Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Motorists were on Sunday forced to abandon their vehicles and trek home as heavy truck drivers blocked major roads in parts of Gombe over alleged extortion and harassment by the task-force set up by the state government to enforce the compulsory use of the Tankers Parking Bay in the state.
While commercial activities were brought to a standstill the drivers told Daily Sun that the action is the beginning of a rankle in the state if the government or the task-force do not go back to the initial agreement they bought agreed on in the use of the parking bay.
The drivers alleged that the task-force has right from inception worked against the drivers. Malam Sani is one of the drivers involved in the protest who told Daily Sun that he was charged by the mobile court attached to the task-force to pay N200, 000 fine for parking to buy recharge his phone while on his way to Yola in Adamawa state.
“One of our driver whose truck broke dawn around mile 3 in the metropolis was also arrested and ask to pay N50, 000,” Malam Sani stated.
Speaking to Daily Sun during the protests, which took place at rainbow around about, around NNPC depot, Tumfure and parts Yola road in the metropolis, the deputy chairman of the heavy truck association in the state Auwalu Abdullahi said leaders of the association directed the drivers to block major roads in the state capital protest over activities of the task-force which is unbecoming.
He said: “We are tired of having our drivers charged to pay fine over an incident which is not their doing. There is no way you will arrest a driver whose truck broked down and ask him to pay fine. We tried to call the task-force to order because we had an agreement with them on how to embark on the enforcement”.
He added that the development was what angered the drivers who surged into the streets. The over 20 angered truck drivers, who blocked the road claimed that the rod block will remain until justice is served.
Leaders or any member of the task-force could be sighted at the protest scene by our correspondent as of the time of press, however, personnels of the Gombe State Police Command were seen hanging around the scene as the protest paralyzed movement for hours as travelers had to wait.