From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
What might spark bloody crisis is brewing in the commercial city of Onitsha just as operators of commercial tricycle transport popularly known as keke drivers under the umbrella of United Commercial Keke – NAPEP and Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria (UCKEMORAN) have come out to deal with what they termed as extortion of money via multiple levies from their teaming members by roadside touts who forcibly collect multiple levies amounting to N3,500 daily from each of their members on account of revenue drive.
UCKEMORAN in a letter addressed to the Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano, stated that each of their members operating from Owerri road to the popular Onitsha Main Market pay as much as N3.500 daily in the hands of touts and that has become a burden too much to bear for them.
In the letter signed by Chief Arunsi Igboanika as Chairman and Comrade Raphael Agu as secretary, UCKEMORAN indicated their preparedness to fight the touts and hoodlums and thus asked Governor Obiano to give them the approval to do so.
The letter titled “Notice of Operation” addressed to Governor Obiano through the office of the Secretary to the State Government read thus “UCKEMORAN Anambra State chapter hereby bring to your notice that we shall forthwith commence operation to regulate the activities of Keke NAPEP and Motorcycle riders who are members of the association in Anambra State and so doing checkmate the road side touts collecting multiple illegal levies from us. In establishing UCKEMORAN we took into cognizance of security of lives and property which is the utmost priority of Governor Obiano administration”
According to the letter, members of UCKEMORAN are ready to stop all forms of illegal levies and illegal tax collection in Anambra State and ensure that their members are law abiding with compliance to the rule of law and ensuring that their members pay taxes and levies that are due to the State government.
They also vowed to liaise with the Police and other security agents to flush out criminals using Keke and motorcycles to rob unsuspecting members of the public if their request to start operation is approved.
“We hereby solicit the support of the State government in the area of recognition and enabling environment to enable lawfully operate freely. We pledge to make sure that Anambra remains the safest State in Nigeria. In the same vein, we pledge our unflinching loyalty to your administration and our support for APGA in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State. We therefore assure Governor Obiano that we will abide by the rule law and all directives from his revered office” the letter concluded.