Abia goes tough on touts, illegal levy collectors


In a renewed effort to rid the State, especially Aba, its commercial hub, of touts and illegal revenue collectors, the Abia State Government has ordered the sealing of the premises of Ministry of Works, along Ikot Ekpene Road and Fire Service Station at Constitution Crescent, Aba. The two premises served as operational base for touts, who masquerade as agents of government to defraud innocent citizens and the State.

Consequently, Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed Peter Wagbara, area commander, Aba Area Command of the Nigeria Police, to move all illegally impounded vehicles at the two locations to the Aba Area Command Police
Station, where owners of the vehicles are expected to go for identification and collection of their vehicles at no cost.

The Governor also directed a special task force made up of Government officials and men of the Nigerian Police, to arrest members of any
illegal task force, fake revenue agents and touts extorting money from motorists at railway crossing, along Factory Road and other locations at the commercial city of Aba.

Commercial vehicle operators loading along major roads in Aba and Umuahia, especially those at Osisioma junction, were also advised
to immediately relocate to government approved motor parks, as defaulters would be penalized.

“Going forward, all those engaged in any form of illegal extortion of money from motorists and residents at Aba and Umuahia will have themselves to blame when caught. Any staff or officer of the Local or State Government found collaborating with the extortionists, would be dealt with according to the law”.

He also urged Abians and residents to be vigilant and report suspected fake revenue agents to the nearest police station. Recall that the State Government established two new agencies -the traffic and infrastructure
management agencies, to tackle touting and vandalism of public facilities in the State, and especially Aba, the State’s commercial hub.

The traffic management agency according to Governor Ikpeazu, was established as a result of collaboration between the State Government
and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and so expects that the FRSC, would bring to bear their wealth of experience and professionalism on the agency.

He explained that Abia State Government’s strategy is to ensure that those, who interface with people either in terms of correcting some acts of indiscipline or outright abuse on Government infrastructure or commit various traffic offences, are corrected and brought to book in most professional way.

The third derivative of the strategy according to Ikpeazu is that the State Government has through it created at least 200 jobs for young
people. He explained that the Public Infrastructure Management Agency has been saddled with the responsibility of making sure that those who go about to remove the batteries of solar lights, solar frames and those who go about to try to steal armored cables that power street lights are discouraged.

“They are also responsible for maintaining common facilities and common places like the grasses along the roads, because more often than not people purchase parcels of lands within choice areas in the city and abandon them look very bushy and provide an abode for reptiles and criminals.

” So, this agency will go about and make sure that they put such places in shape and those, who will come to claim ownership of those places will pay us for the job we have done on their behalf.

“But that is our way of saying that we will maintain zero tolerance for filth, abandoned plots and abandoned buildings within the city centres, to make sure we protect the lives of the people”, he said.

~Business Day