Over 2,000 commercial motor cycle riders in Benin City, yesterday stormed the Edo State Government House and State Assembly complex, protesting what they described as exorbitant levies and extortion from the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria, RTEAN.
The protesters carrying placards, disrupted economic activities at Ring road and other adjoining streets for more than three hours and appealed to government to come to their rescue.
But in a swift reaction, the chairman of RTEAN Comrade Osakpanwa Eriyo debunked the allegations, saying “we are only collecting what is due to the association. They are only trying to destroy our name over unfounded allegations”.
However, the protesters alleged that apart from the N50 they were asked to pay by the state government “we are also being asked to pay for jackets and other revenues by members of the RTEAN and any body who refused to pay is usually beaten up. We are aware that we were only told to be paying N50 so we want government to know what we are going through because the extra money they are extorting from us may not be going into government purse”.
Eriyo who briefed newsmen in Benin City yesterday, lamented that “government is losing over N400,000 daily because RTEAN members are not allowing vehicles in the parks to wait for their turn so that we can collect the normal government revenue. These vehicles no longer load in the parks they will connive with RTEAN members and be running along the road which is very wrong.
“You now find out that in a day only about eight vehicles will be issued tickets in the park and that is affecting government revenue. We are appealing to the Comrade Governor to wade into this matter so that drivers and Okada riders will not be over taxed by RTEAN members, the situation is creating serious tension now,” he declared