EXCLUSIVE: NURTW Laments as Soldiers Extort, Torture Commercial Drivers Along Mokwa-Jebba Road
By Umar Yunusa
A group of Soldiers at Marabba under Mokwa Local Government area in Niger State have been extorting and brutalizing commercial drivers plying Mokwa-Jebba road, on a daily basis, INCNews247 can authoritatively report.
It was gathered by our reporter, who plied the road two times in four days, that these set of soldiers usually operate between 7 pm to 6 am daily, extorting money from motorists plying the highway.
Moh’d Sheshi, the chairman of National Union of Road Transport Worker (NURTW) Branch, 1 Mokwa L.G, told this reporter that aside from bad roads and other countless transport issues they face on daily basis, extortion by soldiers is a great deal on them.
“The most painful part of the story, those soldiers are there only to extort money from our drivers.”
Sheshi added that the union has reported to the Mokwa Police Command, but the Divisional police officer (DPO) only assured the drivers of dialoguing with the Army commander in the town about their mode of operation along the roads in Mokwa.
Some commercial drivers, in separate interviews with INCNews247, revealed that the soldiers in question collect not less than N100 from each driver who use the road.
Meanwhile, the NURTW boss also recounted series of brutality events as a result of drivers denying
“There was a time when a soldier hit one of the drivers to some extent that the driver sustained an injury and was rushed to the hospital,” he recounted.
“But they were forced to pay his medical fees because of what they usually collect from drivers, till this moment of speaking, I still have their contacts with me.”
“They often make their operations between nightfall and early in the morning. They know that it is illegal that is what makes them be there at that time.”
Ndagi Janatu, one of the victims, said the soldiers once demanded N50, and he replied them that nothing was available for now.
“One of them asked me to open the car butt and I did as instructed by them. I offloaded all luggage in the car.
“The owners of the luggage were called as they began to ransacked the whole luggage but nothing was found.
“As we continued, one of the soldiers requested my car key and I replied angrily no. Before a blink of an eye, I was hit in the head.”
Another commercial driver, Abubakar Ahmed Mokwa, said their threat is becoming unbearable. Soldiers are deployed to protect people but here is a different case.
“They don’t even care to check luggage or passengers but only on by the roadside for themselves.”
He further explained that they once injured a driver who was going to Kpaki for the sake of N100.
The anger in us became so high that only our chairman patted us softly in the heart.
In his squeaking tone, they were collecting money according to the size of your car but now it is all the same.
“This is my 25 years of being a commercial driver and very sad as I haven’t been told or heard that the government will surprisingly buy a car for a particular union,” Mokwa said.
One of the military personnel who did not give his name said their purpose of staying on the roadside is not to extort commercial drivers.
“I won’t say or tell that the fact is inaccurate but it will be taken care of by me. Commercial drivers are often checked before they pass along the road. Anyone that is doing such acts is not good.”
He added nobody has ever brought such complaints to us that they are being extorted.
He said soldiers are not on the roadside to extort drivers so anyone that is doing such an act is not good
“At a checkpoint, a soldier was hit by one driver and ran away. Only God knows what he hides in the car.
“We are all here not to extort commercial drivers when people are laying allegations but I can’t tell that it is a lie.”
Army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu when contacted denied the activities, but said there is a code and conduct guiding military operations.
When contacted for the second time, he said: “I have called the Commander in Ilorin and he assured that the soldiers would be changed immediately.”