By Okey Maduforo
No fewer than three drivers have so far died and several passengers injured in ten days following clashes between commuter drivers and the new revenue enforcement team set up by the Anambra state government.
Similarly the commuter drivers and operators have accused the new revenue enforcement team of obtaining money from them at gun point using the personnel of the Anambra Vigilante Services AVS.
According to the Chairman Anambra Joint Transporters Forum Prince Moses Ohanebo and the Assistant Secretary Mr Innocent Obagha who spoke to reporters in Onitsha, despite the payment of the mandatory taxes by members the revenue team has continued to extort more money from members even when receipt of payment has been presented to the team.
“We are not happy with the operations of the revenue team who have been harassing our members, locking them up in Black Maria truck and detaining them at the revenue team cells leaving them with the option of paying up to N20,000.00 to secure bail”
“So far three of our drivers have died due to the operation of the tax force on revenue and you will recall that at Okoh Orumba North local government area, they chased one of the drivers conveying passengers and the bus somersaulted leading to the death of the driver and many of the passengers sustained various degrees of injury”
“One just sold his land to put his vehicle in order and on that first day he commenced work, his vehicle was seized because he has not paid his tax but for about three months he has not been on the road and due to that frustration he gave up the ghost “
“The other one ran into an accident when he was being chased by the revenue team who went after him with guns and machetes”
The body further accused the enforcement team of heavy and double taxation adding that the claim that the payments did not reflect in their data base.
“we urge Gov Soludo to checkmate the activities of the team because they are the touts that have been harassing our members and government recruited them as revenue enforcement team”
“The monthly payment is difficult for our members and we appeal to the state government to allow us to pay daily instead of monthly and the worst of it all is that even if you have not been on the road for a week or a month you are expected to pay that money with an unofficial penalty of N10,000.00 or N20,000.00 as the case may be”
The body also alleged that as against the initial announced by Gov Soludo that they would not pay any more taxes and levies the government has introduced emblem and the touts at the motor packs have over ten different types of taxes without the knowledge of the governor.
They posited that government should allow them collect the revenue and pay to the government coffers instead of using touts to collect revenue.