7 transporters killed by Soludo’s revenue collectors, unions seek revenue policy review

By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha

Transporters in Anambra State under the aegis of Joint Transporters Forum (JTF) have asked Governor Charles Soludo to revisit his revenue policy and disengage touts collecting revenue in the state. 

This is as the forum made up of seven unions; Heavy Duty, Tipper Union, United Mini Trucks, Shuttle Bus, Taxi Union, Tricycle Union and Okada Union alleged that seven of their members have been killed in different parts of the state by Soludo’s revenue enforcement team.

The Forum under the leadership of Prince Moses Ohanebo pleaded with the Governor to listen to them, give them an opportunity to collect the revenue among themselves and pay daily.

Ohanebo, flanked by other members shortly after their joint meeting in Onitsha said that their members are fast abandoning the transport business because of crude activities of the touts enforcing the payment of revenue to transport operators in the state.

The Chairman said Prof Soludo came up with the  idea of  digitalisation of taxes to reduce the activities of touting and refined modes of collecting revenue for the State which they supported.

He said that “unfortunately, the implementation faced some hitches and has been hurting transport operators in the state seriously.”

He said the aspect that hurts transporters most is payment of the taxes in advance on a weekly  basis adding that it has compelled their members whose vehicles were bad and taken to mechanics or travelled for some days or weeks or were sick to pay those days they did not work.

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He said some of their members have dropped their vehicles because they could not pay for accumulated days or weeks they did not work which at the end of the day might have run into hundreds of thousands of naira. 

He appealed to the Governor to revisit the policy so that they can pay daily for the work.

The Chairman also said his members have been facing extortion, intimidation, harassment, beating and deaths from Governor’s  enforcement revenue collectors.

“Just last week one person died at Owerri Road in the hands of the Governor’s enforcement team, while about three others were killed in Ihiala,  some were killed in Oko, Awka and other parts of the state,” he said.

The Chairman also said that, “some of the people who are now collecting revenues were hoodlums and enemies of drivers they had earlier chased out, while some were in detention but were brought back to engage in touting which the Governor told the world that he would jettison.

“Unfortunately, they were brought back in large numbers and issued uniforms which have given them more impetus to manhandle our members” 

“Government created these touts which we chased away before. They should give us full backing to chase out these hoodlums. We have registered unions and formidable structures that could collect revenue peaceful and easier for the government “

“We pay for multiple emblems as well as the stipulated government revenue but these government revenue collectors still beat us and collect a penalty of any amount they like because they are not paid, it depends on what they get for the day.

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“They move with guns and weapons but the state  government is not doing anything to address our complaints. Let Soludo as the state solution governor bring solutions to these problems. We are being persecuted as if we are not part of the government but the Governor has been our choice and we give him our support” Ohanebo lamented.

In his speech,  Mr. Innocent Obaya, who is the Coordinator of Keke riders and assistant Secretary of Joint Transporters Forum  said that these touts have been so much empowered that they go about with Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG), Ocha Brigade operatives and Policemen.

He said that sometimes these operatives arrest their members, put them in Black Maria to Awka, detain them for days, compelling them to pay whatever amount they mentioned.

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