Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Barely a week after 18 suspected illegal revenue collectors were arrested, another 20 suspects have been arrested in Onitsha by the Anambra State Ministry of Transport taskforce against touting.
The suspects were arrested at Bridgehead, Upper Iweka, Atani road, Owerri road, and New parts areas of Onitsha while they were extorting money either from motorists or innocent traders with loads.
Recovered from the suspects included fake receipts/tickets with names of government officials and some cash collected from their victims.
The state Commissioner for Transport Dr. Christian Madubuko who led the operation while parading the suspects before the newsmen said that the state was determined in clamping down the touts who deprive the state of its revenue.
He said that the taskforce which was launched on December 30, 2019, known as “Focus Initiative Against Touting (FIAT)” had been yielding a good result to tame the menace of criminals who give the state a bad name.
He said that the suspects would be tried in Mobile Court set up by the government at Onitsha terminal park and if found guilty would be jailed, stressing that three people were remanded in prison custody.
“No amount of intimidation or character assassination will stop us from arresting the criminals and their sponsors to sanitise the state. Arresting the boys is a step forward in getting to their bosses. We want to appeal to the traders who visit Onitsha Main market and other markets in the state to feel free to come and make their purchase without any fear of harassment by the touts.
“I’m determined to fight the illegal revenue/tickets collectors to a finish because they are denying and diverting the state revenue for development. Our revenue is going down because of the sabotage by criminal elements. Anybody involved must be jailed.
“Some of the tickets were written in my name as commissioner but I don’t know anything about the tickets; I didn’t give anybody an approval to be collecting money for me or for government and that is why I vowed to get to the root of the matter because they are tarnishing my image,” Madubuko stated.
He said that most of those arrested were mostly citizens of Ebonyi, Kogi, Delta, Enugu and Taraba states who came to tarnish the image of the state and harass innocent citizens.