The serenity of the Airport Junction stretch of Omuagwa in Ikwerre local government area (LGA) of Rivers State was shattered on Friday when an unidentified soldier allegedly shot a truck driver.
The incident occurred about 9pm at an army checkpoint along Port Harcourt-Airport-Owerri Road, Omagwa.
The soldier had demanded the “usual” N200 charge for tankers from the victim, but the latter refused. The soldier then shot the victim, Punch reported.
The soldier’s action provoked a protest by other truck drivers in solidarity, leading to gridlock as air passengers and commuters were stranded.
The driver accused the soldiers of extorting them daily, saying the shooting was the height of it, even as the soldiers later deserted the area for fear of being attacked.
Commenting on the incident, Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Samuel Nwanosike, said the victim was rushed to the hospital for medical attention, adding that the council authority intervened and reopened the road.
“We had a development last night where security operatives had issues with tanker drivers in the state. The Association of Tanker drivers shut down the road to commuters,” he said.
“To the glory of God, the tanker driver that was attacked is alive. We took him to the hospital, and he is receiving treatment. The local government is taking care of that. We have spoken with the association; the road has been opened.
‘What we are saying is that the perpetrators of this act must be brought to book. The military man must be fished out. Security is provided to ensure the protection of lives and property and not to cause havoc.
“We are saying that no security operatives should collect money from commercial drivers. Ikwerre local government is the only local government that does not have a task-force collecting money from motorists. And we are saying that we will not accept the soldiers to collect money again. We will set up a task force to that effect,” he added.