Posted by News Express | 24 August 2020 | 473 times
By EMMA ELEKWA, Onitsha
Transport operators in Anambra State have continued to lament alleged extortions, harassment, and activities of illegal revenue collectors in the state.
They alleged extortion of fees ranging from N7, 500 to N2, 300 as well as periodic beatings, especially when they had no money to pay.
A commercial bus driver, who identified himself as Ejike Ibemezie said they would have been richer if the illegal collectors were not in existence.
“Each transporter plying different routes pays N7, 500 to different groups in the morning; in the afternoon, they pay N850, while they pay N2, 300 in the evening. The amount reduces on Sundays.
“If the government wants funds from us, why not make the process more formal?”
A tricycle operator, Uzochukwu Ifeatu who plies the Nkpor-main market area of Onitsha said smaller transporters like them and shuttle buses were not left in the extortion.
“The worse part of it is that they fight with us when we don’t have the money to pay. You can see the injuries I sustained during one of such fights. Sometimes our vehicles are damaged in the process.
“These touts look so fierce and go about harassing us with brazen impunity,” he decried.
Reacting to the development, state chairman, Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Kingsley Maduagwuna called on the government to deploy security agencies and task forces to ensure touts were flushed out the roads and various markets in the state.
He said, “Over the years, our association, which has government backing was sabotaged by the activities of touts and antics of our opponents, who were only interested in filling their pockets.
“Having cleared such obstacles on our way, and with the nod of government to operate, we shall use the instrumentality of RTEAN to boost the state revenue profile because the touts, who used to siphon monies that should have gone into the state coffers, are on the run.
“We shall draw modalities and work with the ministry of transport and other relevant stakeholders to achieve this target. If what entered the purse of the state through the parks used to be N1.00, RTEAN will increase it to N5.00.”
Contacted, Commissioner for Transport, Afam Mbanefo assured that measures were being put in place to rid the state off touts, describing their nuisance as a source of worry to both government and residents. (The Nation)
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