As JOMSAN hails arrest, promise support
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As food prices remain on the high side across the country, Police personnel under Inspector General’s team has arrested the leader of the illegal revenue collection team, one Mike Eboziegbe, over alleged extortion and harassment of agricultural produce transporters in South West, particularly Lagos and Ibadan axis.
This was made known by the National Taskforce Commander, Joint Mobile Sanitation Agency of Nigeria, JOMSAN, Chief Martins Njoku, while briefing newsmen in Abuja at the weekend.
According to Njoku, the leader of the illegal revenue collection, Eboziegbe has allegedly extorted and harassed transporters of farm produce to markets in the South West region.
He also hailed the IGP team for the action and said it will make other illegal revenue collection teams stop their illicit business, while he promised police support by his agency to sanitize the highways of illegality and criminality.
He added that his organization had written a petition on the heels of complaints of multiple taxations, undue intimation, and harassment by persons who claimed to be revenue collection agents authorized by Local Government Councils.
According to him, JOMSAN remains the only recognized agent engaged by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, as Consultants/Coordinators to ensure the act of touting is eliminated including multiple vehicular taxes and levies imposed by Local Government Councils.
He said: “Our main focus is to ensure that haulage vehicles move freely within the country and curtail the excesses of road blockage as well as put an end to double taxation of food produce.
“Farmers should be able to move food products across the country without any harassment or being impounded for one levy or the other.
“We are doing this in line with the directive from the National Assembly which mandated ALGON to ensure that the roads are free from miscreants and people who pretend to be working for the government.
“We are the ones on the ground to actualise that directive and that is what we are doing.
“Mike Eboziegbe alias Otumba, is the kingpin of extortionist based in the southwest particularly Lagos and Ibadan axis.
“He has a group of boys that he has recruited. They stand on the Federal highways and extort money from motorists. In fact, they have groups up to Abuja.
“He was arrested this morning by the men if the IGP and they are bringing him to Abuja for prosecution, while many one lists would soon be arrested for the same offence of extortion and criminal intimidation.
“Food security is very important to us. We have received a series of complaints from farmers that for example, a truck going to Port Harcourt from Plateau spends at least an extra N300, 000 on the road just to pay levies.”
He also promised support for the operation by the Police, “We are all over the country. What we are doing is to partner with the IGP to ensure that the Federal Highways are cleared up.
“What you saw today is just one of them. We are going to do more especially from Kogi to Enugu, Plateau to Jigawa, and so on.”
However, he also warned that other revenue collectors from the Local Government Areas are to leave federal highways, which he disclosed that all has been put in place to stamp out touting and multiple taxations on the nation’s highways.
“We advise them to leave the federal highways, no matter the kind of revenue you want to generate. They can stay in the inner roads so that the federal highways would be free for people moving food products to have free access and deliver these goods at a price an average Nigerian can afford”, he added.