‎DEVELOPING STORY: Wuse market protest spreads, grounds activities in many parts of Abuja

Protesters blocking vehicles and harassing motorists driving around Wuse market.

The protest that started from Wuse market in Abuja spread to other parts of the Nigerian capital but had started subsiding by 1:00 p.m.

The protesters blocked vehicles and harassed motorists driving around the market, the largest in the Nigerian capital.

The protest spread to Berger, a major transit point in Abuja, with thousands of motorists and commuters stranded.

Several protesters and witnesses confirmed that the protest started after the driver of a painted taxi was shot by a task force in the market on Wednesday morning.

David Johnson, one of the protesting taxi drivers, said the victim was shot by a soldier on the task force.

“That is how the task force normally terrorise us,” Mr. Johnson told PREMIUM TIMES.

There has been no official confirmation on whether or not the victim died.

Another protester, who identified himself as Orne, said the shot victim was not dead but was rushed to the hospital.

“We won’t take it anymore,” he said.

“The driver was shot by a soldier. When he fell down, they (the task force) quickly carried him and dumped him in his vehicle. I saw blood gushing out from the victim at the time they sped off to escape mob attack,” another witness said.

Another taxi driver named Emmanuel, told PREMIUM TIMES that, “those task force are nothing short of evils. They harass us on daily basis, detain our cars and extort money from us without retiring it to the government.”

Danladi, another taxi driver, told a PREMIUM TIMES reporter that he was arrested about six times by officials of the Vehicle Inspection Office, VIO, and the task force.

“In each arrest I had to part away with amount from N6,000 naira, N7,000 naira up to even N15,000. I’m a pastor, I will not tell lies to you. They never gave me a single receipt.

“This shows that all the monies they collected from us are being pocketed and shared among themselves.

Some armed police officers were seen around Wuse and Berger areas trying to calm the situation, while the market remained shut.

The armed security officials also cleared the various barricades put on Abuja roads by the protesters.

By 1:00 p.m. many of the blocked roads along Wuse and Berger areas had been cleared while several taxis still remained wrongly parked on the roads.

The taxi drivers could be heard saying they wanted to march to the office of the VIO and the task force to continue with the protest.

More details later…

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