FENRAD Condemns death of Bread Vendor, Revenue Agent in Aba
FENRAD CONDEMNS THE DEATH OF BREAD VENDOR AND REVENUE AGENT IN ABA, CALLS FOR END OF USING OF UNTRAINED PERSONNEL AS TAX/REVENUE COLLECTORS AND VOWS TO HEAD TO COURT AGAINST EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS IN THE STATE.
Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, A Rights & Advocacy Group in Aba,Abia state condemns in the strongest of terms, deaths of a bread vendor and revenue agent in Aba on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
The bread vendor before his tragic demise was said to be attached to a dealer in Crunchies Bread in Aba who in his itinerant sales ran into trouble with some revenue agents. From the facts available before FENRAD, the Revenue agents impounded the dealer’s vehicle after altercations about “settlement” – a colloquialism for bribe. The vehicle was towed and later taken to Aba Fire Service Station along Constitution Crescent by George’s road whereupon the said dealer got involved a police officer friend of his. The armed policeman, in a bid to disperse the crowd, started shooting sporadically with live bullets hitting the dealer’s attendant (vendor) and one of the revenue agents said to be engaged in a scuffle with the vendor.
FENRAD condemns attitudes of both the dealer, the agents and even law enforcement officer. While the policeman, from available sources, is still at large or on the run, FENRAD wants the state police command to do everything within its powers to bring him into custody for prosecution. His behavior showed lack of professionalism, disregard for rules of engagement and it is behoveful to ask whether he was in the line of duty or acting as a mercenary to the dealer and vendor.
Also lamentable is the use of unskilled and untrained agents in collecting taxes or revenues instead of using the mobile or revenue courts agents and revenue experts in Abia state, more especially in Aba. It is not uncommon to see these agents run after moving vehicles, deflate or loose tyres or plate numbers, impound vehicles or even disitrain business premises. FENRAD believes if trained personnel were used for revenue and tax collection these deaths would not have happened for it is in the position of the court to impound properties of tax or revenue offenders with court order after court summons(es) has/ve been neglected.
It bears repeating that tax administration in Abia state needs revisit and harmonization now. Whether on the road (for motorists, tricyclists and other vehicle operators), or on corporate outfits, businesses or properties using hoodlums as collectors is ungodly for a state with the title of “God’s own”.
The activities of security agencies since the lockdown call for concern. It is here that FENRAD recalls the deaths of: Mr Chibuisi which occurred at Ururuka express road in Obingwa LGA on April 6, 2020; Mr Amobi Igwe, along Umuikaa junction on April 16, 2020 and that of Mr Friday Arunsi at Ebem Ohafia on Friday, April 17, 2020 all being as a result of fall out between security agents and victims or the deceased. This does not encourage a healthy police-citizen relations in the state, FENRAD believes.
FENRAD calls on the seventh State House of Assembly as led by Rt Hon Chinedum Orji and the state executive as led by His Excellency Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph. D, to do the needful as those entrusted with security of lives and properties of citizens and residents in the state. Since the beginning of the enforcement of the statewide lockdown to its recent relaxation, Abians have died at the hands of security agencies in a tragic manner. This is quite condemnable and totally unacceptable.
In mind that these activities on the part of law enforcement agencies do not tally with laid down rules like: Firearms Act, Public Order Act, Human rights (as enshrined in the chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended) and rules of engagement, should the state remain aloof as citizens die, FENRAD is prepared to explore all legal alternatives and options to the letter and last to bring justice to the victims of extra judicial Executions FENRAD believes, Abia is a peaceful state and so must its citizens and all security personnel deployed thereto.
Believing that the state government can still live up to expectation, FENRAD calls for immediate and expeditious addressing of these latest deaths and urges calm on the part of the public.
Signed comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Foundation for Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
Barr. Olusegun Bamgbose
Head Legal Team