Road transport workers in Plateau state who ply the Jos-Abuja, Jos-Akwanga and Jos-Makurdi road on Tuesday said they were gearing up for a major protest to press for the release of four of their members who were arrested during a peaceful protest against extortion by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Monday.
Daily Trust gathered that hundreds of road transport workers on Monday blocked the Hawan-Kibo highway which links the state to the FCT and other north central states to protest what they describe as “constant extortion” by men of the FRSC.
The union members who visited Daily Trust office in Jos said they often part with N3, 200 for every trip as bribe to the government officials especially around four major spots including Science School Kuru, Pole wire, Forest and Badeh.
“Even, when we have all our vehicle particulars, driver’s license and other instruments intact, the road safety officials will come up with a fake excuse like the windscreen is cracked or the booth which contains passenger’s belongings is open and so you have to pay. We are tired of the extortion,” they said.
While demanding the release of their members, the workers alleged that the arrested members had been tortured before they were arrested not minding that they were fasting.
They told Daily Trust that Monday’s protest was independent of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state because they had lost confidence in the union and claimed were in connivance with FRSC officials.
However, Operation Safe Haven said none of the NURTW members was in their custody as the case had been handed over to the police.
Plateau State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Tyopev Terna confirmed the transfer of the case saying the four suspects were being interrogated.
When contacted, the FRSC Public Education Officer, Andrew Bala, said one of their men on patrol had equally been injured during the protest but was recuperating.
Bala said; “the leadership of the union have disowned them because they said it happened without their knowledge. Our message is that once people obey the rules and do the right thing then they should have nothing to fear on the highway.”
When contacted, the state Chairman of the NURTW, Yushau Muhammad, who is also a Special Adviser to Governor Simon Bako Lalong, said he was in a meeting with security agents and promised to call our reporter back but did not.
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