Taxi drivers at the Wuse market
in Abuja took to major roads on
Wednesday to protest the alleged
extortion by the task force of
the Federal Capital Territory
One person was reported to have
died and another injured in the
protest which grounded traffic at
Wuse and its environs.
How it all started
A witness said trouble began
when men of the task force
team — “comprising policemen,
soldiers of the Nigerian Army,
officials of the Federal Road Safety
Corps, Nigerian Security and
Civil Defence Corps and vehicle
inspection office (VIO)” — who
were at the market in the morning
started arresting some drivers and
impounding their vehicles.
Some of the drivers resisted the
arrest of one of them who they
said is not feeling fine and had only
packed his car to rest.
One of the drivers recounted the
incident to TheCable thus: “We told
them (members of the task force
team) that the man is not working
because he is having eye problem. So
he was trying to relax and go home;
that they should leave the man alone.
But they insisted on taking him.
“Before you know it, they hit the
man with gun and his nose started
bleeding. Then they started shooting
in the air. Blood was still coming out
of his nose and all over his face and
they pushed him into their car and
whisked him away.
“So, we now said no, this must not
That was then stones started flying
in the air, tyres started getting burnt
and roads barricaded.
The drivers lamented that there
was “culture of impunity” among
the task force members who “always
treat us like we are criminals.”
Some of them who spoke with
TheCable said time and again, their
cars had been impounded “for no
“All this while, they have been
terrorising us,” a driver who
identified himself as Emma, said.
“Treating us like we are nothing.
They will shatter your car
windscreen even when you did not
Another of his aggrieved colleague
interjected: “We work with fear in
Abuja. We work as if we are armed
robbers; because sometimes they
pose as passengers and enter your
car. Next thing is, they tell you to
start going to their office in Mabuchi.
“Enough of this nonsense abeg.”
Drivers detail how they are being
According to some of the drivers,
the “unjustified” charges levelled
against them usually range from
N20,000 to N50,000.
One of them said when such
charges are given, they are asked to
make payment into bank accounts
“What they do is, if you pack
to pick your passenger, they will
just act like they are one of your
passengers. Before you know it,
they will impound your car,” the
driver who refused to give his
“When they take your car to
Mabuchi (where their office is
located), they will give you bank
account number where you are to
pay money into. And those account
details are not for corporate
accounts, they are individual
“If they toll your car with a big
truck, you pay N50,000; if it is
with a small car, you pay N20,000.
If they drive it to their office
themselves, you pay N10,000.”
The drivers called on the
government to investigate the
alleged fraud within the task force
and bring defaulters to book.
“We want government to
investigate and probe the task
force (team). Let government
probe them and know what they
are using all those levies for. Even
if it is government that sent them,
those people in authority who sent
them should be probed too,” one of
them told journalists at the scene.
Some of the police officers who
had arrived at the scene were seen
calming the nerves of the irate
drivers and urging them not to
take the law into their hands.
A police officer who was seen
addressing the drivers said:
“Throwing stones and injuring
people will not solve this. What you
will do is to lay a formal complaint
this evening or tomorrow morning.
We will make sure cars impounded
wrongfully are released, especially
the ones towed this morning. So,
please tell your members to sheath
their sword; violence will not solve
When journalists approached
a member of the task force team
concerning the fraud allegations,
he refused to speak, ordering
the reporter to leave the scene
“If you know you are not one of
us leave here immediately, I don’t
want to see anyone around here,”
he said in anger.