By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Vehicular and Human movement was on Thursday halted for four hours, causing heavy traffic gridlock in Onitsha the commercial city of Anambra State and its environs.
This followed the protest by tricycle operators who withdrew their services to the public and blocked all the entry and exit roads in the city.
Thousands of commuters were made to trek long distances by tricycle operators who forced their colleagues to discharge their passengers half way to join them block the roads to attack the attention of the state government to their plight.
Spokesman for tricycle operators Anselm Duru while addressing newsmen at DMGS roundabout Onitsha, alleged that the revenue agents employed by the Anambra State Government are collecting not less than N3,500 from each operator on daily basis, inflicting injuries on them for asking for receipts for the money they pay to them.
He gave area in Onitsha and its environs were such levies are allegedly being collected from them with violence as, Savoy Junction to Awka Raod, DMGS roundabout to New Cemetery Road, DMGS to Ose Okwodu Market, Venn Road to Port Harcourt Road, Venn Road to Niger Bridge Head Junction, Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Junction to 33 Junction Onitsha.
Duru and some of his members displayed some of the tickets given to them as Commercial Tricycle Owners and Drivers Welfare Association Anambra State, CTORNAAS, N550, Loading and Offloading Pit Fee Permit, N300, Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, N350.
They alleged that Savoy Junction agents has five Pits that collects N300 each not receipted, which is N1500 everyday from each operator, while they also pay between N200 to N300 at any Junction they drop passenger to agents manning such pits.
Other areas they alleged they are being extorted between N500 to N850 everyday are Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Junction to 33 Junction Onitsha, Venn road Junction to Port Harcourt road, and Venn road to Niger Bridge Head Onitsha.
They therefore appealed to the Anambra State Governor Sir Willie Obiano to intervene by disclosing the names of the levies and the amount they are expected pay to the government.
However the State Commissioner for Information Mr. Don Adinuba said that tricycle operators are not supposed to pay more than N700 daily
“We have many revenue syndicates, operating in the state defrauding the government and tricycle operators, you know that the Governor has just yesterday appointed a new Commissioner for Transport, we appeal to tricycle operators not to take laws into their hands, the new Commissioner will address their grievances.”