By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
LORRY drivers plying the dilapidated Enugu –Onitsha expressway have said their reason for blocking the highway for several hours on Thursday after fake revenue agents punctured tyres of their colleague over N500 ticket, was due to accumulated anger as a result of the condition of the road and worrisome multiple taxation by agents of government.
Commuters, especially those travelling from the northern parts of the country and those heading to the north from the commercial city of Onitsha, were stranded for more than six hours along the highway as lorry drivers blocked all the lanes with their vehicles at the Odumodu and Awkuzu junctions to protest the puncturing of two tyres of their colleague by some people who claimed to be Anambra State government revenue agents.
The development forced many drivers to divert to the old Enugu-Onitsha, thereby resulting in a gridlock in the area. The two boys, Chibuike Nwobu from Awka and Chukwujekwu Nwankwo from Umunya, who punctured the tires were subsequently arrested by the police and later transferred to the state headquarters of the Department of State Service, DSS, in Awka, where they were being detained.
Nwankwo told Saturday Vanguard that they were sent by a man who claimed to be working for the state government and who assured them that the police were fully aware of the operation.
“The man showed us a paper authorizing him for the job and also told us that the police were fully aware of the operation. In my presence, he bought drinks which he said were for the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, who would allow them operate on the expressway. He also told us to inform the DPO whose office was very close to where we operated, if any driver defaulted,” Nwankwo said.
Although the drivers blocked the road at about 12 noon and eventually reopened it after more than six hours, when an official of the Anambra State government paid N400,000 to the leadership of the drivers’ union as the cost of the punctured tyres, some of the drivers who spoke to Saturday Vanguard said apart from the incident, their main reason for blocking the road was to express their anger over the condition of the road and the multiple taxes they were being subjected to.