By: Tochi Onyeubi
Some commercial drivers in Imo, plying the Onitsha road axis, whose vehicles were seized by military men, have cried out over the inhuman treatment meted out on them.
Speaking to Trumpeta, they recounted how their vehicles were impounded at Ukwu Orji Mgbidi in Oru West Local Government Area and directed to Heroes square in Owerri, where they were mandated to pay the sum of #70,000 before their vehicle can be released.
According to the drivers, the military men stated that they were acting on government directives.
One of the drivers who doesn’t want his name in print informed that, his vehicle has been parked there over one week due to his inability to come up with the stated sum.
“I was returning from Mgbidi Awo on board to Owerri at Ukwu Orji, when I was intercepted at an Army checkpoint and asked to stay at a place as part of government directives”.
” From there, we were taken to Heroes Square and demanded to pay the sum of #70,000. I have not gone to work over one week now and I don’t have the money to pay”. He pleaded.
Another who said he was not picking passengers but was on his way to see his wife who put to bed with his in-laws, appealed to government to help him, even as he said he has hospital bills to offset.
“I went to pick my in-laws at Irete on board to Mgbidi to pick my wife who put to bed, on getting to Mgbidi, I was intercepted and my vehicle seized. I wasn’t told anything but to go and get #70,000.”
“Its unfair, government should look into it and ensure that the law is enforced properly. I have bills to pay, my wife is in the hospital, and i don’t have money”. He said.
Another driver who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that the military man(name withheld) suspected to be a Major in the army working with an agent who serves as an intermediary, who subtly gets #20,000 while the Major who is in possession of the keys of the various buses, gets #50,000.
He further stated that, vehicles numbering more than 400, especially those conveying goods to Aba which were parked at the mini stadium have been released after they paid the stated sum.
Our correspondent observed that there were numerous buses at the Heroes Square mini stadium locked up for the purpose of the payment.
The drivers however appealed to the state government to come to their aid and rescue them from the challenge, even as the economy is biting hard, occasioned by the covid 19 pandemic.