The Joint Transporters Forum of Anambra State, comprising commercial bus drivers, including tricycle and shuttle buses have petitioned the Anambra State House of Assembly over alleged extortion, revenue diversion, harassment, and other sharp practices involving the Anambra State Inland Revenue Services and Anambra State Joint Task Force on revenue collection.
The group, in their petition dated August 4, 2023, and signed by the President, JTF, Moses Ohanebo, and the Assistant Secretary, Innocent Obagha, addressed to the Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly claiming that some government officials have reconstituted the state Task Force which was recently disbanded by Governor Chukwuma Soludo and were using it to extort and divert government revenues as against the purposes behind their previous formations.
The group also alleged that the illegal task force officials and other illegal revenue collectors were being used by revenue racketeers to launch attacks on their members, detain and inflict pain on them, thereby adversely affecting the welfare of their members.
The petition reads in part, “We are aware of Governor Soludo’s new digital revenue collections and we are in full support of the innovation.
“We are also aware that two outfits were involved in the enforcement of this digital collection. These outfits are Ocha Brigade and ANJET.
“That these two outfits suddenly deviated from their terms of reference and engaged into all manner of criminalities and social vices particularly ANJET which include Increasing penalties from N5,000 to N10,000 respectively for tricycle operators.
“And buses from N15,000 to N30,000. They arbitrarily arrest, detain and extort drivers of buses to the tune of between N30,000 to N50,000 depending on the situation.
“Arresting and unlawfully detaining drivers who refuse to pay such illegal penalties in a Black Maria vehicle stationed at Upper lweka where ANJET have their office, and collection of the sum of N100,000 as bail fee from each of the detained persons in the Black Maria.
“Officers of ANJET and the few from Ocha Brigade have started invading us again in the same manner they used to do hence the need for this petition as we have also drawn the attention of the Commissioner of Police and Director of DSS as well as Mr. Governor to this ugly trend.”
The group, therefore, called on the state House of Assembly to quickly intervene in the matter to avoid possible breakdown of law and order and “such pillage of the state revenue.”
When contacted, the Director in Charge of Operations, AIRS, Dr. Christian Madubuko, said he was not part of the reconstitution of ANJET.
Madubuko said, “The old task force that was disbanded was brought together and their uniform was changed. I heard they were reconstituted by the Acting chairman.”