By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” Pandemonium broke out in parts of Makurdi, yesterday, following a bloody clash between men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and commercial motorcycle operators popularly known as Okada.
The okada riders, who have persistently refused to comply with the mandatory use of crash helmet in the state, were protesting the arrest and seizure of motorbikes belonging to their members by the Benue State Command of the FRSC.
The animosity between the two bodies got to a head, yesterday, when members of the Motorcycle Riders Association trooped out in their numbers to the area of the town where operatives of the FRSC were on duty to enforce compliance to the use of crash helmet and reflective jackets.
The okada operators, who resorted to violence as a means of protesting the new policy, vented their anger on the FRSC officials, destroying their operational vehicles and injuring some personnel in the process.
The action, which lasted several minutes, was only brought under control when the State Commissioner of Police detailed men from his command to quell the crisis which was almost hijacked by hoodlums.
When contacted the Benue State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Sobowale Gbenga-Oke decried the action of the okada riders, stressing that his men were only doing their jobs to ensure safety on the roads, regretting that â€œthose we are out to protect are now hunting us. It is rather unfortunate.â€