2 Wounded As Taskforce Attacks Truck Driver In Eleme

A Heavy Duty Truck driver and a pedestrian sustained severe head injuries last Tuesday during an altercation with the Eleme local government taskforce on vehicle stickers along the Coka Cola area of the Eleme-Onne road in Eleme local government area of Rivers State.

Chairman of the National Union, Heavy Duty Truck Transporters Association (HDTTA), Alhaji, Comrd. Mohammed Umar Giwa who spoke to newsmen on the incident said the matter had been reported to the Eleme Division of the Nigeria Police, stressing that the activities of the taskforce have become overbearing on truck drivers plying the road.

Comrade Giwa who doubles as the South-South and South-East Chairman of HDTTA, explained that the incident occurred when the driver who was conveying goods on his way to Abuja was intercepted and double- crossed along the new trailer park area by the taskforce who demanded for the vehicle stickers and sanitation bucket receipts of the truck from the driver.

According to the chairman, the taskforce demobilized the vehicle by cutting off the fuel supply pipe and in the ensuing altercation, one of the members of the taskforce  used a screw driver to pierce the head of the driver resulting in serious bleeding from the head and the arm.

Comrade Giwa said both the driver and a passer-by who was not connected with the matter was also attacked and wounded on the head by the taskforce were all rushed to a medical centre in the area where the driver was resuscitated and treated.

Alhaji Giwa appealed to Governor Siminilaiye Fubara and the Eleme Council Chairman to call the group to order also called on the State Commissioner of police to investigate and arrest the fleeing culprits.

Also speaking, Secretary of HDTTA, Eleme-Onne branch expressed dismay at the violent activities of the taskforce, stating that the  group has become a nuisance to drivers plying the road and according to him had once resulted in the death of a driver.

He accused the Eleme taskforce of illegal extortions and high-handedness, adding that other truck drivers decided to block the road to protest the manhandling of their colleague.

The secretary alleged that it was the intervention of police that saved the truck driver from being killed by the taskforce and appealed to the state government, the Eleme local government chairman and the police authorities to intervene on the matter to avoid possible violent reprisals from the drivers.

“Even the bad state of this road is enough punishment to drivers plying this road and then the taskforce is still adding to their problems and plights of the users of the Eleme-Onne road,” he lamented.

The driver of the truck, Abubakar Saidu and the pedestrian, Yakub who narrated the incident through an interpreter listed items taken by the taskforce from the truck to include two 80 KVA Motor batteries, spare tyres and two android phones among others, adding that he was tortured and wounded by the group.

The incident caused gridlock on the road as angry truck drivers bariccaded the road in support of their wounded colleague and prevented the free flow of vehicles in the area.

Some of the drivers who spoke to newsmen, threatened to continue the blockade unless their wounded colleagues are fully compensated and the stolen items from the truck returned.

They lamented the nefarious activities of the Eleme stickers taskforce, adding that plying the dilapidated Oil Mill-Eleme-Onne road has become a nightmare and torment on both the heavy duty drivers and their vehicles.

Efforts to reach the leader of the taskforce and the Eleme Local Government Chairman proved abortive.

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