Don't Miss

December 5, 2022

Your style in levy collection is exposing us to kidnappers, Traders tell Soludo

By Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Industrialist, business men, importers and warehouse operators who are mostly traders in different markets in Onitsha and its environs have appealed to the Anambra State government to revisits its style of collecting the newly introduced levy for loading and offloading of goods into and out of heavy duty vehicles, saying that it is exposing their lives to kidnappers and other violent criminals.

They specifically appealed to Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, to think deep and come up with a more descent individuals and ways of collecting the money from them instead of using people they described as hoodlums that are allegedly unleashing terror on them by the revenue contractor collecting the money for the government.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Obosi, Idemili North Local Government, Chief Ikechukwu Asinobi, who is the spokesman of the factory and warehouse owners, located in areas such as Atani road, in Ogbaru council area, Obosi, Awada, Nkpor, Ogidi, in Idemili North and Oba and Umuoji in Idemili South council areas, alleged that the personnel, manner and style, used in collecting the levy from then is a big threat to lives their lives and businesses.

They alleged that with the kind of people coming to their premises to collect the money from them, they are simply being exposed to kidnappers and other violent criminals, as their personal lives, business and services are being monitored for other clandestine activities of hoodlums.

According to Asinobi, “While we are not opposed to the levy, even though it is high, we are demanding that the right personnel be used to collect the money, instead of hoodlums whom we know used to opportunity of collecting the levy, to monitor our movements, the movements of our goods and company operations, that is not acceptable to us, it must be discouraged because of insecurity in the state.

“In fact we are being exposed to kidnappers and other violent criminals, with these kinds of hard drug smokers coming to our private companies and warehouses to demand for the money. We are not safe at all with such characters around us.

“We are having problem with the newly introduced tax system for loading and offloading of goods in trucks because of the individuals being used mode operation. The government said that trucks should be paying special revenue of N30,000, starting with trailers as the biggest vehicle, for every one of them that load goods or offload in the state.

“Other trucks have their own amount, ranging from N25,000 to N20,000 for ten and six tyres trucks. Some are also paying N15,000 depending of such truck, even down to the lowest which are buses, paying N5,000 to N3,000. We are not against the levy if it is want government wants.

“However, the exorbitant levy is not our problem, the main issue that is worrying and disturbing us is the threat to our lives and business because the personnel that are collecting the levy for the government and the contracts they employed to collect the levy for them.

“When the levy was introduced by the present government, we thought it was for those vehicles that offload and load at the markets and motor parks, we did not know that factory, companies and warehouse owners and outside the Onitsha markets and motor parks  are affected. That that did not actually disturbed us, but when we started interfacing with the people who they used to collect the money, whom most of us knows are ‘bad boys’ was when we became worried.

“We are worried that they are not only coming for the levy, but we know they use the opportunity of coming for the levy to monitor our movements as individual and our good and services. In fact we are being exposed to kidnappers with these kind of characters visiting our companies and warehouse to demand for the levy, thereby meeting us whom they don’t know before now.

“We say no to anybody sending these characters to our personal factories, companies, and warehouses to demand for the money. You know the hoodlums and their unruly behaviour, they come, force our security me to open the gates, they throw the gates open and order that it will remain open until they leave the premises.

“You know the security situation in the country and the state, everybody is hiding himself and managing to operate his businesses, when you send these heartless boys to us as revenue agents to come and he interacting with us in the name of revenue collection, what do you think you are doing, is it not intruding into our privacy, exposing us to danger, do you think they will stop at revenue collection?

“Most of the youths being used to collect the money by the revenue contractors are drug addicts, criminals known to the society for their violent activities and those know for their touting activities, in fact 99% of them are what people who can only be accessed by people who employed them for the revenue collection.

“Their manner of approach is zero, their mode of operation is violence, they will tell you, “Oga you either pay, the money or will destroy your property or goods”that is their mode of operation, they don’t have time to explain anything to you and any argument with them leads to destruction like they will always threaten. You can’t ask them question on anything that is not clear to you, the only thing that can he used to identify them is the Apron they wear that have inscription as “Anambra State Government Revenue Agent”

“If you insist on knowing who they are, they will flash a paper they call “Authority paper” from government which they quickly put back into their pockets or small bags they carry, they won’t even allow you to touch the paper let alone read it. They have nothing to do with law enforcement agents because they are Police and Army to themselves, they are authority themselves, they can do any violent thing, they even boast before you on their capacity for destruction.

“They come numbering between ten and more, they swoop on you demanding for money, this is serious danger we are in now, a very big security threat for us as business men and women in the state. You know the state has security issue, with this one now added to it, it is disturbing, it is threat to our lives.

“What we are complaining is that the style of collecting the levy is not safe for us, interfacing with these characters, coming to collect the levy from us is not acceptable, to us, they government is exposing us to hoodlums who ordinarily does not have access to us, they don’t come close to our companies or warehouses before the levy was introduced, but with this levy, they barge into our companies, warehouses, offices in the name of revenue collection agents.

“We are therefore, pleading with the state government to find a more decent way and individuals to collect the money, we are not against the levy, but we are against the style and individual being used to collect it from us, they are threats to our lives, in fact using them to collect the levy is exposing us to kidnappers and other violent criminals.”