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By Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Reporter, Lonitsha
Chairman, Onitsha South council, Mr. Ugochukwu Ezeani, on Wednesday arrested two illegal tax collectors in the area and declared another wanted. They are members of a syndicate that defraud Anambra State government by diverting revenue accruing to it.
Anambra State has been losing millions of naira in recent times due to activities of illegal tax, levy and rate collectors especially in Onitsha Municipal area.
Ezeani said the arrest was made after a tip off by some public spirited individuals about the illegal tax collection activities of the gang.
According to him they are members of the gang operating along Ochanja Roundabout and Eze Iweka Road.
His words: “We rounded them up through the help of the police and some council officials. Those involved included Tochukwu Mba and Michael Okonkwo. The duo caught later confessed that the third member of their syndicate, Kelechi Obiora, had run away on siting them struggling with security agents.”
According to him, “they confessed that they had been collecting the illegal taxes forcefully from traders for over four months now,’’ he said.
The chairman also said that the council had declared Kelechi Obiora alias Okwuoto, who was a former member of the notorious Ndi-npiawa-azu, wanted.
“We have placed a reward of N200,000 ransome for anybody that can volunteer information on how to get Kelechi Obiora,’’ it added.
Ezeani said that the new move to clamp down on illegal collectors of taxes and revenues accruable to the government was in line with Governor Peter Obi’s Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
In a related development, Chief Innocent Agudiegwu, Chairman, Onitsha Main Amalgamated Traders’ Union (OMMATU), has embarked on aggressive road decongestion in the market especially along Kano Street, Sokoto Road and Bright Street.
This is to ensure free-flow of traffic and help to clear the market roads and streets of obstructions that impede vehicular and human movement.
He said he has set-up a seven traffic taskforce in the market and from now henceforth, “we believe that our roads and streets would be free in the interest of business and general well being of our customers,” Agudiegwu said.