Imo State Director of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, has condemned the recent fracas between commercial tricycle operators and men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, describing it as avoidable.
Ekeocha, while reacting to the bloody clash which occurred last week in Owerri, the state capital told newsmen yesterday that the clash caused the destruction of parts of the building housing his office at Okigwe Road.
The NOA boss blamed the fracas on the indiscriminate mounting of roadblocks by the officers of the FRSC within the capital city.
He bemoaned the alleged extortion of keke operators by FRSC who are said to demand and collect as high as N8,000 to N10,000 unofficial fines from the Keke operators whenever they are arrested on the road by the FRSC officers.
Ekeocha assured he would stop them from using the place as permanent place for road block if they come back to the place again by approaching their high authorities.
Reacting to the incident, the state commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Dr. Audu Ahmed Abubakar debunked media report that his men shot and wounded about 20 keke riders in Owerri during the clash.
The NSCDC boss said the eventual intervention of his officers was on rescue basis to save men of a sister agency from being lynched by angry keke operators.
He maintained that the NSCDC had no clash with keke operators as reported in some sections of the media, adding, “if not for our intervention, the keke operators who had already started throwing stones and bottles filled with fuel on their building would have taken over the premises of the command.”
Also commenting on the clash, Imo State Sector Command, Mr Godwin Omiko commended the immediate intervention of NSCDC which according to him averted a bloodbath that fateful day.
In a letter sent to the Commandant NSCDC in the state, dated May 11, the sector commander expressed appreciation for the show of solidarity by men and officers of NSCDC during the clash.