Gridlock In Onitsha As Protesting Truck Drivers Block River Niger Bridge

Protesting on Friday blocked the River Niger Bridgehead in Onitsha, Anambra State.

Gridlock In Onitsha As Protesting Truck Drivers Block River Niger BridgeThe drivers said they were protesting against the state government tax imposition on trailers, lorries, trucks,s and other vehicles bringing goods into Anambra.

The Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo had imposed a levy of N30,000 for trailers loading and offloading goods in Anambra State.

Other vehicles on which the levy was imposed include lorries and trucks, which have their own amount, ranging from N25,000 and N20,000 respectively, for 10 and six tyres lorries and trucks.

Some are also said to be paying N15,000 depending on the type of truck, down to the lowest, which are buses, paying N5,000 to N3,000 for loading and offloading of goods.

The levies have received heavy criticism and rejection by the people of the state and vehicle drivers, who described the government as callous and anti-people.

Even industrialists, businessmen, importers and warehouse operators, located in different areas of Onitsha and its environs, had protested the levies and appealed to the state government to cancel it, and withdraw the people being used to collect them.

They said the collectors were threats to their lives and security and exposed them to kidnappers.

The which started in the early hours of Friday led to a total lockdown of the bridge as well as the Enugu-Onitsha, Onitsha- Owerri expressway and all the roads that lead into and exit Anambra through Onitsha.

The situation rendered commuters stranded and forced some people to come down from their vehicles and started trekking.

A driver, identified as Odion Omoroge, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the aggrieved members, expressed surprise about the levy, describing the action by the government “as the worst the people of the state will see.”

He said, “Violence about the collection of money by the government revenue collectors is being witnessed daily in Anambra state, particularly in Onitsha. Violence is more pronounced now than ever before, yet the same government said it does not want touts, yet touts are having a field day on the roads on a daily basis.”

Although, the police were on the ground preventing a breakdown of law and order, but the aggrieved drivers were undaunted even as commuters battled to pass through the roads.

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