Seven suspected illegal revenue collectors have been apprehended by security operatives at Old Garki, Amansea on the old Enugu-Onitsha road, Awka for extortion and violent attacks on lorry drivers.
The suspects were caught during the ongoing crackdown on fake revenue collectors by the Anambra State Ministry of Trade and Commerce.
Dr Christian Madubuko, the commissioner for Trade and Commerce, who spoke to journalists on the arrest on Tuesday in Awka, expressed dismay at the activity of illegal revenue collectors, especially after government’s warning.
The fake revenue collectors consisting of six men and a lady were caught on Amansea road collecting what they called “produce fees” and “Commerce and Industry fees” from lorry drivers passing through the state.
Madubuko said the group had mounted unauthorised road blocks and attacked lorry drivers and extorted money from them.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Michael Okonkwo, who also condemned the ugly trend, noted that some people also collected sanitation fees from the people illegally.
Okonkwo vowed that his ministry would soon set its dragnet for the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of such acts, and called on the residents to be cautious in making payments.
“The state has authorised persons issued with papers through the office of the Chief of Staff to operate as revenue collectors for government,” he said.
One of the suspects who identified himself simply as “State Coordinator” Nigeria Lorry Drivers Association (NILODA), Mmaduka from Ukpo in Anambra, confessed that he illegally collected revenue with his men at Amansea.
He claimed that the commissioner for agriculture authorised the collection of the fees.
However, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Afam Mbanefor, promptly denied the allegation when his attention was drawn to the statement by the suspect. (NAN)