Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Anambra State Tricycle Union (also known as the Unified Tricycle Owners and Riders Association) has appealed to the state government to establish mobile courts to immediately prosecute those arrested for illegal revenue collection in the state.
The union said that the mobile courts would curb the delay encountered when some suspected illegal revenue collectors in Onitsha and other parts of the state are arrested, saying that there is the need for such criminals to be tried immediately, jailed or set free if not found guilty.
State Chairman of the Union Mr Sylvester Obiora, who stated this while addressing the newly constituted taskforce set up to arrest illegal tricycle levy collectors in Onitsha, led by Dede Uzor, said he had approached the Ministry of Transport, which will work it out with the Ministry of Justice to establish the mobile courts.
“The major challenge we face in the fight against illegal levy collection is the prosecution of the suspects when arrested, though we give kudos to Central Police Station, Onitsha, for their prompt intervention. We can now arrest, but the prosecution lays with the police.
“I have requested from the ministry to establish a mobile court, so that as a suspect is arrested in the morning he would be arraigned immediately in the court; so, if the person is convicted, even if it is for two days or more, it will serve as a deterrent to others.
“In a situation where police will keep the suspect for two days and may release him, the next day you will see him on the road. Our fight against illegal revenue collectors will then be an effort in futility because the touts believe that no serious measure will be meted against them and they will continue and even be threatening those that arrest them and bring them to the police.
“So, our request is for government to provide mobile courts. We are not requesting for police to arrest them again since we have our own taskforce who are Keke (commercial tricycle) operators who know the touts. We arrest any suspect and hand over the person to police who right there drags the persons to the mobile court without any waste of time, so that justice would not be delayed.
“Some of the boys who indulge in the illegal fee collection will tell you that they have been on the road for over 20 years even before the coming of Keke business in the state and nobody will stop them. Some are into collection of illegal fees from Keke operators, lorries, loads without any government approval.
“In the state now only one man has government authority to collect revenue to be remitted to the coffers of the government; unlike before when there were five persons making the job difficult for the government to control or check the illegal ones among them. So the ticket for Keke daily levy payment is now one across the state which is acceptable across the state,” Obiora stated.