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Food strike: Lagos moves to stop illegal roadblocks, levies

…as committee lists recommendations

By Monsorudeen Olowoopejo
Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN of Lagos State will collaborate with other governors in the country to abolish illegal roadblocks and collection of levies at checkpoints on all federal and state roads. He is to push for this measure at the next National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja.

This and 10 others are some of the recommendations advanced by the committee set up by Fashola on  23 March 2010 to investigate the recent one-week strike embarked upon by foodstuff dealers in the state and allegations levelled at the state government by the Amalgamated Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association.

Speaking on the recommendations at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday,  chairman of the committee, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the government had accepted the recommendations.

Stressing the need to involve other states in the crusade, Ipaye said: “This shows that whatever Lagos State does cannot totally cure these challenges unless the Lagos State government collaborates with other state governments and Federal Government agencies in the country so that it will be a common action across the Federation.”

The chairman assured the general public that Fashola was already taking steps to realise the objective.

Other recommendations

Ipaye said other recommendations included making of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives the only state agency authorised to collect levies from traders at the border.

He added that the fees for inspection of cattle and other agricultural produce would be clarified and publicised in different languages for the benefit of members of the public, traders and truck drivers.

He said: “All collections purportedly made by agents along the highway on behalf of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation should stop forthwith.

“Government officials or agents of Lagos State operating on the highway for security, health and safety purposes will wear distinctive uniform and name badge for identification.

“The list of association drivers should be copied to the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and regularly update it and the association should ensure that it collaborates with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, for proper training and necessary education to be given to the drivers which include enlightenment on traffic rules and penalty involved.

Joint security patrol

“The state government will set up a joint security patrol agencies in Lagos which will be saddled with the responsibility of checking corruption, extortion, harassment and illegal tax collection on the highways.”

Shading light on the security patrol agency, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Marvel Akpoyibo, who was represented by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, Mr Vincent Brown, said the patrol team would consist of army, police, the SSS, LASTMA and representatives of food dealers in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the foodstuff association, Mr. Sheu Usman assured that with the latest development, the escalating price of foodstuffs in the state would reduce drastically within a few months.


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