HomeFeaturesDrivers Block Niger Bridge Over Extortion, Cause Gridlock

Drivers Block Niger Bridge Over Extortion, Cause Gridlock

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There was traffic gridlock on Wednesday when members of the Tipper Drivers Association protested and blocked the Uga-Onitsha-Asaba Expressway leading to the River Niger Bridge, over alleged reports of extortions by agents of both Anambra and Delta state governments.

The protesters complained that they were always levied N2,700 after loading sand into their tippers at Asaba, Delta State capital, and on getting to Anambra State, they would still be asked to pay N3,000, a situation they said they were kicking against.

The situation caused pandemonium on the highway as motorists remained stranded for several hours on the same spot as there was no movement on both lanes of the ever-busy expressway.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, an executive of the association who identified himself as Onodugo Onochie, lamented that they were being extorted in Anambra State even in the face of dilapidated roads.

Onochie said, “The revenue agents always insisted on the payment of N3,000. This is extortion which must not continue anymore. This prompted the tipper drivers to use their vehicles to block the expressway.

“Because of the bad roads in Onitsha that damage our vehicles, we resolved to now load sand at Asaba, Delta State to save us from the damage to our vehicles.

“So, this morning, some of us who loaded at Asaba paid N2,700 they demanded from each tipper in a day and on getting to Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge, precisely at Uga Junction, adjacent the military checkpoint, some boys stopped us and demanded that we should pay N3,000 before we could move.

“They claimed that they were agents of the state government and the information for them to be collecting the levies had been passed since last December and we told them that we were not aware of that.

“They then said we should pay N3,000 and I told them that personally that what I had was N1,000 and they said no and we had no other option than to block the road to end the saga once and for all.

“It is not that we don’t want to pay but we want to know how much to pay daily or weekly as the case may be and not each time a tipper passes, they collect N3000 from the driver. It is a pain on us.”

All efforts made by the security personnel who came to the scene of the protest to dismantle the roadblock mounted by the protesters were resisted by the protesters.

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