By Dennis Essang, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Taskforce on Street Trading and illegal motor parks said it had so far sacked 21 officials over their alleged involvement in extorting traders and motorists.
Coordinator of the taskforce, Mr. Felix Nwadibe who disclosed during a chat with newsmen said the affected officials were caught in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state.
Nwadibe further said 10 of the officials left their duty posts to the areas they considered to be lucrative and allowed traders to operate illegally after collecting money from them, while 11 others allegedly extorted motorists in Choba, near the University of Port Harcourt.
“They were posted to oil mill, but they left the place. We have been getting information that they do leave their beats on daily basis, which means there is something they are doing. Collecting of money from traders there. They allowed them, (traders) give them cover and collect money.
” So, we when information got to us, they were dismissed. Anyone who behaves the same way will go the way”, he added.
Speaking further, Nwadibe explained that their sacking followed reports from members of the public, expressing sadness that they were perpetrating such an act despite several warnings before the taskforce commenced enforcement, saying he would not compromise its mandate of restoring sanity on the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs.
“l received phone calls from more than five people that a particular team at Choba were extorting money from motorists. So, as the information got to me, not from one person, not from two, not from three people, l dismissed all of them. This (sacking) will now serve as a deterrent to others”, he stated.