By Ozioruva Aliu
SEVERAL commuters were stranded in parts of Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, as taxi and minibus operators withdrew their services over alleged extortion by members of the National Union of Roads Transport Workers, NURTW, and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN.
A leader of the protesters who stormed the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, secretariat, Richard Owali, said: “Government told us that the ticket we will pay daily is N400. NURTW takes N100, RTEAN collects 100, local government collects N100 while state government also collects N100. If you are moving to another local government area, you pay extra N100.
“Our problem is that after paying this N400 to the state government account, these two unions still send their men to our parks and forcefully collects N200 each from us. If you don’t pay, they will beat you up. When we challenge them, they mobilise more of their members from several parks to attack us. We are tired and we want government to come to our rescue. Government should tell us who to pay to.”
Another driver, Emmanuel Makachi, said: “Most of our drivers have been injured; many of them are not here because of the injuries they have sustained.”
Efforts to reach the leadership of the two unions were not successful as the leaders did not pick any of their calls.