Tricycle riders in Aba, Abia state on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest against the extortion of their members by the police and army personnel.
The protest which began on Obohia Road, proceeded to Cemetery Road, Ngwa Road, Mosque Street, Kent Road and terminated at the Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators Association office on Ehi Road.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions “No more N50 for police and N100 for army,” “Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop must stop,” and “We do not want police, army extortion again in Aba”.
They said that they paid N100 as “security levy’’ at army checkpoints while the police collected N50 at their check points from them.
The protesters alleged that the police and army personnel were arresting them and disturbing their business if they refused to part with the amount.
One of the tricycle operators, Mr Nicholas Eke, said the protest began because they did not like the way the police in Aba were maltreating, intimidating and collecting N50 from them.
“The loaders collect N20, the police will collect N50 leaving the rider with N90 which will not be enough for us to buy fuel and have reserve to meet our financial obligations,’’ he said.
Another rider, Chidiadi Amuchienwa, said that the riders were tired of the trouble the police and the army were giving them in Aba as the security operatives extorted money from them on daily basis.
“They are making it seem as if we are working for them. This is getting worse every day and we want the government to help us stop this evil.
“Many of our members have now had their tricycles taken back from them by their owners because they cannot not meet their daily agreement. This is the result of police and army harassment and extortion,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the association, Mr Eugene Eze, said that his team had worked hard to sustain a good rapport with the police in Aba but the effort seemed not to work.
He said that the association would seek audience with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu and the commissioner of police on their plight.
Eze promised to effect the release of those arrested by the police and urged members of the association to remain peaceful while he made effort to resolve the problem.