One person was shot to death during a violent clash between taxi drivers and members of the Joint Task Force of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the Wuse Market in Abuja on Wednesday.
The victim was allegedly shot by one of the members of the Joint Task Force.
According to an eyewitness, Segun Aderibigbe, the task force arrived at Wuse market near Golden Gate Hotel to arrest some taxi drivers who were alleged to have parked their vehicles along the road.
Trouble started when members of the task force allegedly demanded money ranging from N5,000 to N6,000 from those arrested. It was gathered that an argument ensued due to the inability of some drivers to pay the amount demanded by the task force.
The confrontation between the taxi drivers and Joint Task Force escalated into a violent clash leading to the death of one driver. Our correspondent gathered that the corpse of the slain driver was then taken away by the task force.
Irked by this development, the drivers took to the streets to protest the death of their colleague. They barricaded the Abacha Expressway and some started a bonfire on the road.
Commercial activities at Wuse Market were brought to a halt, as passers-by and traders hurriedly locked their shops and scampered for safety.
When SaharaReporters visited the market, some of the visibly angry drivers were seen preventing motorists from driving through Berger-Wuse Road and other roads leading to the market.
A fire truck that arrived at the scene was nearly mobbed by the protesters as they attacked all security agents who tried to intervene.
The protesters accused the Joint Task Force of extortion and harassment and therefore demanded that it be decommissioned.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, some of the drivers said that the task force has been impounding their vehicles and demanding money for their return.
They explained further that the task force has deviated from its primary assignment by victimizing innocent citizens.
“They killed one of our colleagues after they demanded money from him but he refused to give them any. This is not the first time; it is on daily basis and they harass us with their guns, particularly at Nicon Junction, Mabushi-Berger and Wuse Market.
“They are like a killer squad. If you don't have money to give them they will arrest you and impound your car,” one of the drivers, who requested anonymity, told our correspondent.
The irate mob vowed not to open the road until the Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello, directs the task force to produce the corpse of their colleague and and scrap the team.
The Joint Task Force is comprised of various security agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force, Vehicle Inspection Office, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Prisons Service, Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, State Security Service and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
The team is tasked with the responsibility to patrol the city center for criminal activities and check the activities of commercial vehicles.