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Rivers Dispatch Riders Cry Out Over Soldiers’ Harassment, Extortion




Scores of dispatch riders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, protested against what they termed continued harassment and alleged seizure of their motorcycles by men in Army uniform.

Most of the protesters, who rode to the premises of Cool FM/Wazobia/Info in the metropolis to express their annoyance, also alleged that some local government task force men were extorting them daily on the pretext of enforcing the purchase of stickers.

Speaking randomly on Nigeria Info (92.3FM) as monitored by our correspondent, the protesters expressed sadness over the activities of the uniformed men, saying they were scared of asking them to identify themselves to avoid being hurt.

“They cannot even identify themselves. You will just see people wearing Army uniform. If you try to shout or do anything, they will kill you right there and nobody will hold them responsible,” one of the protesters explained.

Another dispatch rider said, “These people wearing Army uniform, we don’t really know if they are real soldiers. Once they stop you, your motorcycle is gone.

“It is a big challenge for us; we want the Army and the police to come to our aid, because we are tired.”

“Some of them will say they are task force members and flash identity cards in your face.

Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday

“Sometime, they will come in groups inside a taxi or van. They will stop us and ask us to bring our particulars. In the process of opening your box, one of them will mount your bike and before you know it, the bike is gone.”

Another dispatch rider stated, “I was going towards Eliozu (in Port Harcourt). I saw one of our men with only helmet and asked him what happened. He said a Sienna car just blocked him while he was riding.

“So, he had to park. The next thing was that some people disembarked from the Sienna in Army uniform and collected his bike. One thing with them is if you refuse to give them the key, they can shoot you.”

The dispatch riders also complained of multiple taxation by local government task force members, who they claimed force them into buying different stickers.

When contacted, the spokesman for the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Charles Ekeocha, expressed surprise at the allegation.

Ekeocha promised to get back to our correspondent, but had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

The spokesman for the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, did not take calls put across to his mobile telephone and had yet to respond to a text message sent to him by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.     ,, is an authoritative car blog in Nigeria. Its objective is to get Nigerians and a wider audience to be more informed about automobiles, the automotive sector and transport infrastructure. Over the years, we have been instrumental in creating immeasurable public awareness about automobiles and their maintenance, safety and traffic laws, amongst others. ...Your mobility, our priority. NK

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