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Tricycle Drivers, FRSC, Police Clash in Bayelsa

todayAugust 18, 2022 1

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Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

More than 50 tricycles popular called Keke Napep where damaged as clash between officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and men of the Nigerian Police almost turned bloody in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital  yesterday.

The clash, which lasted for about  four hours, left many people injured and over 50 Keke damaged by the rampaging policemen who were angered by the effrontery of the Keke drivers who blocked the ever busy Mbaima-Yenagoa expressway for over three hours.

The Keke drivers were protesting the over zealousness and exhortation by men of the FRSC who had made them their primary target for traffic violation and other form of offence in order to exhort money from them.

Trouble started around 8:30am yesterday  when officials of the agency lay siege on the Imgbi junction of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road, with some security agents from sister agencies, where they mounted a check point, impounding tricycles who violate one offence or the other.

Many of the Keke drivers did not take kindly with the way and manner their colleagues were been manhandled by FRSC officials and resisted them, blocking the major highway with their tricycles.

The blockage of the busy road led to a heavy traffic gridlock for hours just as the security men attached to the FRSC officials and the Keke drivers engaged in a fight.

After hours of the blockage of the road, men of the Police were invited to quench the raging storm and all hell was let loose and they descended on the Keke drivers with wipe, guns and teargas, injuring many of them in the process.

While many of ran away leaving their Keke, the policeman damaged over 50 of tricycles as they make way for the traffic to flow.

The use of the teargas and gunshots from the policemen caused pandemonium as many road users were seen scampering for safety while many were affected my the teargas.

Most of the Keke drivers, who spoke to our correspondent narrated their everyday ordeal in the hands of the road safety officials, who they said exhort them on daily basis under the drivers license, vehicles papers or over loading.

They also said most of the monies being collected from them are not paid to the banks but to the personnel on the road or at the office without receipts.

Reacting to the clash, the Sector Commander,  FRSC, Ibrahim Usman, said the commission  would not deviate from the norms and Bayelsans  should not see its activities as witch-hunt.

According to him, the mandate of FRSC is to protect life and property on Nigeria roads and that mandate is clear, adding that as far as the commission is concerned in the state its mandate is to enforce the road traffic laws within the ambit of the laws.”

“And we have the mandate to enforce these laws , but what we found out is that most road users do not want obey the laws,.”

He further stated that these laws are made in a such a way they are applicable to Nigerians and Bayelsans inclusive, as the commission has not created any law  for only Bayelsa state as they are national laws.

In his reaction, he said what obtained in Bayelsa state and which led to the recent crisis, was that the tricycle ridders after a series of meetings with them  have declined to obey the laws. He explained that  part of the laws include: over loading; operating without licences ; rule violations, obstructions;  and the command will continue to  object infringements.

“ We said, Bayelsans are law abiding citizens and knowledgeable,but they want to infringe on the laws”

He said in  several fora, he had cause to counsell them on what could cause accidents, among which majorly is over loading and statistics have shown that most accidents, fatal ones are traceable to over loading as excess passengers is detrimental.

“The manufacturer and road worthiness law says the tricycle can only carry four persons including the ridder and this  is flagrantly  be ignored”

He said the main concern of FRSC is that statistics available at Federal Medical Center ( FMC ) and other hospitals showed that these crashes were traceable to over loading of the tricycles and we have  not relented in educating them on the dangers of over loading and this crusades have been taken to motor parks, churches and mosques , as well radios and televisions.

“ Consequences of accidents are grave, hence we cannot allowed a group of persons to cause death and  maim innocent persons  and it is our duty   to enforce traffic laws”

On allegation that it’s men collect N10,000  from any tricycle ridders carrying passengers in front, he said that constitutes  an offence as they are ignorant of the  laws  that  constituted offences, as over loading is an infringement.

He therefore, appealed to road users in Bayelsa to obey traffic laws and for a harmonious relationship , they should obtain their valid driving licences , avoid over loading and other offences as no FRSC officer will confiscate any tricycle  and vehicles without committing an offence.

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todayAugust 18, 2022

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