23 July 2013, Lagos – The Nigeria Union of Mine Workers, NUMW, has said it had petitioned the Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom State governments over harassments, which its members constantly receive from touts, who pose as revenue agents in the affected states, stressing that there was the need for the fake agents to be called to order.
The workers also expressed concern that tipper and truck drivers were equally forced to pay various taxes and levies for using the highway, against the provisions of the law, which they alleged had resulted in some of their fellow drivers being assaulted, when they refuse to comply.
According to them, “In Rivers State for instance”, the unionists, who wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, through their counsel, Uche Durueke, said: “This revenue is forcefully collected on the federal highways in Rivers State from truck and tipper drivers carrying chipping and or gravels.
“The revenue agents block the highways to collect the sum. Tipper and truck drivers are assaulted.
Tippers and trucks are obstructed from continuing to their destinations if for any reason a driver is not in fund to pay the sum or he queries the discriminatory taxation.”
They also complained of similar harassments in Abia State. In a protest letter they wrote to the governor, Theodore Orji, they said they had been subjected to multiple taxation as they were forced to make daily payments of N1,000 for infrastructure, N50 road ticket, N50 motor sanitation toll and another N50 as exit and entry toll. “It is important to state that similar revenues are being collected from these tipper and truck drivers by revenue agents of local government councils in Abia State. For instance, the Obingwa Local Government Area collects consolidated daily ticket of N200,” they said.
The unionists asked the state government to put a stop to the incessant levies and taxes in the state and also warn the touts to stop blocking the federal roads for the purpose of the illegal levies, since their activities had no backing of the law.
THISDAY also gathered that a similar letter was written to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, in which they protested against the N500 daily infrastructure levy imposed on the drivers by revenue agents whom they suspect to be fake, anytime they drove pass the state.
“The touts, who parade as revenue agents work with armed personnel. We note that the blocking of the federal highway to collect the said levy or any revenue is illegal, being against the existing legislation on blocking of the federal highways. It is our conviction that you will not allow this atrocities to continue,” they added.
– Earnest Chinwo, This Day