Food Security: Police clampdown on ‘illegal’ revenue collectors, arrest kingpin

In a bid to eradicate touting and multiplicity of vehicular taxes and levies imposed by Local Governments on farmers moving food produce along Federal highways, the Nigeria Police has arrested one Mike Eboziegbe alias Otumba for allegedly leading a team that harasses as well as extort money from motorists through introduction of strange levies not backed by law.

 

Briefing Journalists in Abuja, the National Taskforce Commander of Joint Mobile Sanitation Agency of Nigeria (JOMSAN), Chief Martins Njoku, said the arrest was carried out by men of the Inspector General’s team, following a petition against Eboziegbe and his team by JOMSAN.

 

He disclosed that the petition became imperative following series of complaints of multiple vehicular taxes, intimation and harassments by touts claiming to act on the authority of Local Governments as their revenue agents.

 

Speaking further, Njoku explained that JOMSAN is the only body engaged by Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) as Consultant/Coordinators to help eradicate touting and multiplicity of vehicular taxes and levies imposed by Local Governments.

“Our main focus is to ensure that haulage vehicles moves freely within the country and curtail the excesses of road blockage as well as put an end to double taxation of food produce.

“Farmers should be able to move food products across the country without any harassment or being impounded for one levy or the other. We are doing this, in line with the directive from the National Assembly which mandated ALGON to ensure that the roads are free from miscreants and people who pretend to be working for the government. We are the ones on ground to actualise that directive and that’s what we are doing.

“Mike Eboziegbe alias Otumba, is the kingpin of extortionist based in the South West particularly Lagos and Ibadan axis.

“He has a group of boys that he has recruited. They stand on the Federal highways and extort money from motorists. In fact, they have groups up to Abuja.

“He was arrested this morning by the men of the IGP and they are bringing him to Abuja for prosecution, while others on list would soon be arrested for the same offence of extortion and criminal intimidation.

“We are all over the country. What we are doing is to partner with the IGP to ensure that the Federal Highways are cleared up. What you saw today is just one of them. We are going to do more especially from Kogi to Enugu, Plateau to Jigawa and so on.

“Food security is very important to us. We have received series of complaints from farmers that for example, a truck going to Port Harcourt from Plateau spends at least extra N300,000 on the road just to pay levies.”

 

Njoku however advised all Local Governments revenue collectors to vacate the federal highways, just as he vowed to carry out the mandate of putting an end to touting as well as multiple vehicular taxes along Federal highways.

 

“We advice them to leave the federal highways, no matter the kind of revenue you want to generate. They can stay in the inner roads so that the federal highways would be free for people moving food products to have free access and deliver these goods at a price an average Nigerian can afford.” Said Njoku

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