No fewer than 10 persons sustained injuries, while a pick-up van belonging to Anambra Traffic Management Agency, ATMA, was damaged, yesterday, following a clash between officials of the agency and commercial motorcycle operators, who resisted the former from impounding their motor-cycles.
The motorcycle operators, otherwise known as Okada riders, had earlier in the day, protested efforts by officials of the traffic agency to enforce the restriction ban placed on their operations on major roads in Onitsha and other major cities in the state by the government.
ATMA officials had as early as 10a.m. mounted strategic points at major roads in Awka, interdicting the Okada operators and discharging their passengers.
What would have resulted in a blood-bath between both parties was averted by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Inland Town police station, who personally led his men to disperse the invading Okada operators.
The DPO said: ‘’I got a distress call that some recalcitrant Okada operators had engaged the ATMA officials, who have been directed to impound disobedient Okada operators in a battle, following the seizure of their motorcycles.
“I immediately mobilize my men and we went there to quell the attack, but before we could get there, they had already smashed the windscreen of a pick-up van belonging to ATMA, no life was, however, lost but people must sustain injury when such a thing happens. We have actually taken control of the situation.’’
One of the angry Okada operators, who spoke with Vanguard, accused ATMA officials of beating them up before seizing their motorcycles.
But an ATMA official, who pleaded anonymity, in a swift reaction, denied the allegation, saying the agency officials could not have beaten up the Okada operators in the presence of policemen, who were monitoring the situation.