No fewer than 18 persons, suspected to be fake toll collectors have been arrested by a combined team of law enforcement agents in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State, on Friday.
They have since appeared before the Anambra State Revenue Mobile Court.
It was gathered that a combined team operating under the State Ministry of Transport Anti Touting Squad on routine enforcement apprehended the suspects at various locations in Onitsha and environs.
Items found in their possession were brought before the Revenue Court sitting at Terminal Central Motor Park, near Upper Iweka, Onitsha.
These include bundles of fake tickets, narcotics and currencies.
The suspects are Ifeanyi Nnamani, Leonard Igwe, Amobi Okeke, Obinna Chukwu, Chukwudi Mbadugha and Chijioke Ejinimee.
Presiding Magistrate of the Court, reminded the suspects of the consequences of the allegations levelled against them in line with section 67(c) of Road Traffic Laws Anambra State 1991.
The court after a preliminary hearing on the matter adjourned to Jan. 21 for further hearing on the matter.
It, however, granted them bail in the sum of N50, 000 each on the provision of sureties “who must present two passport photographs and any evidence of identification approved by the Federal Government’’.
They were also granted access to their mobile phones to enable them to contact their relatives in connection with their bail conditions.
The State Commissioner for Transport, Dr Christian Madubuko said the battle against touting and all form of illegal toll collection in the state must be fought to a standstill.
He said it was regrettable that high incidences of fake revenue collectors in Onitsha and environs, but assured of government determination to flush out perpetrators and their accomplices.
“These are boys who refused to do something meaningful for a living. We have cautioned them and now its time for action, the money that is supposed to go to government is now going into their pockets.
“They must tell us who they are working for and we have our mobile court here. They will face the court and if found guilty will go to prison,’’ he said.
The State Chairman, Anti Touting Squad operating under the banner of Focus Initiative Against Touting (FIAT), Mr Okwudili Ohanazoeze, said they were inaugurated on Dec. 2019 by the state government with necessary security support to rid the state of touts and touting.
He added that they have enough manpower across all 21 local government areas of the state to sanitise parks and other facilities being used by touts to defraud the helpless masses.