Govt task force, drivers in fierce battle in Owerri

By Our Reporter

Economic and social activities came to a stand-still last Monday in Owerri city centre when commercial vehicle operators clashed with members of a task force who tried to bring sanity on the major roads in the capital city of Owerri.
The fierce battle took place on Douglas/Edede and Mbaise roads junction where bus drivers and tricycle operators engaged the task force members in exchange of blows, with some hauling stones and sticks at the task force comprising the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), ENTRACO and Biometric officials.
The fight endangered the lives and property, with passers-by and commuters scampering for safety.
Christian Voice gathered that the task force was controlling the commercial drivers said to be causing obstruction on the roads as they indiscriminately discharged or pick passengers at unauthorized spots.
An eye witness, however, alleged that the task force extended their tentacles to private car owners from whom they extorted money.
Some of the drivers alleged that that task force members were partial as they had some “sacred cows” who they allow to load on the unauthorized places undisturbed.
A tricycle (Keke) operator said, “Taxi has no garage.  Why are they harassing us? We should pick and discharge passengers wherever.”
The ENTRACO and NURTW recently had a meeting where, sources said, it was agreed that parks, bus stops and taxi loading bays would be mapped out at convenient places for both transporters and commuters.
The drivers said that they were waiting for government to unfold its plans only to find the task force harassing them and extorting money from them.