COMMERCIAL DRIVERS IN LOKOJA PROTEST AGAINST RELOCATION OF PARKS TO FELELE
-BY AMUDA DAN SULAIMAN FAB
Hundreds of commercial drivers in Lokoja, yesterday stormed the headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Worker (NURTW) Kogi State Council in protest over the state government’s move to relocate the Ibro and other motor parks in the town to the Lokoja Mega Park in Felele.
The protest, which lasted hours, grounded commercial activities in the confluence city.
The placard carrying protesters with various inscriptions marched to the NURTW headquarters to express their displeasure over the relocation of their parks from the town to Felele.
Secretary of the Ibro Park, located opposite the Kogi International Market, Lokoja, Comrade Muhammed Hassan, said: “Why we are against the relocation of parks from the Lokoja township to the felele is because of the busy nature of the expressway.
“The road is accident prone because of the Dangote Trucks plying it on daily basis. If we relocate to that killer road, our lives and that of our passengers are in danger.
“We are appealing to the state government to allow us remain where we are.
“If the essence of government is to protect and initiate policies that are in the best interest of the people, then government should not use its machinery to oppress the people it is governing,” Hassan stressed.
Chairman of the Onitsha park, Comrade Emmanuel David, who also spoke during the protest, said “shutting down and relocating the parks in the town will endanger the lives of old women and children as a result of the long distance to the ultra-modern park.”
“Again, when you go round all the parks in the country, government commercial vehicles don’t operate the same place with private commercial vehicles.
“We are here to appeal to the state government to have a rethink of its plan.
Mary John, a passenger at Ganaja junction park, said she was not in support of the decision of the government to relocate parks from Lokoja to Felele ultra-modern park.
“If government wants the commercial drivers to move out of where they are, government should build another one for them in the town and not Felele road where accidents occur daily,” she advised.
But when contacted, Alhaji Muhammed Jibril Selula, Kogi State Chairman of the NURTW, said; “I was surprised when I had that some drivers are protesting against the relocation of some parks in the town to Felele.
“Last year when the state government told us about its plan to relocate some parks to Felele, we all subscribe to the plan. And my offie briefed all the branches accordingly.
“We even nominated ten of our members to join the government task force in that respect.
“I wish to tell the general public that the protesting drivers are on their own. After all, we all cannot agree and now a few others protesting. Protesting for what?” Selula asked angrily.