Truck drivers ‘protest’ in Maiduguri over charges, but later admit ‘taking laws into their hands’


BY YUNUSA BUNU, AUGUST 31, 2022 | 08:51 AM

Truck drivers over the weekend took to a protest against what they described as ‘outrageous charges’ by the Borno State Traffic Management Agency, BOTMA, a government agency charged with the responsibility to regulate intra-city transportation.

Our correspondent in Maiduguri reports that the drivers on Saturday stormed offices of BOTMA in Customs, Baga Road and Ramat Polytechnic concurrently with their trucks to make their case, thereby causing commotion on the road.

They alleged that the agency is charging them between N10, 000 to N30, 000 for parking wrongly and leaving their truckload uncovered.

'If one is charged such amount, what is left for him to take home,' one of the protesters said.

Responding to the allegations, the BOTMA general manager, Baba Shehu Tijjani, who spoke to our correspondent via a phone interview said the allegations were ‘false, without any evidence’.

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'What really happened was that one of their chairman’s truck was arrested for not covering the load in his truck. That law was in existence even before the establishment of BOTMA.

'So the chairman mobilized his boys to block the offices, taking the law into his hands; but we have already sorted out with them and discussed with their leadership.

'They were in my office and the instigator accepted his crimes and had written an undertaking at Gwange Police station not to repeat such,' the GM said.

He added that if their members had issues with his boys, the right thing to do is to report them; not take the law into their hands.

Musa Sani, the Tashan Bama chairman of the truck association, affirmed that it is true that their truck was arrested for not covering the load it was conveying.

'We have already sorted out with the agency and they have heard all our complaints. We are at fault for taking the law into our hands but the agency should also look into the charges.

'If they charge us such big amount, what will be left for one to take home,' the chairman said.

'Already, the GM has assured us that any of our member that is harassed by a member of his agency will be dealt with according to the law when reported,' Sani added.

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