Commercial activities were brought to a standstill, Friday as commercial bus and taxi drivers blocked major roads in parts of Adamawa over alleged extortion, harassment and indiscriminate arrest of members by the police and soldiers.
The protests, which took place in Taraba, Ganye, and Mayo- Belwa town commenced after police officers, who mounted check-points allegedly beat up a commercial driver for not giving bribe.
The development was said to have angered the drivers who surged into the streets.
The drivers claimed that police personnel and soldiers always mounted barriers from which they forced drivers to pay N200 and above before being allowed to pass.
”They (police) mounted their check-point today, Friday being the market day of Mayo –Belwa. As usual, I gave them N50. But outrightly, they refused and demanded that I must give them N200, which I declined, so they started beating me up.
”This angered drivers, who blocked this road as you can see. And we will not go anywhere until justice is done,’’ said Salihu, the driver reportedly assaulted.
Also corroborating, a truck driver, Emmanuel Daniel said ”uniformed men, mostly police, SARS, soldiers and members of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) have turned commercial drivers into drain pipes and are milking us anyhow they like”.
”On market days, they mount their check-points collecting bribes, shamelessly. Soldiers will demand not less than N200, so also police and other uniformed men,” he said.
Our correspondent observed that the protest paralysed movement for many hours as travellers had to wait.
Meanwhile, the police says it has deployed its men across the routes to ensure that the situation is contained.
”As I am talking to you now, the CP had since directed the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the area to swing into action and apprehend the bribe-collecting cops, and whoever is found wanting would be dealt with accordingly,’’ police spokesman, Othman Abubakar said.