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Pillar of Associations may sue PHALGA, OBALGA on harassment

Posted by By Tony Amadi on 2005/07/25 | Views: 423 |

Pillar of Associations may sue PHALGA, OBALGA on harassment


Given allegations of incessant harassment by revenue personnel purported to be acting on behalf of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government councils, and given the fact that these councils on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, allegedly failed to honour invitation by the Port Harcourt area command of the Nigeria police for deliberations in respect of a complaint of criminal assault and harassment levelled against their revenue agents or personnel by the Pillar of Associations in the state.

Given allegations of incessant harassment by revenue personnel purported to be acting on behalf of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government councils, and given the fact that these councils on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, allegedly failed to honour invitation by the Port Harcourt area command of the Nigeria police for deliberations in respect of a complaint of criminal assault and harassment levelled against their revenue agents or personnel by the Pillar of Associations in the state.

Several issues are alleged to be out of place in the union's relationship with these councils, destroying what hitherto, was a congenial atmosphere for the growth of business and survival of operators.

Among these issues are allegations of breach of agreement by the councils with attendant acts of disrespect and harassment of association members by over-zealous council revenue personnel. Others are instances of alleged double taxation and the legitimacy of youth organisations and similar groups taxing and levying small business operators in their areas despite the taxes and rates paid and payable to the state and local governments by these business concerns in addition are the unnecessary impoundment and unwanton destruction of goods belonging to the members.

Telegraph learnt that Obio/Akpor local government which sat and agreed with the association executive to a levy of N1,000.00 for a room space and N2,000.00 for larger spaces, turned round to ask for between N3,000.00 and N10,000.00 for the smaller space and up to N50,000.00 for larger spaces, failure to meet which demands goods and wares of association members were impounded and often destroyed, and the owners assaulted.

It was further alleged that upon impoundment, a N30,000.00 fee must be paid before release of goods, with additional N2,000.00 security fee charged per night.

This medium was also told that while the state collects a development levy of N100.00 from association members, the councils in the same period demand between N500.00 and N1,000.00 for the same purpose from the same members, with some other organisations also asking for development and supportive levies from the same operators, a position viewed as double or triple taxation.

An instance was the case of Rumumduru Youth Development Council, which issued demand notice in June this year to business operators in their area for what it called "a token fee of N400.00 for shops/stores and N200.00 for kiosks", the legitimacy of which the association is said to question. And still is the case of Orogbum youths, alleged to be currently on the throttle imposing a development levy of N1,000.00 on small and medium scale businesses in the Ogbunabali axis.

For the failure, on the part of the councils, to honour invitation to thrash out the criminal issues at stake, therefore, even as the treatments are said to continue unabated, the association is reportedly left with no option but to consider a law suit against the local councils.


When Telegraph called on the police, spokesperson for the force confirmed knowledge of the complaint by the association but stated that the police were still investigating and working to resolve the issue, while council sources could not be accessed.

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