Hundreds of women from Mile Three Market in Diobu, Port Harcourt in River state, marched to the Government House in protest against an alleged multiple taxation, which includes a tax for governor’s perfume.
According to Punch, the women reportedly caused a gridlock around Azikiwe Road as they chanted war songs, carrying placards which read, ‘We no go gree’, ‘Pay-pay too much’, ‘Stop collecting Chairman’s money from us’, and ‘Save us from extortion and intimidation’, among others.
The women lamented about the extortion from a group suspected to be a task force established by the council, and called on the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to call the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council Chairman, Mr. Sunny Sam-Ejekwu, to order.
One of the protesting women, who identified herself as Gift, said
Each of us pays levies ranging from N1,500 to N4,000. The one that is annoying us and forced us to embark on this protest is the N2, 000 for ‘Governor’s perfume’. They said the money would be used to purchase perfume for the governor.
She added that the task force were intimidating them with their position, and pleaded with the state to appoint a chairman for mile three market, whom they can take their grievances to.
The task force constituted by the government is using their position as to intimidate us and extort money from us. They charge us money unnecessarily. They coin name for each of the money they want to take from us.
Sometimes we don’t sell anything, but they will ensure that we pay more than 1,000 naira daily. We don’t make much in our trade, but our small gains go into the government’s pocket
We don’t have a chairman in charge of the Mile 3 Market. If there is a chairman, we can take our grievances to him. I sell fish. When these task force people come, they throw my fish away and force me to pay N2,000.
When contacted, the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Sunny Sam-Ejekwu, denied knowledge of the said extortion and intimidation.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, speaking to newsmen, said there was no such levy for the governor’s perfume and added that the governor had ordered the arrest of fake task force members, who extort money from traders.