Nigeria’s Minister for the Federal Capital Territory Mohammed Bello has denied any killings during the clash between taxi drivers and policemen over the mobbing of officials of the Task Force on FCTA at the Wuse Berger axis.
Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Cosmas Uzodinma, urged Nigerians to disregard any rumour on death from task force operations, saying, the situation was under control and appealed to residents to go about their normal activities without any fear of molestation.
The Secretary for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa also assured residents of the FCT.
He said a number of reforms to sanitize the transportation sector and reduce friction in the FCT was in in progress.
A graphic details of the incident as contained in the statement issued by Uzodinma said two unauthorized vehicles were arrested during routine operations of the Ministerial Joint Task Team on the Enforcement of the Ban and the Restriction of Unpainted Taxis, Unauthorized Vehicles and other sundry public nuisance in the FCT on Wednesday.
“As result, it was reported that some touts attacked the members of the task team and were arrested. The arrested vehicles and persons are with the police currently undergoing further investigations. Calm has returned to the Wuse Market after the minor incident,” he said.
He alleged that the rumour was spread by persons who thrived in illegalities with the aim to blackmail the task force team.
“The FCT Administration thanks members of the public for their understanding and support in the efforts of the Administration to ensure sanity on our roads, check the use of illegal taxis, unauthorised parks and criminal activities especially in the ember months,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Transportation for the FCTA, Comrade Kayode Opeifa had warned all taxi operators in the FCT to respect the rule of law.
Opeifa who said the FCTA would not be intimidated, blackmailed or cowed, however assured the public that the alleged excesses of the Task Force would looked into with a view regaining the confidence of the public. The Secretary maintained that the capital belongs to everybody and that no group of people should disregard the traffic rules of the city.
He called on all vehicle users to respect the rights of other road users by operating within the confines of the law.
The Secretary of transportation also disclosed that the Transportation Secretariat will soon meet with all relevant stakeholders in the transportation industry, with a view to properly designate and delineate the operational modules of each operator.
While shedding more light on the violence that swept through Wuse market on Wednesday, Opeifa said the incident occurred when the FCT Law and Order Enforcement team on Traffic tried to arrest a taxi driver at the Wuse area. The offending taxi driver became violent in the process of arrest, resulting in touts and drivers mobbing the team.
Police reinforcement, he further stated however subdued the crowd and arrested four persons and impounded two vehicles which were taken to Wuye office and later to the police command. Thirty minutes later, false messages were sent out by the Taxi drivers Transport Union at Wuse alleging the enforcement team shot dead one of their driver whose corpse had been carried to Wuye.
“Phone conversation with the Chairman of the Taxi Drivers Union revealed there was no killing,” Opeifa added.