It was a serious confusion yesterday in Kaduna, when trailer and tanker drivers blocked Kaduna-Zaria highway in protest of alleged shooting of a colleague by unidentified soldiers around 11pm on Sunday, due to his inability to give the soldiers N500 for ‘pure water’.
Nigerians were concerned that Nigerian Army authority ought to have put an end to incessant assaults by men of the force to avoid unfavourable comments from people they claim to be protecting.
According to the Kaduna Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Francis Udoma, “There was misunderstanding between the trailer driver and soldiers along Kaduna-Zaria road at about 11pm yesterday and the incident led to blocking of the road.
“The road was later open because the army agreed to take care of the victim’s hospital bill. From us, I have ordered my men to control the traffic. So, everything is under control as we speak”, he added.
The middle-aged Abba Saminu was said to have been shot on his right leg by a trigger-happy soldier and left unconscious in his own blood before been taking to Saint Gerald Hospital, Kaduna for medical attention by good samaritans.
The victim’s words, “We were on our way back to Kaduna with Irish potatoes inside the vehicle when we came across a check point mounted by the soldiers around 10 pm on sunday closed to mararraba jos.
“They ordered us to park as I was about parking by the roadside when one of the soldiers demanded 500 naira from me and I told him I can only afford N100. So he shouted at us and ordered us out of the vehicle.
“Immediately I alighted from the vehicle, another soldier began to slap. When I turned to run I heard a gun shot so I fell down. They entered their vehicle and zoom off. It was some people that later came to rush me to hospital,” he said.
Abba’s employer, Alhaji Ibrahim, who was with Abba in his hospital bed appealed to military authority and government to bring an end to assaults against drivers by soldiers on the highways.
“We know that their leaders didn’t send them to be harassing people but the soldiers always demand bribe from our drivers on highways, if they refuse to give they will be subjected to all sorts of harassment,” he said.
Alhaji Ibrahim described the soldiers attitude towards drivers as illegal calling on government to put an end to it.
Effort to speak with Army One Divisional Public Relations Officer, Colonel Yusuf Abdul, failed as he didn’t answer his phone.
Meanwhile, special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the state governor, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the incident.
According to him, the state governor directed his deputy Bala Bantex and state commissioner of Police to visit the scene to plead with the drivers union to allow stranded vehicles access to road.
“The state government received the information and the governor immediately directed his deputy and state commissioner of police to visit the scene so as to bring the situation under control,” he said.