Bwari - Members of the Commercial Taxi Drivers Union in Bwari, FCT, on Wednesday staged a protest against what they called harassment and maltreatment by Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO).
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Ushafa Community, the drivers said that the activities of the road traffic officials caused road crashes.
The drivers said that their protest was triggered by the death of a pregnant woman last Saturday in a car accident caused by officials, who tried to maltreat a commercial driver who was in motion.
While some of the drivers carried tree branches, some others ensured they forced passengers in painted taxis to disembark to allow their colleagues to participate in the protest.
Mr Mohammed Daudu, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said they were protesting to attract the attention of the Federal Government and to demand its intervention to stop the incessant harassment.
"They disguise themselves in mufti to arrest defaulters.
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"The officials waylaid a driver on Saturday and in their bid to catch him, they hooked the hand break in the vehicle.
"The incident resulted in the car hitting an electric pole; that was the main cause of the death of a pregnant woman who was a passenger in the vehicle.
"We have embarked on the strike to press home our protest that no commercial vehicle will carry passengers from Bwari to the central area.
"We appeal to the government to intervene in the matter and also help us to recover the 20 impounded vehicles belonging to our members from the officials.
"The officials must release our vehicles and give them back to us.
"The officials should wear their uniform when on duty instead of wearing mufti and disguising as passengers intimidating us."
Speaking with NAN, the Divisional Police Officer of Bwari, Mr Danladi Isa said that the protest, which started at about 6 a.m., attracted security operatives, who went to the scene to ensure the safety of lives and property of citizens.
According to him, normalcy has been restored to the community and everybody can go about their business.
Early hours of this morning, we received information that the taxi drivers union (was) demonstrating at Ushafa junction.
I quickly mobilised my men and I am still on ground; I have addressed them and they have complained about maltreatment by the officials and that was the basis of their protest this morning.
I have talked with them on the need to conduct themselves peacefully; a lot of them have dispersed; the road is clear and commuters are moving without hindrance on the highway.”
NAN reports that an attempt to get the view of the Chief Officer of the VIO, Bwari Branch on the matter did not yield result, as he rebuffed all efforts to have him speak.