Anambra State Government yesterday disclosed the arrest of a high chief and two others in the state for allegedly involving in illegal collection of levies and extortion of money from the people. In a chat with newsmen in Awka, the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Christian Madubuko, said the three suspected illegal toll collectors would be handed over to police immediately for prosecution, lamenting that activities of fake revenue collectors has become a serious concern to the government.
While parading the suspects at the state secretariat in Awka, Madubuko, who listed their names to include leader of the revenue collectors, Nze Francis Eze; the driver, Mr. Vincent Eze-Obi and Gilbert Ugochukwu, said that more arrests would be made. He further disclosed that the ministry had successfully prosecuted about 75 illegal revenue collectors in the state and that they are languishing now in various prisons across the state.
He said: “They were arrested in Ekwulobia market in Aguata Local Council of the state while extorting money from market men and women. “Despite state government announcement in the media about the ban on collection of all kind of levies, some people are still extorting money from innocent citizens. These people have been flaunting government order on collection of illegal revenues from people in the state.
“They are enemies of the state government. The government has banned toll collections and yet, they are collecting money from people. They are living on extorting money from people. They extort money from traders coming to do business in the state and others doing business in the state.
“Some times, they present all kinds of documents authorising them to carry out their illegal activities.”He, therefore, said that the state government would deal ruthlessly with these set of people to sanitise the system.
Meanwhile, Chief Francis Eze, who spoke with newsmen, said he obtained approval from Aguata Local Council to build market in Ekwulobia. He insisted that the Igwe (traditional ruler) of the town was aware and that he had spent over N8.2 million in the process of building the market where he collects toll from the people.
“I bought a land in the area at a cost of N5.3 million while I have spent over N3 million on the construction of 24 lock-up shops. All the money collected as toll are plagued back to the building of the shops,” he said.