No fewer than 20 tricycle, popularly known as ‘Keke’, operators in Imo State were yesterday shot and seriously wounded allegedly by armed officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC.
The hapless keke drivers had their bodies riddled with bullets following indiscriminate shooting by the trigger-happy officers.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday reliably gleaned that two of the victims are already lying critically at the intensive care unit of Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Owerri with several others sustaining various degrees of injuries.
One of the Keke operators, Mr. Chibuzor Peters told newsmen that trouble ensued when members of his group moved to the command headquarters in the capital city to protest the detention of their members by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, at the NSCDC office.
He explained that men of the FRSC have been extorting keke operators via abnormal charges for alleged offences saying they were compelled to pay N10, 000 over any contravention irrespective of the many challenges they face.
According to him, officers of NSCDC, on sighting the demonstrators, started shooting sporadically and the bullets hit several of the protesters resulting in injuries.
Angered by the ugly situation, the Keke operators took to the streets of Owerri in violent protest and blocked the major Okigwe Road and entrance to Government House, Owerri shouting “Civil Defence Must Go.’’
The protesters caused terrific gridlock on the affected roads and other parts of the state while passengers had to trek long distances because of the traffic jam and refusal of keke operators to carry passengers during the protest that lasted over five hours.
When contacted the Public Relation Officer, PRO, of the NSCDC, Mr. Chimeziri Lawell, denied the allegation of shooting keke operators by men of the command.

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