Members of the Tipper Drivers Association have lamented the “continuos extortion” by security operatives stationed at the bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Making their displeasure known, the drivers barricaded the highway, blocking the Head Bridge with their tippers following the most recent assault on one of their members.
It was reported that some Naval officers shot at and damaged the tyres of one of the drivers for refusing to pay a bribe of N1,000, leading to the protest which started around 3 am on Saturday.
The protest has prevented movement to and fro the area, thereby causing a total shutdown of the road.
Speaking on the issue, the President-General, Great Tipper Drivers Association, Ebuka Unekwe, there has been “incessant molestations and dehumanising treatment meted out on them by naval officers in the area.”
He revealed that the Navy started extorting tipper drivers of N1,000 in March.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, said that he received a distress call from someone whom he said alerted him of a heavy traffic gridlock at Owerri road axis.
Though he said the circumstances surrounding the cause of the traffic have not been ascertained, police operatives have been deployed to maintain law and order.
The state sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Adeoye Irelewuyi, on his part, said that the unit commander in Onitsha was already in talks with the tipper drivers to ascertain the remote cause of the traffic gridlock.
Irelewuyi assured the public that the impasse would be resolved amicably to allow for free flow of vehicular movements, adding that FRSC officers had been deployed in the scene to control traffic.