Motorists Demand Govt. Intervention As Youths Mount Barricades At GRA P’H, Others Demand Illegal Fee

Motorists, private and commercial, plying Aba Road , up to the popular GRA junction in Port Harcourt have appealed to the Rivers State government and especially, the Rivers State police command, to as a matter of urgency do all to check activities of some youths they describe as hoodlums for constituting  themselves into ‘tax collectors’, mounting road barricades to demand fee for access from vehicle owners.

Describing the experience as totally uncalled for, a commercial taxi driver, Taiwo Adebayo, decried the increasing demand by the youths whom he said now made a past time of daily collection of illegal fee. He accused the youth of taking advantage of inadequate access routes around Aba Road, as a result of constructions of flyovers   spread across the long stretch road.

Taiwo reacted that the recent #EndsSars campaigns, protests and violence had led to the lack of  police presence around the city and that had equally affected security largely in the state.

He lamented how the youths daily endured that no motorists gained access to the other side without parting with money. In his words: “We are our own enemies. Everybody is adjusting to the construction going on all over Port Harcourt. Business for us is not the same. We are only confident that when the jobs are completed everyone will smile and be proud of what the governor is doing.”

He called on the youths to cease from their illegal means of livelihood and find something doing. He also appealed to the Rivers State Police command to spread its tentacles to safe the public by ensuring that situations like this is not allowed to spread.

Another concerned motorist, a privateowner , Mr. Micheal Otise, expressed fear over the way the youths would cluster around vehicles with sticks and demand money. He described the experience as one that “suggests lack of order” and appealed to the state government to do something urgent in places where such things take place. He said that the youths should look inwards and find something. He said: “The boys around here (at GRA) don’t look like hoodlums, they need to stop being nuisance on the road. When I first saw them, I was surprised and thought they were some protesters. And, since then, anytime I ply the road and come across them they always demand money, if you fail to give them, they have a way of delaying you end engage you in heated argument.”

A commercial bus driver, Udo Samuel,who plies Aba Road daily condemn the youths activities. He lamented lack of police presence, even as he stated that those who mounted road barricades were capable of committing crimes at night. He called for urgent attention. He also noted that his colleagues elsewhere in Mile one Diobu had complained of hoodlums taking over the road intersections and demanding levies. “The annoying thing is that, sometimes they see that you did not carry full load, they still want you to see them anytime you pass to and fro. It does not matter if you gave them thirty minutes ago, you must give them money again.

It could be recalled that similar activities were reported in this publication recently by persons thought to be ‘area boys’ in Mile one, Mile 3 and other parts of Port Harcourt with traffic challenge.

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear if now that police officers have started conducting skeletal operations around the city and the state , the issues of illegal road block will be addressed in addition to fighting criminal activities in the state.

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