By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”COMMERCIAL motorcyclists in Warri, Delta State, yesterday engaged agents of the caretaker committee of Delta State Commercial Motorcyclists in a fisticuff over alleged imposition of levies.
Reports said that an undisclosed number of motorcyclists were injured by their attackers, who also allegedly stole some motorcycles and that the state government had ordered a stoppage to the collection of the levies.
Things almost took a riotous turn in the oil city, prompting the Delta Waterways and Security Committee (DWSC), which was holding a meeting at the Governorâ€™s Office Annex in Warri to dispatch its officials to intervene in the dispute.
Chairman of the DWSC, Mr. George Timini, said the matter had calmed down and that officials of the security agency had to accompany the protesting motorcyclists to the Warri garage to sort out the problem with the caretaker committee.
â€œBesides, I called the commissioner for transport and other relevant officials and they will be meeting with the motorcyclists and the caretaker committee tomorrow to iron out the bone of contention,â€ he added.
Comrade Blessing Obinobi of the Coalition of Integrity and Festus Idayi,Â who spoke for the motorcyclists, said they were not part of any union or association and were against the N100 fee imposed on them by the committee for ticket, apron, helmet and other things.
Specifically, they said the committee was collecting N20 from them on a daily basis as welfare ticket, adding that anybody who refused to pay was intimidated with area boys and security agents, in addition to impounding motorcycles.
The motorcyclists, numbering more than 2,000, had barricaded different roads in Warri, including the Warri-Aladja Expressway and as at 3.00 pm , they were still laying siege to the Governorâ€™s Office, thinking that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was around.
A copy of the N20 receipt issued by the committee to one of the motorcyclists, which was made available to Vanguard, had the logo of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on it.