Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
At least five persons were allegedly injured while over 70 tricycles damaged as tricycle (keke Napep) operators clashed with a factional group in Onitsha, Anambra State.
It was gathered that trouble started when Keke Drivers Welfare association protested alleged extortion of members in a park in Onitsha when another rival group swooped on them leading to injuries.
The operators had blocked the ever-busy Onitsha- Owerri road and some parts of Onitsha main market with their tricycles, to protest the battering of one of their members at Onitsha main market by suspected illegal revenue touts for allegedly refusing to pay N1,000 daily levy.
The Vice Chairman of the Keke group, Mr Ekene Ifediata, said that “the previous day (Monday) one of our members was beaten to a coma by some touts at Onitsha main market, but luckily, he was revived in the hospital. We thought he was dead. About four others were also injured because they refused to be extorted.
“They collect N1,000 from each member at Onitsha main market and another N1,000 at Owerri road by another group when the state government has banned all manners of revenue collections. Governor Obiano and the Commissioner for Trade, markets, Commerce and Wealth Creation, Dr. Christian Madubuko, should come to our rescue.
“They damaged over 70 of our tricycles and each of the windscreens they damaged is about N10,000. If nothing is done now, they will continue to extort and assault us as they boasted to have authority from the state government,” he stated.
In his reaction, the Chairman of Anambra North Vigilante Service (AVS), Chief Chinenye Ihenko, who confirmed the incident said that two boys were arrested and handed over to the police during the fracas.