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Alleged money extortion: Gov Matawalle suspends ZAROTA activities

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By Ibrahim Kaulahi, Gusau

Following increasing complaints by road users in Zamfara State, Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle has approved the indefinite suspension of all activities run by the Zamfara Road Transport Agency (ZAROTA) in the State.

In a statement by the Permanent Secretary cabinet affairs, office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Yakubu Sani Haidara, all activities of the embattled agency have been suspended considering rapid increase of complaints by the people in the state.

“In the meantime, the activities of the organisation will be overseen by a joint task force of Police, VIO, Federal Road Safety Commission and Civil Defence Corps. Meanwhile, the Governor has further directed for setting up of a committee to review the conduct of the officials of the organisation.

The development may not be unconnected with an aggrieved protest staged by hundreds of truck drivers that led to the blockage of Gusau-Sokoto road today over alleged money extortion by the ZAROTA officials.

A disturbed driver identified as Lawali Bungudu, cried that, the ZAROTA officials used to forcefully collect anything amounted to 1,000 up to 5,000 naira without issuance of any receipt that would indicate that the monies were generated for remittance into the State Government coffers.

“The extortion was not only on local drivers as it also affected even interstate drivers who convey goods from either southern part of the country to the north, and or inter northern states to other parts of the region”, Bungudu has lamented.

It would be recalled, reports on both the viral video and audio clips which featured the embattled Chairman of the controversial agency, Aliyu Alhazai, as he was engaged in a number of illegalities comprising illegal detention of a politician and a threat on a freedom of expression.

In the viral video, the Chairman of the suspended agency was viewed as he humiliated a young politician whose alleged offence was that he posted some questions on a social media challenging the State Governor’s promises made to execute yet to be completed projects.

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