TIPPER drivers on Tuesday protested in Onitsha over the illegal levies and taxes imposed on them by the Anambra State Government.
During the demonstration, Southern City News gathered that the protesters carried placards with different inscriptions, and were seen chanting solidarity songs and accusing the government of extortion.
The protesters also blocked the Enugu/Onitsha expressway around the Uga junction and disrupted socio-economic activities in Onitsha over what they described as “imposition of illegal levies and taxes.”
According to them, the former administration taxed them from N100 to N200 daily but accused the incumbent government of taxing us between N700 and N1,400 on every trip of laterite, gravel, sand or stones that they embark on.
Annoyed by the development, it was learnt that the Tipper Drivers Association approached a Federal High Court and the court, in suit no. FHC/AWK/CS/104/2017, reportedly held that the Anambra State Government, officials of the state Ministry of Environment, their agents and privies and other persons, acting by or through them, had no right to make laws or rules, formulate policies, impose taxes or levies and or charge and collect dues or revenue on sand, stones, laterite, gravel and the likes.”
Addressing newsmen, the Coordinator, Anambra State Tipper Drivers Association, Emmanuel Ezeokafor, accused the state government of flouting the court order.
He said, “Government neither obeyed nor appealed the judgment since 2018, but rather employed the services of law enforcement agents to intimidate and harass our members to be paying the obnoxious taxes and levies.”
Ezeokafor said efforts by the drivers to meet with the governor to discuss on the matter had been futile, adding that the government had refused to grant the union’s petition requesting to be allowed to tax their members and remit same to the government every month.
One of the protesters, Osita Obi, condemned the alleged intimidation, harassment and collection of levies from tipper drivers, noting that such attitude negated relevant section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as well as section 1 and section 164 of the Nigeria Mining ACT 2007; section 1 and section 2 of the Taxes and levies (approved list for collection) CAP T2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
He said the government’s attitude to the drivers could lead them to take up arms.