Rita Enemuru, Reporting
MINI bus drivers in Warri, under the aegis of God’s Own Commercial Drivers Association, took to Warri Sapele Road, on Friday, to protest double ticket charges being imposed on them by the Warri South Local Government Area.
They accused the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) of defying a court judgement to stop collecting tickets from them in two different locations.
Stonix News gathered that the tickets were being sold by members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) part of which is remitted to the Warri South Local Government Area.
One of the drivers, Udoh, who spoke to Stonix News, said that they were being forced to buy N800 worth of tickets at two different points; one at the Main Market and the other at the New Port in Warri before buying another one at Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.
He explained that there was a court judgement that was obtained that they should begin to buy only one ticket from one location.
But, according to him, the judgement was being enforced until Thursday when some suspected thugs of Itsekiri extraction assaulted them, forcing them to buy the tickets from the two locations or have their buses’ windscreens destroyed.
He disclosed that the sunscreens of about three buses were destroyed on Thursday because the drivers refused to comply with their threats.
The drivers, who were picketing other mini buses for not showing solidarity with the agreement to suspend work at Ginuwa Junction, said that no mini bus would be allowed to work since the suspected Itsekiri thugs have vowed not to obey the court order and torment them.
The furious bus drivers enforcing “no work order” were seen stopping mini buses carrying passengers and forcing the drivers to disembark them and stop work.
Mr Udoh while speaking further, “I am a mini bus driver. We are protesting against the ticket because we’re being forced to buy in Warri by Warri South Local Government Area.
“We are being forced daily to buy two tickets of N400 each in Warri alone; one at Main Market and the other at New Port. After spending N800 for tickets in Warri, we are still required to buy in Effurun, again.
“So, what we are doing is to stop any bus with passengers to drop the passengers so that we won’t have to buy any tickets.
It’s better not to work than to spend that kind of money everyday.
“We want them to stop forcing the tickets on us. The matter was taken to court and there was a ruling that the union should stop the sale of tickets until either Main Market or New Port agrees for drivers to buy from one location.
“The judgement stopped the sales of the tickets until yesterday when suspected Itsekiri thugs attacked bus drivers destroying their windscreens at New Port yesterday.”
Stonix News gathered that the suspected thugs from Itsekiri extraction defying the court judgement, which was given on March 6, 2023, were led by one Diden.
It was also gathered that the tickets sold are road taxes, part of which is remitted to the Warri South LGA.
The mini bus drivers called on the Chairman of Warri South, Dr Michael Tidi, the Warri Area Command and other relevant agencies to intervene before things get out of hand.