Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger on Thursday ordered immediate dismantling of all security check points in the state, following four hours blockade of Minna-Suleja highway by protesting tanker drivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the tanker drivers blocked the highway in protest over alleged high handedness of security personnel at the check points.
The drivers alleged that the security personnel were collecting N2,000 from drivers of articulated vehicles plying roads in the state.
One of the drivers, Babangida Aliyu, told the governor who visited the scene, that apart from the unauthorised levy, the security personnel had damaged a truck registered RAN 373 XA after delaying the driver for an hour for refusing to pay the N2000 bribe.
He said: “It is only in Niger state that drivers are subjected to this kind of humiliation by security personnel demanding money without receipt.”
Governor Bello who was visibly angry over the matter, ordered the dismantling of all road blocks across the state.
He said that the order also affected Bida – Agwai – Lambata and Mokwa – Bida federal highways.
The directive, he added, was necessary to enable ease of doing business, safeguard and guarantee free passage of goods and travellers in the state.
The governor, however, berated the tanker drivers for their “indiscipline”, saying they must learn to act responsibly and channel their grievances through proper channels.
He said: “There are several ways to channel grievances to appropriate authority for prompt action.
“We are operating a responsible government that is concerned about the yearnings and aspirations of the people irrespective of tribe, religion and political differences.
“How on earth will you block a Federal highway disrupting socio-economic activities.
“Some people are just passing through while others are going to hospital and others are on transit, what justification do you have to block the road.
“No matter what has happened, you are not supposed to block the road, we will not tolerate this act of indiscipline in our state and anybody found wanting will be arrested and prosecuted.
“I have also received similar complaints from motorists along Suleja -Tafa road.”
Adamu Usman, Commissioner of Police in the state, assured that the command would investigate the allegations made by the drivers.
He said: “We will investigate the matter and anyone found involved will be sanctioned. I however call on road users to always obey traffic rules and regulations.”