BY DANIEL GBABO, MAKURDI
Operation Zenda, the Benue State task force on security, comprising the military and the police, clashed with members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers in Makurdi, the state’s capital, causing confusion in the metropolis on Friday.
It was learnt that trouble started when a tanker driver spit on a traffic officer who was directing the flow of traffic along the only road leading out of the state capital to the southern part of the country.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Ahir, told The PUNCH that a motorist with a smaller car blocked the road before the tanker driver arrived.
The truck driver was said to have attempted to force his way through contrary to the direction of the traffic warden.
Ahir said an argument ensued between the traffic officer and the tanker driver, who allegedly spit on traffic warden, a development that coincided with the arrival of men of Operation Zenda.
Operatives of the joint security task force were said to have descended on the truck driver and beat him to a pulp.
NUPENG officials and other tanker drivers were said to have been alerted to the fate of their colleagues.
The union officials were alleged to have blocked the highway with their trucks in reaction to the beating of their colleague.
The state chairman of NUPENG, Joseph Hungur, told The PUNCH at the scene of the blockade that the state treasurer of the Union, Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, lost a tooth when the security operatives attacked him.
He said, “My treasurer lost one of his teeth and has been whisked away; at the same time, some of our workers are already in detention and I cannot tell them to move away because it will look as if I am acting in connivance with the security operatives.”
This is happening just as the fuel scarcity in the state continues to bite harder while black marketers continue to make huge sales from the scarcity.