Karu - Some commercial motorcyclists protesting the imposition of levies on their members, on Tuesday in Karu, a suburb of Abuja, clashed with officials of a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The NGO, Centre for Empowerment and Development of Commercial Motorcyclists (CEDECOM), had attempted to collect levies from the motorcyclists when the clashes occured.
An eyewitness, Amechi Paschal, who is a staff of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, said the riders complained that the levies imposed by CEDECOM were on the high side.
"They have been telling them to register since last year, and to pay for identity cards and jackets.
"They started arresting them two days ago when they failed to comply; this is what led to the protest today."
Pascal said that the initial security agents sent to arrest the situation could not curtail the violence until more men were sent.
Another eyewitness, Felix Edet, complained that the slow response of the security agents did not help matters.
"If the protesters had wanted to cause serious damage, they would have done so before the security operatives arrived," Edet said.
A motorcyclist, Samuel Bala, said that their grouse with CEDECOM was that the identity cards issued to them were not recognised by the authorities.
"Whenever we show our identity cards, policemen don’t recognise them and they arrest us," he said.
A staff of CEDECOM, Ezika Ikechukwu, said that the NGO had a specific programme for motorcyclists in the FCT.
"CEDECOM programme is meant to enhance security and to prevent accidents and crime within the FCT.
"The idea is to have a data base of motorcyclists in order to be able to check some of their excesses," he said.
Ikechukwu said that some bad elements among the riders, who did not want to be captured in the data base, were the ones causing the problem.
He also explained that money realised from the levies collected from them (motorcyclists) would be used for their welfare.
"We are already planning to purchase ambulances manned by medical doctors to give first aid services to motorcyclists involved in road accidents."