by crossriverwatch admin
Hundreds of taxi drivers operating in Calabar the Cross River State capital revolted on Tuesday over high taxes imposed on them daily by the Calabar Municipality and Calabar South local Governments areas.
The taxi drivers who refused to ply the roads on Tuesday morning congregated at the Botanical Garden along Mary Slessor Avenue as early as 7am from where they drove in a long convoy to Senator Liyel Imoke’s office but where prevented by security men from gaining access to the place.
Mr Bassey Effanga, the Chairman of Urban Taxi Drivers Union told CrossRiverWatch that the drivers’ protest is occasioned by the high levies imposed on his members daily by the officials of the two local governments in the state capital, Calabar Municipality and Calabar South local government area.
“Every day drivers are forced to pay the sum of 350.00 naira to the officials of these two local government areas and the Department of Public Transportation but most of these drivers operate with old cars while others ply the road with hire purchase cars and they often find it difficult meet the amount they have to remit to the owners of the cars”.
He said apart from the high levies, the two local government areas have instituted tax forces to stop taxis from picking passengers along the road except in designated parks and also impound vehicles which park on wrong places to pick passengers and the “Boys are operating with high handedness and indiscriminately impound vehicles from my members and each taxi impounded attracts a fee of 10,000 naira so we cannot continue with that situation”. Ekong said
Barrister Edem Ekong, the Special Adviser to Senator Liyel Imoke on Public Transportation who addressed the protesting taxi drivers appealed to them to be peaceful and that he had scheduled a meeting with the chairmen of the two local government areas to warn them against arbitrary taxes on the taxi operators.
“The approved levy for every taxi driver is 200.00 naira which is split among the two local government areas and the DOPT; the DOPT takes 100.00 naira while the local government areas take 50.00 each and any other charge is not accepted.”
He told the taxi drivers to return to work and pay only the approved sum of 200.00 naira as levies and that anyone who demands more than that sum should be reported to him. “If anybody demands anything above 200.00 naira come to me and report and I shall hand him over to the police”. Edem Ekong told the protesting taxi drivers.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the chairman of the Taxi Union and three members of the Union who were arrested by Policemen from Akim, were later released by 6:30pm Tuesday.
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