Anambra State traders have threatened to sue the Department of State Services and the state government over the detention of two market chairmen.
According to the organization, the two individuals were apprehended by DSS officials during a meeting of all market chairmen in the state with the State Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday at the Revenue House in Awka.
According to the traders, the meeting was called at the request of the chairman of the revenue service, Mr Richard Madiebo, who summoned them to address levies and other concerns.
Chief Gabriel Okeke, a market leader, said traders criticized the excessive taxes paid to the government, adding that they were initially paying N5,000, which was escalated to between N30,000 and N40,000.
The DSS was claimed to have invaded the venue and arrested the chairmen of the Ogidi Building Materials Market and the Oguta Road Aluminum Dealers Association.
According to reports, the two men were arrested for reportedly refusing the N30,000-N40,000 payments.
The arrest of the merchants reportedly ended the gathering, as additional dealers fled to the DSS headquarters in Awka.
Okeke, the leader of the Concerned Traders of Anambra, told journalists in Awka on Wednesday that traders would protest the detention of the two men.
He said, “We will protest the arrest and exorbitant levies imposed on us by the state government. We formerly paid N5,000 for loading and offloading of wares but now the state government imposed N30,000 to N40,000, as the case may be. From where do we source the money?
“It is because of these high levies being imposed on traders that different sections of traders in the state, including tomato sellers, fish sellers, among others, are leaving for neighbouring states like Delta, Imo, Enugu and Abia. You don’t employ those who are not traders to come and pilot the affairs of the traders. Sacked touts were recalled to come and manage our affairs, we can’t take it!
“The protest is just to let Governor Chukwuma Soludo know that we can’t bear this any longer; Anambra is not the only state where you have traders. The government has no business in market leadership; it is just to collect its levy and leave leadership for the traders.”
Efforts to get the chairman of the state internal revenue service, Madiebo, proved abortive as he said he could not speak on the telephone because he was tired.
“I am very tired. I had a very hectic day today,” he said.
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