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Transporters threaten strike over escalating highway robbery, kidnapping

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Praise Necherem

Transport operators with headquarters in Onitsha, Anambra state, have lamented increasing cases of kidnapping and robbery attacks along major highways in the country, especially routes leading to Lagos, Abuja and parts of the north.

The fleet operators, including luxurious buses, commuter buses and executive Siena buses threatened to embark on a nationwide strike targeted at crippling the transport sector unless the insecurity on the highways were addressed.

Those, who convey passengers from Onitsha to various locations with loading terminals in Enugu, Aba and Portharcourt regretted that travelling had become increasingly risky, owing to the security challenges.

Addressing newsmen on Wednesday, the manager, God’s Will Transport, Emenike Okafor, noted that incidences of daylight armed robbery and abduction of passengers along the highways increased after the #EndSARS protests. He identified Benin bypass – Ogbemudia farm to Ore and Kogi area in Lokoja –Abuja highways as most dangerous hot spots, where bandits operate unhindered, saying that no fewer than six passengers were kidnapped in the areas.

He said: “In the last two weeks, there have been recorded cases of robbery and abduction of passengers, involving Sienna and Hummer buses with about six passengers kidnapped in the mentioned areas.

“We call on the Inspector General of Police to activate his rapid response mechanism and the establishment of a joint patrol team involving the army, police and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps in the affected areas.”

While condoling with the police over the casualties and losses recorded during the #EndSARS protests, Okafor noted that those involved in the mayhem aimed at destabilising the country’s security network, should be brought to justice. 

“No responsible citizen, no matter how highly provoked, would engage in burning, looting and attack on the police institution saddled with the task of protecting the citizens.

“We want the police to go back fully to their duty posts with renewed vigour and zeal. Let the government motivate them by improving their welfare packages and ensure that those casualties already recorded receive adequate compensation,” he added.

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