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Enugu State Govt Bans Illegal Tolls, Extortion of Motorists, Haulers, Warns Touts To Steer Clear

The Enugu State Government has banned all forms of illegal tolls and extortion of motorists by touts, warning that flouters of the order would face the full wrath of the law.

The government also announced the cancellation of all existing produce and haulage revenue collection contracts by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), saying those responsibilities would now be taken over by service hubs to be established in partnership with Heavyhaul Services Limited to meet the needs of logistics businesses and heavy-duty vehicles that transport goods in and out of Enugu State.

The government made these known at a press conference addressed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, at the Government House, Enugu, on Tuesday, with critical stakeholders in attendance.

This was even as stakeholders, including the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police Olasoji Akinbayo; Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, (NUTRW), Mr. Austine Agu; representative of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Obinna Agbo; traditional ruler of Amalla Egazi Autonomous Community, Igwe Patrick Eze; and the traditional ruler of Ibagwa Nike, Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu, commended Governor Peter Mbah for the initiative, pledging to work with the administration to actualise it.

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Rendering the directive and initiative, Prof. Onyia said: “The Enugu State Government recognises the pivotal role of efficient logistics and transportation infrastructure in driving our target to grow our economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion naira and make the state the preferred destination for business, investment, tourism, and for living.

“Therefore, the government notes with dismay the reports of the incessant harassment and extortion of motorists and transporters by touts and hoodlums, who masquerade as revenue collectors in some parts of the state.

The government deplores the observed extortions and excesses by hoodlums on our roads.

“In order to stem the excesses and ensure a free movement of persons, goods, and services as well as improve logistics and supply chain operations in Enugu State, the Enugu State Government hereby orders such extortionists to clear off our roads, as anybody caught engaging in such activities henceforth will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law. All local government areas are to take note and ensure full compliance with this directive.

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“Again, to further improve logistics and supply chain operations and address the challenge of multiple taxations on the highway, touting and all sorts of criminalities committed by non-state actors, the Enugu State Government announces the establishment of Service Centres at strategic locations across the state in partnership with Heavyhaul Services Limited”.

Continuing, he added: “The services will include: provision of livestock health and agro-produce diagnostic centres to ensure that animals and foods coming into the state are safe for consumption and comply with regulatory requirements.

“Provision of designated points where security officials can check and ensure that arms and other dangerous goods are not imported into the state.

“Provision of weigh stations to ensure that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles coming into the state are not overweight, thereby damaging both major and intra-state roads, which were not designed to carry such axle loads.

“Provision of complimentary services to drivers where they can take convenience breaks and refuel (vehicles).

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“Deterring industrial waste transportation by enforcing sanctions and penalties.

“Ensuring that the haulage of industrial goods and minerals comply with environmental standards.

“Provision of ancillary services such as vehicle maintenance to reduce road traffic congestions due to the breakdown of heavy-duty trucks,” he stated.

Onyia added that “This press statement serves as a stern warning to those who erect all manner of structures or collect service tolls outside the Service Centres, as such defaulters will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”

Meanwhile, one of the speakers, Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu of Ibagwa Nike, lamented the extortion of his subjects by touts, saying it was often difficult to differentiate the touts from kidnappers and robbers due to their modes of operation.

“In daytime, you see them with sticks. But in the night, they turn into something else,” he stressed, adding that with the initiative, traditional rulers could now join hands with the government to stamp them out.

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