<strong>CURBING THE MENACE OF TOUTING FOR GOOD IN ONITSHA AND ENVIRONS</strong>

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, commercial tricycle also known as as Keke operators plying the 3-3 Federal Housing axis embarked on a protest march with regards to the resurgence of Touts and illegal levy collectors and their continuous harassment on their route.

Closely associated with this is the re-emergence of illegal checkpoints from the Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge down to Atani road junction and further up to the Onitsha- Owerri road axis. It is alleged that the majority of the illegal activities of these touts are perpetrated between dusk and dawn using poor visibility as a perfect cover and sometimes up to the earlier part of the day. This involves the usual unholy alliance between law-enforcement agents and their civilian collaborators.

The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) is unaware of any new Executive Order rescinding the previous one issued by His Excellency, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, banning touting and illegal levy collection, especially on the roads in Anambra State. As stakeholders, the desire for improved ease of doing business within the state is something we do not take lightly.

To curb this menace once and for all, the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce reiterates that if the following measures listed below are implemented the case of touting and illegal revenue collectors would become a thing of the past.

Some of these measures include (but are not limited to the following):

1.    Setting up of Anti-Touting Squads (ATS) that will be operating in groups in the
       State

a.    To act as effective surveillance of every part of the State, especially in dark spot
       areas.

b. To take effective charge of the areas assigned to them.

c. To intercept touts and illegal levy collectors and hand them over to the police for
       immediate prosecution.

d. To flush out the touts from all hot spots and monitor them going forward.

2.    Work with the Judiciary and the police to set up mobile courts to immediately try
        and sentence the touts arrested and their backers.

a. Open up a whistle-blowing platform for the public to report identified touts and
        their backers incognito.

b. List numbers to call once the touts are at work anywhere in the State.

In our opinion, these touts can be trained and employed as traffic control and enforcement persons to help the State Government manage the chaotic traffic situation all over the state that is in dire need of attention and management presently as a way of engaging them and empowering them gainfully for the benefit of the people of this State.

While thanking the government for the successes so far achieved, the Chamber urges the government to take tougher measures in clamping down on these dissident groups and their accomplices and ensure the total elimination of this menace once and for all so that businesses can thrive and operate freely, and visitors to Onitsha can move freely and safely as expected. We believe that this battle to free Onitsha from the clutches of touts must be won.

Chief Sir Kevin U. Obieri, FCA,  FCTI

President, ONICCIMA

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