Niger Govt. attacks trucks’ drivers over road blockade

The Niger State Government has condemned the blocking of Bida-Lambata and Lambata-Izom expressways by drivers of heavy duty trucks and tankers. The government, in a statement, said the blockade was causing heavy gridlock and risks to innocent commuters and the people of the surrounding communities.

The statement was issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Matane, and made available in Minna. Matane urged the drivers of the articulated vehicles to urgently open the roads as the blockade would not compel the state government to allow them to use the Minna-Bida road owned by the state and under reconstruction.

He also appealed to owners of the vehicles to talk to their drivers to remove their trucks and tankers from the roads as the state government could no longer guarantee their safety. He explained that communities affected by the blockade were overstretched and agitated. The SSG warned that the  state government would not take liability for damaged  vehicles or goods as a result of any unfortunate incident that might arise. “In the event of any tanker carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) exploding and spilling the products within the communities, the tanker owners would be held responsible and the affected communities will claim damages,” he said.

Supreme reports that the state government had earlier engaged the drivers and leadership of their unions in a dialogue urging them to withdraw from the roads to allow unhindered passage by motorists but the meeting yielded no positive results. The government said it regretted any inconveniences and untold hardships the blockade of the roads might have caused innocent citizens and called for understanding and support of the general public “in these trying moments”.

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