to Rumuokoro due to absence of vehicles.
Also, drivers from other parts of the state who wanted to ply the route, either made U-turn or used alternative routes. Others parked by the roadside and disembarked their passengers for fear of being attacked by protesting drivers.
One of the drivers said: “The protest is to honour our dead colleague. We have resolved that we will not offer our services until government bans the boys that are doing this.”
An eyewitness said the task force officials involved in the beating have been arrested.
Also, leaders of the drivers’ union, who addressed the protesters, assured that the matter would be taken to court.
Spokesperson for the State Police Command, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, who confirmed the incident, said the culprits have been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.