The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, has ordered the immediate dismantling of security check points across the state.
The Governor’s order came on the heels of a 4-hour girdlock along the Minna-Suleja highway on Thursday, July 4, caused by protesting tanker drivers.
Eyewitnesses report that the tanker drivers blocked the highway in protest against the alleged high handedness of security personnel at the check points.
It was gathered that security personnel at the check points were in the habit of collecting N2,000 from tanker drivers plying roads in the state.
When Governor Bello visited the scene, one of the drivers, Babangida Aliyu, reported the damage of a truck by the security personnel after delaying the driver for an hour for refusing to pay the N2,000, adding that “It is only in Niger state that drivers are subjected to this kind of humiliation by security personnel demanding money without receipt.”
Reacting to the incident, Governor Bello ordered the dismantling of all road blocks across the state, saying that it was necessary “to enable ease of doing business, safeguard and guarantee free passage of goods and travellers in the state”.
He however had strong words for the tanker drivers whom he said showed indiscipline by blocking the highway.
“How on earth will you block a Federal highway disrupting socio-economic activities”, he questioned.
“There are several ways to channel grievances to appropriate authority for prompt action”.
“We are operating a responsible government that is concerned about the yearnings and aspirations of the people irrespective of tribe, religion and political differences”.
“Some people are just passing through while others are going to hospital and others are on transit, what justification do you have to block the road?”.
“No matter what has happened, you are not supposed to block the road, we will not tolerate this act of indiscipline in our state and anybody found wanting will be arrested and prosecuted”, he warned.
In the meantime, the Niger State Police Commissioner, Adamu Usman, has assured that the Police will investigate the tanker drivers’ allegations.