BY OSOLOKA NNAMDI in Awka•
The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has condemned the spate of multiple taxation/levies in the commercial city of Anambra state, by those who claim to be agents of the state government on revenue generation.
President of ONICCIMA, Mr. Don Ebubeogu, who made this disclosure on Wednesday during an interactive session with newsmen in Onitsha, bemoaned that doing business in Anambra state is becoming increasingly difficult due to the activities of hoodlums who he accused of extorting money from businessmen from the point of sale and purchase till you exit Onitsha.
“In Lagos one can move his/her goods from Idumota to Agege or Ikeja to Lagos Island, Alaba to Surulere without anybody molesting you but in Onitsha, it is difficult to move goods in a Datsun Truck or motor bike from Main Market to Upper Iweka, or Ochanja to Ose Ekwodu and others due to the activities of these hoodlums”.
The ONICCIMA chairman said it is pathetic that government failed to address this problem as the officials even deny their existence, adding “But I tell them that government cannot be helpless. We must hold government accountable here.
“If Government is helpless, traders in Onitsha know how to address their problem after 10 years either as boys Oye, Bakassi boys. They will engage in self-help. These boys are graduating from collecting these illegal levies to snatching of bags to full time criminals”, said Ebubeogu
The President accused politicians who recruit these boys of being behind these illegal multiple levies because they create unwarranted revenue windows for themselves to extort money from people in the state.
He called for the re-branding of Onitsha as a city and the people in it by changing their value system, lamenting that Anambra state and indeed the entire South East has the lowest moral in the country today.
He said they can even sanitise the state and indeed the entire zone and that is why he made the clarion call to the media to partner with the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce to address the issue.
He also called on the Anambra state government to do something urgent by either setting up a task force that will immediately start arresting these hoodlums or empower traders themselves to arrest them.