A business man in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, Mr. Ezeifo, has decried alleged harassment, intimidation and high level extortion he has been subjected to since August in the hands of the leadership of the Caretaker Committee of Ogbaru Relief Market, led by Mr. Victor Nwawuzie.
In a petition he wrote to the duo of the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, and the Commissioner for Transport Mr. Afam Mbanefo, entitled “A cry for help on intimidation/illegal levies on heavy duty truck” Ezeifo said he was daily harassed and extorted at 223 and 240 Obodoukwu Road Okpoko, Ogbaru council area.
He accused Nwawuzie of sending one Nkwa, who has been collecting between N3,000 to N7,000 from him daily without receipt, but only signed his signature and phone number on a paper after daily collection of money from him.
He added: “The extortion by Nwawuzie’s boys started in May 2020 till date. Between August 12, 2020 to November, 23, I have paid N313,000 to Nkwa, through use of force.
“He has been collecting between N3,000 to N7,000 from me daily without receipt, but only signed his signature and phone number on a paper after daily collection of money from me.”
In his reaction, Mr. Nwawuzie denied knowledge of who Mr. Ezeifo is nor sending anybody to collect money for him.
According to him, he had no right of entry to any private or government park for collection of levy.
“I only have right in Ogbaru Relief Market parks,” Nawuzie added.
It was gathered that a group of fake revenue agents and market leaders in Onitsha have reportedly been engaged in illegal revenue collection, defying government ban on revenue collection on the major roads in the markets.
News Express reports that the State Government, through the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, had announced placement of ban on revenue collection, following increasing extortion by gangs from individuals, mostly travellers in the state.
The government had said that the revenue touts pretend to be agents of the State Government, in their illegal, violent and brazen activities, which have resulted in serious security breaches and harassment of law-abiding citizens.
Indications are rife that that the warning was flouted as revenue touts were still sited at certain corners areas of Onitsha.
The areas include the Niger Bridge Head entry of Onitsha from Asaba, near Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu plaque, Relief Market Ogaru opposite Upper Iweka Flyover, Owerri Road and Obodoukwu road.
The touts are said to be pursuing motorists with sticks in order to get money from them in the name of State Government revenue task force.
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