Fresh traffic reports reaching us claim that there was a recent violent clash in Bayelsa as Keke riders protest extortion by FRSC personnel. At least fifty commercial tricycles were destroyed on Wednesday in Bayelsa as police officers and personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) attempted to stop a protest by the tricyclists in Bayelsa State. According to the traffic reports, many people were wounded in the violent clash that happened around Imgbi Road Junction in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Bayelsa Keke operators clashed with FRSC personnel on Wednesday over extortion and harassment
The tricycle operators accused the officers of the traffic agency of extortion and harassment under the pretence of carrying out their duties and enforcing traffic laws. The Keke riders believed that their right to carry four passengers was infringed upon by the FRSC personnel. John Chukwu, who happens to be one of the aggrieved protesters, revealed that the FRSC officials allegedly collected money from operators that carry up to four passengers in their tricycles. This amount according to him could sometimes be as much as N10,000. While expressing their anger over the highhandedness of the road safety officers, the Keke operators blocked the junction along the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road. Trouble began when the personnel seized some tricycles for alleged violations of traffic laws after mounting a checkpoint close to the place. Consequently, these activities added to the frustration of the riders.
The situation in Bayelsa became worse when police officers deployed to the protest area forcefully dispersed the protesting commercial Keke operators, leading to the destruction of fifty tricycles. The presence of the policemen also created panic as teargas and whips were used to chase the Keke riders away from the area. Ibrahim Usman, who is the FRSC sector Commander in Bayelsa, while reacting to the protest, said the extortion allegation was not true. He said the command is committed to enforcing traffic regulations and ensuring the safety of people on the road.