Taxi drivers protest govt harassment, extortion in Abuja

Taxi drivers in Abuja on Friday protested against what they called intimidation and harassment by a joint task force that includes police, V.I.O, Road Safety and Civil Defense.

The drivers marched in large numbers between Berger and Wuse Market, obstructing traffic and movement of cars.

They accused the task force of extortion, and illegally impounding their vehicles, arresting and even using electric shock to torture them.

An executive member of the drivers’ union, David Edo, said the leaders of the union have dialogued with the joint task force and F.C.T Administration, yet nothing has been done.

“They always impose exorbitant fines us, they say we must paint our cars green yet they still collect N25,000 from painted vehicles and N35,000 from unpainted ones,” Mr. Edo said.

“They will arrest and tow your taxi if you don’t pay up. They will even beat you up and when you pay they will still come back next two weeks demanding another money. For a year you are spending up to N200 thousand paying fines. It is not fair, they see us as ATM machines where they can withdraw money at will.”

Another driver, Mr. Dapko, said he was once tortured with an electric shock teaser after his arrest by the taskforce.

“They treat us as common criminals, they intimidate and harass us and when you disagree with them they beat you and lock you up. They have used an electric shock teaser on me. We Want the minister to give us space, He should dissolve the Joint Task Force,” Mr. Dapko said.


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