His Excellency,?Mr. Peter Obi

Governor of Anambra State

Office of the Governor

Government House, Awka

Sir,

Season Of Sundry Extortion On Anambra Roads: A Call To Save ?Onitsha Commercial Tricycle Riders And Owners Of Container Goods From ?The Menace Of Revenue Touts And Militant Entities

( Public Representation: Onitsha Nigeria, 28th of August, 2013)- The Society WatchA Project of International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law wishes to draw the attention of Your Excellency over the extortionist activities by certain criminal individuals in the State against the Tricycle operators popularly known as KEKE NAPEP on the State roads particularly in Onitsha zone as well as owners of container goods in Fegge area of Onitsha.

These unlawful and human rights-violating activities have been going on for quite a long time with impunity in broad day light in the commercial city of Onitsha and environs.? As a matter of fact, every street and junction in the city is dotted with militant youths; recruited by shylock revenue merchants and criminal entities for the purpose of sustaining their criminal business enterprises. Though such criminal activities are directed against, owners of container goods, commercial tricycles, motorcycle and wheel barrow operators, but the commercial tricycle operators are the worse hit.

The sight of their activities presents a despicable picture of ?might is right- situation? and if nothing is urgently done to curtail the ugly trend, Onitsha and environs may once again be in the news for the wrong reason leading to the breakdown of law and order not only in the city but also in other parts of the State. In Fegge-Onitsha and environs, for instance, militant activities of some groups linked to MASSOB, Igbo Youth and Onitsha ?Ado Youth, etc have almost grounded business activities to a halt particularly as it affects the offloading and on-loading of container goods and reconstruction of structures and fixtures. This is in-spite of a set of laws passed recently by Your Excellency banning such criminal activities including ?free-hold fees? imposed by those that call themselves ?township indigenes?.

Those who off-load container goods in the area are made to pay at gun point sums ranging from N20, 000 to N40, 000 per container, whether 20 feet or 40 feet size. Conveying goods from a warehouse to a market store also attracts at least N5, 000. In the area of similar criminal activities being visited on the commercial tricycle operators, they got out of hand leading to some of the affected operators besieging our office with factual complaints of what they pass through on daily basis in the hands of the criminal individuals under reference. Sequel to this, our field officers investigated further.

Our investigation showed that an average KEKE operator that plies from Obodoukwu Road in Ogbaru LGA through Upper Iweka to Bridge-Head in Onitsha pays at least twenty-five (25) tolls, ranging from fifty naira (#50) to two hundred and fifty naira (#250) per toll point to criminal individuals who operate under different pretexts.

Under the? route mentioned, the extortionists operate and extort at the following roads and junctions: ?Obodoukwu Road/Atani Road- #150; Obodoukwu Road /Ede Road-150; Obodoukwu? Road/ Owerri? Road- #150,? Obodoukwu Road/ ?Ogbaru Relief Market-#150; ?Aba? Park by Upper Iweka- #150;? Onitsha Fly-over top-#150;?Down Fly-over-#150; Upper Iweka/ Ekeson? Park (three toll points)- #150 each, Uga Junction/ Onitsha-Enugu Expressway-#150; Onitsha Niger Bridgehead(manned by the Ogbaru Youth or? Ukwu Aziza group and three other groups)- #150 each.

Others are the Piakata (commander) group, operating along Onitsha- Owerri Road/Aba Park- #100. ?Victims of these deadly groups dare not demand receipts from the extorting groups as doing so may attract severe body beatings, injuries or even summary death.

The following operate militantly but with non-statutory or extra-legal tickets: Anambra State Park Management Committee ticket-#100 per commercial tricycle; All Route Motor ticket-#100; Ogbaru LGA(TRICYCLE/KEKE TICKET)- #50; Kelus & Company (Ogbaru LGA)? IGR ticket- #50; Anambra State Government (OBYHANS NIG LTD) ticket- #100; Anambra State Government (TRICYCLE TICKECT)ASWAMA ticket-#150; ATOODAS/AOWAN KNOOWASS -#250; Uche Okeke Group of Copy?s ticket- #100; Obosi Parks/Bus Stop/Market Welfare ticket-#150; etc. It is observed that none of those tickets made available to us bears any address, phone numbers or verifiable links to the real owners of such criminal business establishments. That alone underscores the possibility of fraud and criminal intent to extort on the part of those issuing them.

The same applies to almost all the routes in the Onitsha and its environs.? It even gets worse if a KEKE operator plies a route like Obodoukwu Road through Upper Iweka to Onitsha Main Market, as such an operator would have over thirty-five (35) of such tolls to contend with before the end of the day. Other groups found to be operating within the Onitsha Main Market area include: Onitsha Ado Youth; Igbo Youth; MASSOB, Fegge Youth, etc. The story is the same for other areas like Nkpor junction and New Motor Spare Parts Nkpor . Put simply, an average KEKE operator parts with between one thousand (N1, 000) and one thousand, five hundred naira (#1,500) to those criminal bodies on daily basis.

Apart from these daily tolls, there are other outrageous fees/levies that KEKE operators are made to pay, which we doubt if the Government of Anambra State under Your Excellency is in the know of or gets a dime out of them. Some of these levies collected annually are: Riders Permit-#1.500; Sanitation Bucket-#1,000; Emblem-#1,000, etc. It is also discovered that before any KEKE is allowed to operate that the owner must pay the sum of #3,500 to certain quarters. Failure to do so attracts all manner of corporal punishment to the operator when caught.

We call on Your Excellency to look into these complaints with a view to putting an end to them as a matter of uttermost necessity and public importance. It is not a good image on the part of Your Excellency?s administration to allow criminal gangs to make life very miserable for law compliant citizens who engage in lawful means of livelihood instead of taking to crime. It is the duty of the Government of Anambra State to protect them at all times against such despicable conducts of the malicious citizens complained against.

It is also very important to urge Your Excellency to monitor the activities of some of Your Excellency?s commissioners and political aides, because information at our disposal shows that some of these criminal revenue bodies either work for them or pay returns to them outside the knowledge of the State Government. One of such aides several people including the affected citizens had had issues with, is Your Excellency?s Commissioner for Commerce. He should be called to order,

We look forward to Your Excellency?s expeditious attention to this all-important letter.

Note: Society Watch is a project of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law. ?It is a membership organ of Intersociety dedicated for grassroots reach and empowerment campaign. It watches over the society for the purposes of ensuring the conformity of government to good governance, civil liberties and the rule of law as well as citizens? consciousness of their rights and civic responsibilities. ?These we do through advocacy campaigns and activities aimed at bringing government and citizens into law, rights and policy compliance at all times.

 

 

For: The Society Watch of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

?

Comrade Justus Uche ?Ijeoma????????????????????????????? ??Comrade Chike Umeosonwunne

Interim National Director???????????????????????????????????????Interim National Secretary

08037114869, 08182829278??????????????????????????????????08064869601

[email protected]

CC:

  1. 1.???? Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command
  2. 2.???? Director of SSS, Anambra State Directorate
  3. 3.???? Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly

 

 

 

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