…the touts operate at various flash points, include, Upper Iweka axis, Bida road, Nkpor junction/St Anthony church Old road, Owerri road, Iweka/down flyover, Ugwu Nwasike junction
Traders and commuters passing through Onitsha, Anambra State have continued to suffer extortion, assault and harassment by illegal revenue collectors and touts.
The illegal revenue collectors who had since been sacked by Governor Chukwuma Soludo, had reportedly returned to the area.
The touts who operate at various flash points, include, Upper Iweka axis, Bida road, Nkpor junction/St Anthony church Old road, Owerri road, Iweka/down flyover, Ugwu Nwasike junction, claimed they had government backing.
Reacting to the development on Wednesday, traders under the aegis of Concerned Anambra Traders’ Association, led by Chief Gabriel Okeke, accused government of allowing the touts to return after their sack.
Okeke said, “These touts and illegal revenue collectors openly station themselves in some flash points and operate without fear of challenge or arrest because they have the backing of some faceless government functionaries
“The Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders’ Association, ASMATA, Caretaker Committee, headed by Chief Humphrey Anuna, should be dissolved for not living up to the expectation of the residents of the State.
“The members of the committee composed mostly non traders but politicians who have nothing tangible they do for living, nor shops in markets where they claim to belong.
“If they are genuine traders they would have stopped the illegal extortion, assault, harassment and other inhuman treatment being meted out to traders, travellers, holiday makers and others, especially at this yuletide season.
“Their names were compiled by the ASMATA PG and allegedly forwarded to the State Government by a former chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, Hon. Everest Uba, who is a manufacturer but claims to know about market affairs and leadership.
“The ASMATA PG who claimed to be a former chairman of Amalgamated Tyre Dealers Association, ATDA, presently has no shop/ware house at the said ATDA and has nothing tangible that he was doing prior to his appointment as the ASMATA PG.
“Instead of ensuring that the markets prosper, he rather brings back those market leaders sacked by the State Government over flawed elections in their different markets, to work with them at the detriment of the genuine traders.”
Okeke however, urged traders not to be deterred by the antics of the ASMATA leadership, expressing optimism that State Government would realize its mistake and correct it in 2023.