The two drivers unions in Ekiti State have vowed to take a battle against officials of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) in Ekiti State over an alleged arbitrary arrest of their members and other innocent commuters .
This follow a raid carried out by the anti- drug agency on some motor parks in Ado-Ekiti,the Ekiti State capital where no fewer than 20 people were seized .
Those arrested were members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers(NURTW), Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), passengers and hawkers ,around the parks.
However, the NDLEA’s action had sparked up serious protests along Ikare and Akure roads, with drivers brandishing dangerous weapons and chasing passers-by with cutlasses , bottles, knives and clubs.
According to eyewiness account, drivers from these various unions also threatened to make the state ungovernable if their members are not released from custody with immediate effect.
The protesters made bonfires on the roads, which produced thick smoke and disrupted free flow of human and vehicular movements along the two axes.
Motorists travelling to Akure , Ikare, Ijan and beyond were forced to take a detour, running back into neigbhouring towns , thereby causing high traffic congestion in Ijigbo and Odo Ado areas of the capital city.
Vehicles coming into Ado Ekiti were also stuck at Erunfun and Ajebamidele, suburbs of the capital city for several hours before police were deployed in the beleaguered sections to restore peace and normalcy.
It was gathered that the NDLEA took the action based on information that some suspected drug abusers were taking refuge in the two
When called for confirmation, the NDLEA Commander in Ekiti State, Mr.Suleiman Jadi said he was not in the state and as such could not ascertyain teh veracity of the information adding that he has not briefed
When journalists visited the Command’s headquarters, the NDLEA operatives refused to give the number of those in their custody, neither did they confirm whether their men were responsible for the action.
The State RTEAN Chairman, Barrister Samuel Agbede , who condemned the random arrest , warned that NDLEA was about triggering unrest in the
state if it continues with such operation,which he described as “embarrassing and debasing”.
“What we heard this morning was that, some NDLEA operatives stormed the two motorparks and started arresting people randomly. They rested
drivers, passengers and those selling biscuits in the parks.
“As we speak now, there is now evidence they presented to show that our people were engaging in illicit activities or drug abuse. Even if our people are doing those things, were the passengers and hawkers they arrested also doing same?
“ We don’t understand this kind of operation , so we are surprised. We believe that they will be released unconditionally and if they refuse , we know the next line action to take. What the NDLEA was doing is capable of causing confusion in Ekiti and it shouldn’t be tolerated”.