Oct 14, 2011 – Ten persons were injured yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, when members of the Drivers’ Welfare Scheme (DWS) and a revenue collection team, headed by Comrade Tony Kabaka, clashed with members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
There was sporadic shooting. Many traders hurriedly closed their shops and fled to safety.
The clash disrupted activities around Mission road and the New Benin Market.
Live bullets were brought in cartons and loaded into double barrel guns.
A source said trouble started when RTEAN members went to motor-parks to collect dues from their members, but were resisted and beaten up by Kabaka and DWS leaders.
Kabaka said RTEAN had been banned from collecting revenues in the state and they were surprised when RTEAN members came to the motor-parks yesterday morning to collect money from drivers.
He said they had reported to security agencies in the past, but nothing was done.
DWS President Comrade Henry Okaka said they were protesting the return of RTEAN to motor-parks and would resist any attempt by RTEAN to impose dues on drivers.
A source at Oredo Local Government said RTEAN has not been authorised to collect revenue for the local council.
RTEAN Publicity Secretary Chief Ben Okpokunu said they went to the parks to collect dues from their members as enshrined in their constitution, and not to collect revenue for Oredo local council.
He said: “We have never stressed that we must collect revenue for the local council. The claim that we invaded motor-parks is untrue. If we decide to retaliate this unprovoked attack on our men, there will be blood-bath in Benin.”
Leaders of all parties in the dispute were invited for questioning at New Benin Police Station.
Soldiers and policemen later restored peace in the area.
Police spokesmen Ejiroro Ahwara said they are investigating the incident.(The Nation)