…a truck driver alleged imposition of taxes ranging from N25,000 and N20,000, for ten and six tyres lorries and trucks
Articulated truck drivers in Anambra State on Friday, protested in Onitsha, the commercial city of the state over what they termed heavy government’s taxation on their vehicles.
The protest is coming barely three days mini buses blocked the same Bridge over alleged extortion and lack of motor parks in the city.
The drivers blocked major roads leading to and from the state through Onitsha, alleging imposition of N30,000 levy for trucks loading and offloading goods in the State.
Stranded workers and traders heading to Onitsha for their businesses were forced to trek long distances to their destinations as the protest caused heavy traffic, stretching towards Asaba axis.
Some bus drivers were forced to drive against traffic to manuevre their ways, while tricyclists and motorcyclists took advantage of the situation to make brisk profits as they ferried stranded passengers with 100 to 200 percent fare increase.
One of the protesters, Obum Clement alleged imposition of taxes ranging from N25,000 and N20,000, for ten and six tyres lorries and trucks respectively.
Another driver who preferred anonymity said they paid N15,000 depending on type of truck and buses, with payment of N5,000 to N3,000 for loading and offloading.
A commuter said, “What kind of government will impose such amount of levy on vehicles bringing goods, including food stuffs into the state at this time of the year people are preparing for Christmas and New Year.
A driver who identified himself as Joe Elena expressed surprise over the levy, describing the Soludo-led government as the worst the people of the state would experience.
Reacting, Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC Adeoye Irelewuyi, expressed concern over the blocking of the highway, appealing to the aggrieved drivers to be humane in their protest.
“I just want to appeal to the truck drivers to channel their grievances through proper channels. By the time they block the major highway, they’re affecting several innocent persons who are not part of their problem.
“Some may be rushing to catch up flights, hospitals and other emergencies; but they’re held up and not able to move. We’re not saying they should not express their feelings, but let it be under humane atmosphere,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, normalcy has returned to the area following Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s intervention.
A statement by his Press Secretary Christian Aburime, said, “A report was received early this morning, Friday, 9th December 2022 by Anambra State Government, on the blockage of the road leading into Anambra State from Head Bridge, Onitsha by lorries loaded with plain wood products.
“Following the directives of the Governor, the Special Adviser on Security and the Managing Director, OCHA Brigade moved to the location. On arrival, they engaged with the Police Area Commander of Onitsha, DPOs of Head Bridge and Harbour, the lorry drivers’ leadership and two flying revenues concessionaires.
“The matter was resolved based on four key resolutions:
1. Government shall deal decisively with anybody found on the road without accreditation as a revenue agent and at an approved revenue collection point.
2. The Government enforcement bodies (ANJET and OCHA Brigade) shall work with transport bodies, contractors and security agencies to ensure revenue collection is sanitized.
3. Only Government-accredited revenue collection points shall aggregate appropriate revenue collection agents.
4. Government has declared wanted, all notorious criminals terrorizing drivers on the roads and shall deal with them decisively.
“The State wishes to use this opportunity to solicit the cooperation of all well-meaning citizens particularly with the new Government approach to revenue generation, which the government is working hard to sanitize.
“The State Government will not spare any effort to fish out illegal revenue collectors and bring them to book.
“Ndi Anambra are urged to go about their normal duties and to avail themselves of the helplines of the State (07039896429, 09017280990, 09076237441, 08093175528, 09187514891, 09168041120 and 08124153139) in order to report any untoward incident on our roads and in our markets, in an effort to build a peaceful and liveable Anambra State.”