The members of Luxury Bus Owners Association of Nigeria (LBOAN), took to the roads in Onitsha, Anambra State, to protest the killing of their members, with the latest victim being a conductor of Ifeanyichukwu Motors, who was killed along Benue-Nasarawa Highway, by suspected armed robbers in army uniform.
The protesters comprising bus owners, drivers and conductors of luxury buses, numbering about 100, carried leaves and placards with inscription such as, “Federal Government should provide security for us on the highway; Our business is about to close due to increasing attacks and killings of our drivers, conductors and passengers on highways; Stop killings of drivers, Enough is enough; Government, security agents should come to our aid before it is too late; and Luxury bus owners say no to killings of drivers, conductors and passengers”, among others.
They marched from Upper Iweka through Izuchukwu Park and Northern Park to Lagos Park Onitsha and warned that after seven days, if the government fails to provide adequate security on the highways, especially along Benue-Nasarawa axis, they would bring vehicular movement and business activities to a halt, by blocking the highway with their buses.
They alleged to have lost over 20 lives between last year and this year, while over 50 persons have sustained various degrees of bullet wounds on the road.
The luxury bus owners also alleged that Customs officers always delay their buses on the road “for unnecessary checks, which force the drivers to pass through black spots at late hours.
The leaders of the group and the National Task Force Chairman of the Association Mr. Chigbo Emebo, and his South East counterpart, Mr. Uchenna Maduako, lamented the incessant attack on their buses, and wondered why the gunmen always attack them on check points with police and army uniforms. They said, within one week, they witnessed three robbery attacks, the latest on May 6, when the driver of Ifeanyichukwu Motors was stopped at checkpoint and gunmen on army uniform opened fire on them killing the assistant driver (conductor) on the spot.
They are using police and army uniforms to rob our buses and kill our drivers and conductors as well as passengers. We have been managing, but, it is now getting out of hand. Especially this year, along Benue-Nasarawa Highway, they rob us on a daily basis. Many of our drivers have stopped the driving job because of the killings on the road; just yesterday, they shot and killed a conductor of Ifeanyichukwu Motors, three days ago they robbed and killed two passengers of FG Onyenwe Motors.