The Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, (OCHA) Brigade, in conjunction with the Joint Security Operation, has arrested over 30 illegal revenue collectors in Onitsha, Ihiala and Ogbunka, where they were collecting levies and taxes banned by the state government.
The operation, led by the Superintendent of the OCHA Brigade, Mr Kenneth Okonkwo, also stormed some markets in Oba and Ekwulobia, where they arrested more illegal revenue collectors to the relief of the market men and women.
Addressing the situation after the arrest of over thirty illegal collectors, Mr Okonkwo reiterated the resolve of the agency to stamp out illegal collection of revenues in the state.
“We arrested over 16 of them at Onitsha Bridge Head where they were blocking motorists coming in from all parts of the state into Anambra, breaking their windscreen and their side mirrors, forcing them to pay what they do not know about- because they do not have any legal authority to collect money but they hide under the guise of IGR collectors of the state to do this, while they are not.
“They collect anything, they tax you what they deem fit for them and put in their personal coffers and not even in the state government coffers.
“They are not in any way authorized or recognized by the state government. So we have no other option than to prosecute them and send them to prison.”
Also, in a recent development, the Anambra state Governor, Willie Obiano, came up with an economic stimulus package to cushion its effects of the economic recession.
According to the governor, “The objective of our tax relief programme is to evaluate existing taxes, levies and fees in the state and introduce some waivers and in some cases scrap the collection of some of the illegal levies imposed on our people.
“I believe that these will go a long way to cushioning the impact of the recession on households in the state.
“I hereby suspend the sale of consolidated emblems in Anambra state, I suspend the collection of Hawkers permit on all streets in the state.
“I suspend the collection of wheel barrow tax in market places in the state and lastly, I abolish the imposition of unapproved levies in public primary and secondary schools and also urge the mission schools and other schools to do same.
“All these pronouncements shall take immediate effect,” he stressed.
Moving to rural markets in Oba and Ekwulobia, joy and excitement was evident among the traders, as they hailed the action of the state government in running to their aid.
The OCHA Brigade then reassured residents of its constant visit to the area, in order to ensure the hoodlums are put under control.