…arrests one, other members on the run
In strict compliance with the directive of the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on respect for law and order, the state government has arrested one Peter Okpame, a member of an illegal revenue collection syndicate operating in Koko-Oghara-Sapele-Warri park along Sapele Road in Benin City.
The arrest followed a petition to Governor Obaseki and the Edo State Internal Revenue Srvice over the operations of the syndicate in the area.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security and Surveillance, Comrade Emmanuel Orukpe, in a chat with journalists, said the action was taken to curb the activities of miscreants and others, who swindle unsuspecting residents in the pretext that they are agents of government.
According to him, “After investigating the allegation contained in the petition written by a concerned citizen, who operates as a driver at the park, the order for the arrest of members of the syndicate was issued by the state government to the State Command of the Nigeria Police.
“During surveillance by members of my team working with security intelligence operatives, Peter Okpame, who is a member of the syndicate, was arrested. As I speak to you, Okpame is being interrogated by the Police.”
Comrade Orukpe added, “We are hoping to get more details of the operations of the syndicate and identify other members of the group involved in the illegal revenue collection. They are on the run, but we assure that we will apprehend them.”
He said that the state government will not hesitate to prosecute any person or groups found to be collecting illegal revenues in whatever form or guise, warning those still involved in the illegality to desist from it forthwith.
Speaking to journalists after his arrest, Okpame said members of his group collect N200 each from commercial drivers daily at the Koko-Oghara-Sapele-Warri park, which is remitted to their leaders.
“The N200 we collect from each driver daily is used for maintaining the park which is in bad condition. We get at least N10,000 daily and give same to our leaders.”
Okpame, who claimed to be a member of the State Chapter of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said he was aware of the state government’s ban on illegal collection of revenues.