Bayelsa  Warns MOSIEND, IYC, Others to Desist from Illegal Tax Collection

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Government has issued a stern warning to individuals and groups parading themselves as proxies of the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), its sister body, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and similar groups to collect unauthorised levies and taxes, to desist forthwith or face the full weight of the law.

The government has also directed community leaders to promptly report persons using the name of the aforementioned organisations to collect illegal fees in their domains to the police for immediate arrest, detention and prosecution at the court of law.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the warning yesterday during a meeting at his office in Government House, Yenagoa, with the clan and community leadership of Tungbo, Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.

Ewhrudjakpo expressed displeasure at the unwholesome activities of some persons in Tungbo community claiming to be agents of MOSIEND imposing and collecting illegal taxes from traders in the area.

The deputy governor said the state government would henceforth deal decisively with such individuals who are using the IYC, MOSIEND and other groups to extort money from unsuspecting businessmen and transporters.

He pointed out that such illegal collections from merchants and transporters bringing goods into Bayelsa State through the East-West Road had given the state a bad image over the years, stressing that many transporters now decline or double the cost of ferrying consignments to Yenagoa from other parts of the country.

According to him, this ugly development had contributed immensely to the consistent high price of goods in the state, adding that the state government would not fold its arms and watch a few persons take the laws into their hands to disparage the government and people of the state.

The deputy governor, therefore, directed all CDC chairmen and youth presidents from all the communities across the state to immediately report to the police any individual or group collecting illegal fees from traders or transporters in the name of IYC, MOSIEND, and others, for arrest and prosecution.

He called on the divisional police officers (DPOs) in charge of Sagbama Town, Toru-Orua, Agbere and other parts of Sagbama LGA to redouble their efforts in curtailing the sharp practice in the area.

The meeting had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Collins Ifidi; the DPO of Sagbama Town, CSP Kennedy Teiyeibo; the Ebedaowei of Tungbo-Ebe, His Royal Highness Coleman Agbalalah; the Amananaowei of Tungbo, HRH Lieutenant Cdr Amos Poubinafa (rtd), a representative of MOSIEND, Mr. David Famous, among others.

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