Three drivers died and several passengers were injured within ten days following clashes between operators of commercial vehicles and new revenue enforcement team in Anambra state.
The drivers accused the enforcement team of extorting money from them at gun point using persons suspected to be members of the Anambra Vigilante Services (AVS).
Addressing reporters in Onitsha, Chairman, Anambra Joint Transporters Forum, Prince Moses Ohanebo, regretted members’ continued harassment and extortion despite payment of mandatory taxes.
He said: “Despite payment of the mandatory taxes by our members, the revenue team has continued to obtain more money from us even when receipt of payment has been presented to the team.
“We are not happy with their operations. They have been harassing our members, locking them up in Black Maria truck and detaining them at the cells with payment of up to N20,000 to secure bail.
“So far, three of our drivers have died due to their operations. At Okoh, Orumba North local government area, they chased one of the drivers conveying passengers and the bus somersaulted leading to death of the driver and many of the passengers sustained various degrees of injury.
“One just sold his land to put his vehicle in order and on the first day he came out, his vehicle was seized because he has not paid his tax but for about three months he has not been on the road and due to that frustration he gave up the ghost.
“Another one ran into an accident when he was being chased by the revenue team who went after him with guns and matchetes.”
Assistant Secretary, Innocent Obagha, accused the enforcement team of heavy and double taxation, just as he alleged introduction of emblem with over ten different types of taxes at motor parks, contrary to Soludo’s directives that they would not pay any more taxes and levies.
While urging Soludo to checkmate activities of the team, Obagha appealed for daily payments, insisting that monthly payment was difficult for them.
“The worst of it all is that even if you have not been on the road for a week or a month you are expected to pay that money with an unofficial penalty of N10,000.00 or N20,000.00 as the case may be,” he noted.
He also urged government to allow them collect the revenue and remit same to government coffers instead of making use of touts.
_ The Nation)