Another Tax Riot Imminent In Aba 82 Years After the First One

Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State is the most taxed and levied land and people on the surface of the earth.  In 1929, Aba women rioted against the British colonists over taxation.  That incident has become a monument in our national psyche.

However, and sadly, the tax riot of 1929, some 82 odd years ago, seem to have been forgotten as governments more draconian than the British colonists are now killing the commercial nerve center of the South-East with all sorts of taxes and levies that roll out on almost daily basis.

The way the governments in Abia State – both State and Local Governments - are going about these taxes and levies, I foresee another tax riots in no distant time in Aba.  This would be different from the case of 1929 because it would not be women alone.  I foresee men and women and children, able and physically challenged rising in a deadly protest against the tax rape presently ongoing in Abia State.

There are already a thousand and one revenue profiles under which the poor hapless traders and residents and passersby in Aba are taxed and levied.  And more and more are coming up every other day.  There is no week that passes without a new tax or levy on the people of Abia State and their visitors.

From 2010 to 2011 alone, more than ten profiles have been introduced.  At present there are levies and taxes for anything that passes the imagination of a demented class in authority.  There are such names as:

  • Monthly Gutter (drainage) levy N300 – all adults seen on the premises of any property are arrested and made to pay this retroactively and in advance for one year.
  • Annual MOT N2500 -  all motorists are charged this fee.
  • Daily Keke Napep Levy N160 – Aba alone have 25,000 Keke Napep – tricycles in operation. 
  • Bi-annual new Road Worthiness for vehicles N2500 – This is paid by every vehicle regardless of the age or type or make on Abia Roads.
  • Annual Infrastructural levy – initially charged on all vehicles loading goods.  Now charged on all adults in Abia State.
  • Annual environmental levy – charged on all households
  • Annual emission levy – charged on all trucks including pick-up trucks
  • Annual Borehole levy – charged on all premises with borehole for borehole inspection – the only inspection done is the collection of the money.
  • Annual borehole licence – There is a license fee charged before you could be allowed to dig a borehole to get water in a state without public water supply.  And you have to renew the license annually.
  • Jora – The joint revenue administration for all local governments in Nigeria with hundreds of profiles are also charged on the people of Abia State and those who pass through the state.

This is just to mention just a few to avoid boring you with all thousands of profiles.

In all of these numerous levies that arise on daily basis, nobody is informed or mobilized concerning them.  The first time the people would learn about them is on the day they are arrested for the tax or levy.  Those arrested are made to pay bribes and additional fines plus the tax or levy amount before they are released.  Only the levy fees are receipted.  All the other money you pay are stashed away be thieving enforcement thugs and policemen.

The governments in Abia State have contracted out all these taxes and levies to contractors mostly non-indigenes of Abia State.  These contractors in turn hire thugs, ex-convicts and policemen who daily maraud the people in their homes and on the streets abducting them to locations of their choosing at which they unfold these several levies and taxes and detain them until they pay.  When you are abducted for one levy, you would end up being forced to cough out money for several others.

They have knocked at people’s doors and abducted children who have left a meal table with a ball of garri in their hands to answer the door.

Aba, the commercial life of Abia State is a place where you can get anything on earth.  In those days, you could get both good and bad.  But today, the only thing you can get in Aba is evil perpetrated largely by the state and local governments and their criminal gangs of contractors and kidnappers.

This is not a wish from an enemy of Abia State.  It is a cry apache to avoid more bloodbaths in this beloved city in God’s own State.

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