Tricycle operators within Isi-Gate Umuahia, Abia State capital on Monday brought complaint to journalists alleging that policemen in the city connive with the touts to extort them daily after the touts might have stolen their monies.
A tricycle operator who gave his name simply as Caleb said the policemen usually come from Umuahia Central Police Station (CPS) and Umuahia Area Command to do the dirty job with the touts.
According to Caleb, “The touts claiming to be employed and empowered as taskforce members at Isi-Gate by a powerful Ibeku, Umuahia-born politician boast that nothing can happen no matter whom they hurt or terrorize.
“The touts harass us for no reason and whenever we challenge them, they will invite their partners from Umuahia CPS and Area Command who will confiscate our tricycles and demand huge sums of money before releasing them.
“We’re tired of complaining. If we complain, our union will say they will do something, but after several complaints you’ll still see these touts around making life a living hell for all of us. So, we chose to talk to the media.
“Most of them are younger than myself. How can I suffer myself on daily and after I have worked, and got some money, small boys that should get busy will seek ways of collecting it from me because they’re political touts of one powerful politician.”
Another tricyclist, Nnabugwu Ikonne said that the touts who are from Ibeku with their leader who is called Spice also extort food vendors who move around the zone.
Abia government some months ago ordered traders at Isi-Gate to relocate to Ubani-Ibeku Market, but touts said to have been employed by an Abia politician to work there as taskforce now collect money and allow clothes traders and others to sell wares in area.
“These touts aren’t strangers. They’re from Ibeku and their leader is called Spice.
“They claimed they were given the job by their Ibeku brother who is a powerful politician. Whenever we try to park anywhere, they will jump out with the allegation that we parked wrongly and they will take our keys.
“When you try to chase them with that speed, the remaining touts will steal your phone and the money you kept in the pigeonhole.
“When you demand your money back, they invite their collaborators from CPS Umuahia and Area Command who will come, take the tricycle to their station and collect money they will share with the touts from you.
“Most times they have a way of stealing the tricycle when you chase them and you will not see the tricycle again”, he said.
Ikonne said that Marijuana is sold at the area where Umudike passengers board, but instead of policemen arresting them, they go smoke with them and later collect money and leave without any action.
When contacted, Abia Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna said the Police authorities has no knowledge of alleged connivance of Police with touts in flouting govt order at Isi-Gate in Umuahia.
Ogbonna who disclosed this to our reporter who asked for reaction on allegations that police are also conniving with touts at Isi-Gate to extort tricycle operators.
He however said that anybody with such complaint should come to his office.