Motorists plying Kaduna- Zaria express way were stranded on Sunday night after a soldier was alleged to have shot a trailer driver for refusing to offer him N500 as bribe.
The victim, Abba Saminu, was shot on his right leg.
The incident occurred close to Mararrabar Jos in the area around 11:00 pm.
When the news spread, his fellow drivers protested the shooting by blocking the highway with their vehicles for hours making it difficult for motorists to get across.
The victim was rushed to saint Gerald’s hospital Kaduna by people who found him in pool of his blood.
Narrating the incident from his hospital bed, the victim said, “We were on way back to Kaduna with Irish potatoes inside the vehicle when we came across a check point mounted by the soldiers around 10 pm on Sunday close to Mararrabar Jos.
“They ordered us to park as I was about parking by the roadside, one of the soldiers demanded 500 naira from me. I told him I can only afford N100, so he shouted at us and ordered us out of the vehicle,” he said.
Mr. Abba added that immediately he alighted from the vehicle another soldier slapped him.
“When I turned to run I heard a gunshot so I fell down. They entered their vehicle and zoomed off. It was some people that later picked me in my pool of blood and rushed me to the hospital,” he said.
Mr. Abba’s employer, Alhaji Ibrahim, was at the hospital and appealed to the military authority and government to bring an end to harassment against drivers by soldiers at the high ways.
He said drivers are always subjected to all kinds of intimidation and harassment by security agents stationed on high ways for refusing to offer them bribe.
“We know that their leaders didn’t send them to be harassing people but the soldiers always demand bribe from our drivers on highways, if they refuse to give they will be subjected to all sorts of harassment,” he said.
Mr. Ibrahim described the soldiers’ attitude towards drivers as illegal calling on the government to put an end to it.
The Spokesperson of 1 Mechanized Division Nigerian Army, Abdul Usman, a colonel, has still not responded to requests for comments despite promising to update journalists on the situation.
When contacted on phone he simply said some personnel have been drafted to investigate the issue.
“We are trying to find out exactly what happened. Some personnel have gone to find out. We will give you details later,” he said.
Subsequent calls and text messages sent to his number was not responded to.
But Special Assistant Media and Publicity to the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the incident.
He said the state governor directed his deputy, Bala Bantex, and the State Commissioner of Police to visit the scene to plead with the drivers’ union to allow stranded vehicles access to road.
“The state government received the information and the governor immediately directed his deputy and state commissioner of police to visit the scene so as to bring the situation under control,” he said.
Mr. Aruwan also pleaded with the citizens to avoid taking laws into their hands, saying they should always channel their grievances to the right authority.
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