Ariaria Market traders protest re-emergence of illegal revenue collectors

Traders from Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State, organized under the banner of Ariaria Markets Traders Association (AMATA), have staged a protest against what they perceive as the resurgence of unauthorized revenue collection.

These traders, who gathered at the premises of a local radio station located in the Umungasi area of Aba, alleged that despite agreeing to pay an approved levy of N18,000, a certain individual known as Benedict, commonly referred to as Star, has reappeared and is now imposing a daily levy of five hundred naira on them.

Chinenye Anumudu, one of the protesting traders, recounted their previous experiences, stating that during the previous government, this individual, with the aid of force and his associates, collected all approved revenues, including the stipulated annual fee of N18,000, without issuing any payment receipts.

Anumudu explained that they were taken aback when Star resurfaced in January, claiming to have been authorized by the state government to collect a daily levy of five hundred naira from each trader.

The traders emphasized that Governor Alex Otti had not informed them about any additional daily toll apart from the agreed annual fee of N18,000, which they are willing to pay through the bank. They expressed concern that failure to address this issue could lead to prolonged unrest in the market.

Ada Zion, another trader, condemned the harsh treatment they receive from the alleged revenue collectors, particularly highlighting the challenges faced by petty traders like herself who struggle to meet the daily levy of five hundred naira.

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Furthermore, a trader known as Aboy alleged that their shops had been burgled, with goods worth millions of naira stolen by thugs suspected to be associated with the revenue agents. He recounted challenging Star and his associates about the legality of the levy, only to find his shop burgled shortly after.

The traders urged Governor Alex Otti to intervene in the activities of these alleged illegal revenue collectors, expressing concern that such actions could derail his efforts to uplift Abia State.

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