•Restores normalcy after protest grounded activities in parts of Abuja
The FCT Police Command has assured members of the Public that normalcy has been restored at Wuse and its environs following a misunderstanding that broke out between operatives of the Directorate of Road Transport Services (VIO) Taskforce and cab operators close to Wuse market.
The Public Relations Officer, FCT Police Command, DSP Anjuguri J. Manzah, in a statement on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Police to protect lives and property in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Manzah urged members of the public to always follow the right channel in expressing their grievances instead of resorting to self-help and causing damage to property.
He said: “Contrary to speculations making the rounds, members of the public should note that no life was lost nor was anybody injured from the fracas and the situation has been brought under control.
” It is also pertinent to state that some hoodlums who were trying to take advantage of the false rumour to cause the problem in FCT have been arrested and the investigation is in progress.”
He enjoined residents to go about their lawful businesses as adequate security measures have been deployed by the Command to protect lives and property in the territory.
The Police statement is in response to the protest that started from Wuse market in Abuja spread to other parts of the Nigerian capital subsided by 2pm.
According to reports, the protesters blocked vehicles and harassed motorists driving around the market, the largest in the Nigerian capital.
The protest spread to Berger, a major transit point in Abuja, with thousands of motorists and commuters stranded.
Several protesters and witnesses were also reported to have confirmed that the protest started after the driver of a painted taxi was shot by a task force in the market on Wednesday morning.
Giving an account of the event, one of the protesting taxi drivers, Mr. David Johnson, said the victim was shot by a soldier on the task force.
“That is how the task force normally terrorises us,” Johnson said.
But according to the Police statement has been nobody had died.
Another protester, who identified himself as Orne, said the shot victim was not dead but was rushed to the hospital.
“We won’t take it anymore,” he said.
“The driver was shot by a soldier. When he fell down, they (the task force) quickly carried him and dumped him in his vehicle. I saw blood gushing out from the victim at the time they sped off to escape mob attack,” another witness said.
Another taxi driver named Emmanuel stated that “those task force are nothing short of evils. They harass us on daily basis, detain our cars and extort money from us without retiring it to the government.
Danladi, another taxi driver, also that he was arrested about six times by officials of the Vehicle Inspection Office, VIO, and the task force.
“In each arrest, I had to part away with the amount from N6,000 naira, N7,000 naira up to even N15,000. I’m a pastor, I will not tell lies to you. They never gave me a single receipt.
“This shows that all the monies they collected from us are being pocketed and shared among themselves.
Some armed police officers were later seen around Wuse and Berger areas trying to calm the situation, while the market remained shut.
The armed security officials also cleared the various barricades put on Abuja roads by the protesters.
By 1:00 p.m. many of the blocked roads along Wuse and Berger areas had been cleared while several taxis still remained wrongly parked on the roads.
The taxi drivers could be heard saying they wanted to march to the office of the VIO and the task force to continue with the protest.
Credits| Later part of the report adapted from Premium Times