The current commissioner for Transport in Abia State, Barr Nnenna Obewu, has been fingered as one of the masterminds behind the illegal extortion ring operating at Aba, with various illegal task force, which she empowered with authorities from her office.
Hints from reliable sources revealed to PUO REPORTS that all the illegal task force operating in Aba are coordinated for her by one tout called Power or Show Bobo.
According to one transporter, who identified himself as Papa, the commissioner uses her touts to arrest transporters and impound their vehicle which they take to Fire Service premises or ministry of work in Aba. They operate mostly around railway crossing along Factory Road in Aba.
One tout popularly called Fred Eme aka Atiku is also involved in the extortion ring alongside another called Prophet who is believed to be among the touts she imported from outside the state when she was appointed Commissioner for Transport by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
It will be recalled that on Tuesday, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu stormed the premises of ministry of work and fire service in Aba unannounced following security reports he received on the activities of the touts who have been oppressing motorists, residents and visitors to Aba.
The visibly angry Governor immediately ordered the police area commander for Aba to release all the vehicles illegally impounded by the touts organized by the Commissioner and arrest all the ring leaders.
One of the arrested ring leaders alleged that the Commissioner is behind the extortion ring and also named others who are now at large with the police on their trail.
Recently, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu uncovered another extortion gang operating out of the Aba Urban Renewal Committee team that was collecting illegal levies from residents in the guise of properties verification levy and issued a statement outlawing the collection of the levy through his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos.
Following the actions of the governor yesterday at Aba, many residents have commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his intervention and urged him to also stop those extorting money from traders and Keke operators at Aba and Umuahia.
The full text of the press release from the CPS is reproduced below:
Government Special Announcement: Clampdown on illegal revenue collection
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the Area Commander of the Aba Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr. W.P Wagbara, to immediately seal off the premises of Ministry of Works and Fire Service at Aba, where touts and hoodlums parading as “task force teams” use as their “offices”.
The Governor also directed the Area Commander to move all illegally impounded vehicles at the two locations to Area Command police station at Aba, where owners of the illegally impounded vehicles will go for identification and collection of their vehicles at NO COST.
Also, Governor Ikpeazu has directed a Special Task Force made up of Government Officials and men of the Nigerian Police to arrest members of any illegal task force, fake revenue agents and touts extorting money from motorists at railway crossing, along Factory Road and other locations at the commercial city of Aba.
Commercial vehicle operators loading along major roads at Aba and Umuahia, especially those at Osisioma junction, are advised to immediately relocate to government approved motor parks. Henceforth, defaulters will be made to face the law.
Going forward, all those engaged in any form of illegal extortion of money from motorists and residents at Aba and Umuahia will have themselves to blame when caught. Any staff or officer of the local or state government found collaborating with the extortionists will be dealt with according to the law.
Abians and residents are advised to be vigilant and report suspected fake revenue agents to the nearest police station.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor