By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC recently arrested and granted bail to the Incumbent Delta State Commissioner for Transportation,Mr. Vincent Uduaghan and his predecessor,Mr. Benson Igbakpa in connection with the fraud allegation in the collection of Tricycle and Motorcycle Welfare ticket rate amounting to twenty five billion,five hundred and four million naira in Delta State, AUTHENTIC News Daily can report.
Also arrested and granted bailed by the EFCC were Comrade Mike Okeme and Engr. Victor Omoniyi.
The Delta State Chapter Chairman of the National Commercial Tricycles&Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria,Comrade Godwin Ikolo disclosed this to select newsmen in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State today.
Ikolo who is the chief complainant/petitioner in the matter alleged that the case involving the Delta State Government Officials claimed that he was informed of the arrests of Officials of the Delta State Directorate of Transportation through a telephone call by Officials of the EFCC Enugu Zonal Headquarters.
Ikolo stated that the arrest of the above persons were confirmed during an interrogation conducted by the EFCC Enugu Zonal Head,Mr. Johnson.A. Babalola on the 10th of April,2017.
Ikolo claimed that Comrade Mike Okeme,former Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC allegedly introduced the Okada Riders Welfare ticket through the tacit support of the Delta State Government under the leadership of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in connivance with the Directorate Ministry of Transport.
“He was also the chairman of the Committee,Delta State Commercial Motorcyclist Welfare Caretaker Committee inaugurated by the Delta State Governor Uduaghan for the collection of the said daily welfare rate from commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators in the State.
“The enforcement was sustained through the use of criminal touts/thugs coupled with the support of the security agents and the military officers in Delta State.
Ikolo also said commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders suffered hardship,pains, and agony when the former Commissioner for Transportation,Mr. Benson Igbakpa took over leadership of the Ministry.
He stressed that they(Okada and Keke riders) lived in penury.
Ikolo said this was due to incessant increment on the amount of the said ticket from #20 to #70 and from #100 to #250 for motorcycle and tricycle respectively while the assessment/collection and the enforcement on riders was assessed was occasioned with brutality and assaults by wild looking touts and thugs recruited as task force by the directorate of transport controlled by Hon. Benson Igbakpa.
Ikolo said a former Director(land transportation),Department of Directorate Engr. Victor Omoniyi is the chief marshal who impounded motorcycle and tricycle of riders who fail or contested the fines paid by riders who fail to comply.
Ikolo noted that the fines ranges from between #3000 and #6000 on daily basis whenever one fails to purchase the said daily welfare ticket.
According to Ikolo,”The above mentioned Officials were grilled by the Zonal Head of EFCC Enugu. They confessed and agreed to the commission that monies in this proportion were actually collected on daily basis under the welfare ticket rate and government daily permit ticket from motorcycles and tricycle operators in the State by the Applicant Consultant Union/Association hereto but that they were not involved in the money collection.
“When they were further squeezed by the commission,Officials of the Delta State Government Directorate of Transport however pleaded to present Chief Obi Nzete and others who were invading invitation /arrests of EFCC.
“This was as a result of the EFCC Enugu Zonal Head directing that all the suspect,their BVN &Asset declaration be investigated and assessed.
“It was at this juncture that it was revealed at the close of the interview of the officials informed the commission that they had stopped the said collection as they have ordered their recruited task force to leave the government road but up till today, after the interviews the ministry is still collecting the money.”
Ikolo called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure justice is done