Mapusa (Goa), Nov 2: A collective of rent-a-bike operators in Goa resolved to boycott Nigerians and not accept their business, two days after a mob of Nigerians blocked a national highway and attacked locals and policemen.
Spokesperson for the rent-a-bike operators in north Goa, Jalesh Raut, said that they had also put up signs all over Mapusa, a town 12 kms from Panaji, which says “No to drugs and No to Nigerians”.
“We have decided not to rent out two wheelers to Nigerians after their attack on locals and police Thursday. They give us good business, but they cannot be beating our own people and policemen,” Raut said.
Rent-a-bike is a unique scheme started by the Goa government a few years ago where tourists can rent a two wheeler. The bikes cost about Rs.250 per day and there are around 14,000 such vehicles.
It was these bikes which the protesting Nigerians used to first overtake a police hearse van, smash the vehicle and forcibly extract the body of their murdered compatriot before blockading National Highway 17.
They were demanding the presence of their ambassador, claiming that Nigerians were being targeted by a local narcotics gang operating in Goa. They also claimed that the police were specifically targeting them on the instructions of the local drug gang.
Raut also led a rally of rent-a-bike owners from Mapusa to Porvorim on the national highway urging residents not to lease houses or vehicles to Nigerian nationals.
“The Nigerians pose an open challenge to Goa. If 50 Nigerians can block a road for hours and even intimidate the police, something has to change in Goa,” he said.
Over 50 Nigerians have been arrested following the Thursday violence.