ASABA COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLISTS’ PROTEST – COMTOA Taskforce DG, Police React

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Hundreds of commercial motorcyclists in the Delta State Capital Territory, on Monday embarked on a violent and destructive protest over an alleged harassment by the Monitoring Taskforce of the Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Operators Association (COMTOA), Delta state.

The protest was said to have been triggered by the death of two of the commercial motorcyclists during a clash with members of the Taskforce and the police at the Midwifery market axis of the State Capital Territory a couple of days ago.

The target of attack by the protesters was the office of the Taskforce, located in the Old Secretariat on Summit road, where there were several impounded motorcycles and tricycles.

When they were done, the Taskforce Office, some impounded tricycles and motorcycles, the Oshimili South Welfare Office of the State Ministry of Women Affairs, the State Cash Transfer Unit Office, among other facilities, had suffered vandalize.

Speaking in the incident, the Director General of the COMTOA Taskforce, Chief Uchenna Okafor, said those involved in the protest were mainly operators from the northern part of the country, otherwise known as Arewa, who had consistently violated the stipulated guidelines for their operation.

Chief Okafor explained that okada riders in the State Capital Territory were supposed to close work at 8pm, and tricycle operators 10pm, but that the recalcitrant ones among them, including the protesters, had chosen not to comply with the guideline.

The Taskforce DG revealed that the protesters decided to strike because some of their members who were arrested for violating the law were to appear in court today (Monday).

He said most of the protesters were armed with shovels and diggers, suggesting that they were artisans mobilized to take part in the protest and called on the state government to control the activities of artisans commonly found in many locations across Asaba and the environs.

On the alleged killing of two of them by the police, Chief Okafor explained that some of the motorcyclists were armed and engaged the police in a crossfire, pointing out that the deceased might have been hit by bullets from their own guns.

Meanwhile, the State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of eight suspects and the impoundage of 53 motorcycles in connection with the protest.

The Command’s spokesperson, DSP Bright Edafe, said Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, ACP George Efeizomor, led teams of operatives to restore peace and normalcy in the Asaba metropolis.

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