4 injured as Okada operators, thugs clash over daily levy, loading units in Abia

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Four okada operators were, weekend, injured in a clash with suspected thugs over the collection of daily levy and ownership of loading units at Zion by East street and Obohia Nkwa Ngwa areas in Aba, Abia State.

It was gathered that trouble started when suspected thugs, claiming to own the loading units, started levying tolls on the okada operators and assaulted those who refused to comply.

Some group of operators were said to have resisted them. In the ensuing clash, four operators sustained various degrees of injuries.

Some of the okada operators in an interview with Vanguard accused the thugs of imposing illegal levies on them as they are made to pay N600 for registration and N500 for road rehabilitation.

They urged the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, to intervene as most of them find it difficult to make daily returns.

One of the Okada operators, Michael Jacob, narrated to Vanguard; “Some people came to our loading pits, claiming that they are the owners and leaders of the pits and that we must start paying a daily levy to them. They told us that the Ministry of Transport created the loading units for them.

“They charge N600 for registration and N500 daily for road maintenance. How can okada operators be charged N600 for registration and another N500 which they said is for road rehabilitation?

“We also pay another N100 for the national union. They are non-okada operators, they don’t own motorcycles. They started assaulting our members because we refuse to accept such imposition of leaders and levy on okada operators. NURTW should intervene before they kill our members.”

Contacted, State chairman, NURTW, Chief Eugene Eze Job, accused the Commissioner of Transport, Chief Ekele Nwaohanmuo, of indiscriminate creation of okada units in the state, collection of illegal levies as well as imposing non-okada operators as union leaders.

However, the Commissioner for Transport, Chief Ekele Nwaohanmuo, who denied the allegations, stated that the NURTW chairman has refused to obey regulations guiding the transport industry in the state.

He said; “The state NURTW chairman, Eugene Eze Job doesn’t want other unions to operate. He is the one causing the problems.

He is the chairman of NURTW; he is the chairman of SATOA; now they have floated another one, Motor Transport Union of Nigeria.

They applied to the Ministry of Transport but I refused to approve it, and he asked them to come and register in the NURTW.

“The NURTW chairman wants every motor operator to be under his union. How can a Keke or motorcycle union go to NURTW to register? Eugene Eze Job wants to take over all the motor unions. He doesn’t want other unions to do business. I have never collected money to create a loading unit for any operator.

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