Days for touting, road blocking and illegal collection of levies from Commercial Vehicle drivers across the twenty-seven Local Government Areas of Imo State, may be over, as the State Legislature was waded into the matter.
This followed a motion moved on the floor of the House, yesterday, by the Member representing Ideato North State Constituency and Chief Whip of the House, Rt. Hon. Innocent Arthur Egwim, calling for an immediate action against culprits.
Hon Egwim was of the opinion that the activities of those touts, if not properly stopped and checkmated could cost the Shared Prosperity Government it’s hard earned trust on the people.
He cited a recent incident in his Isiokpo community, which has a boundary with Uga, in Anambra State, where his constituents, especially the peasant farmers were often harassed and physically assaulted by the perpetrators.
Hon Egwim added that upon the increase in touting, they produce no IGR for the State, if not constituting nuisance.
However, the Ideato North representive revealed that some of the touts on the roads may be secretly working for aides to the Governor, without the knowledge of the Chief Executive of the State.
While the motion was seconded by Rt. Hon. Uju Onwudiwe, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Uche Ogbuagu added that any act of touting or brigandage shouldn’t be encouraged.
Part of the prayers of the motion reads, “Whereas almost all the touts driven out of our roads in the metropolis due to their illegal activities in road obstructions and extortion of money from commercial vehicle drivers, have relocated to local roads, remote places and borders areas in our LGAs, to further their nefarious activities, so as to evade police apprehension;
“Worrisome that the hoodlums now infiltrate the operations of the touts to perpetrate more dangerous criminalities and illegalities, especially at border areas connecting Imo State with other States of the Federation, such as what transpires along Akokwa, Obinetiti, Umunze, Umuchu, all of which are in border towns in Ideato North LGA, connecting the State with other States of the Federation;
“Very much aware that similar activities are rife in other LGAs of the State, especially those LGAs sharing boundaries with other States;
“Aware, also, that such ignoble practices portray the State in a very bad light, as well as, deny the State and the LGAs of the desired I.G.R necessary for the development of the State, but rather disappear into private pockets of unwarranted people”.
After much debate, the House resolved as follows;
“To urge the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Most Distinguished Sen. Hope Uzodinma to, urgently, direct all the IMC Chairmen to arrest and prosecute all the touts and criminals who engage in illegal road obstructions and extortion of money from motorists plying their areas with the help of security agencies; and,
“To urge the Governor to appeal to the State Police Commissioner to direct his men and officers deployed at the LGAs of the State to co-operate with the IMC Chairmen to rid the LGAs of the touts and other criminal elements that relocated to LGAs only to wreck havoc”.