Minibus drivers in Calabar, Cross River State capital on Thursday, October 26, 2023, protested alleged extortion by officials of the state government for wrong parking.
The commercial drivers who barricaded parts of the Murtala Mohammed Highway with leaves on their vehicles alleged that they were being extorted by the official to the tune of N45,000.
Samuel Ekpo, one of the angry drivers who spoke to journalists said they were pick-and-drop drivers and not interstate drivers, adding that “enough is enough on extortion.”
“We no longer know particular spots to pick and drop passengers, as commercial transport operators, the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr Ekpenyong Cobham and his boys expect us to have a specific place to load and drop passengers when they haven’t given us places.
“When your bus is impounded, they take it to the premises of the state Waterboard and you have to pay about N45,000 to get your vehicle released
“This is sad because sometimes drivers go home with just N1000 after balancing the owners of the vehicles,” he said.
Another driver, Bassey Edet said the state government should create car parks and bus stops for commercial vehicles in the state.
“We bought daily tickets between N500 and N700, yet they chased us away from Watt Market Roundabout, we obeyed and left the roundabout now they are chasing us even on the highway.
“If you go to Water Board, you will see over 30 mini buses parked because the owners don’t have N45,000 for their buses to be released, how do they want them to survive?” Edet queried.
When contacted, at the time of filling this report, the Commissioner for Transport, Pastor Ekpeyong Cobham, said he was already having a meeting with the leaders of the Transport Union over the issue.