The Enugu State government has called on residents to disregard the purported protest by some tipper drivers in Nsukka over the N1,000-per-trip-of-sand levy imposed by the state government.
Aka Eze Aka, the state commissioner for information and communications, made the call in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday in Enugu.
Some tipper drivers, on Thursday, took to the streets of Nsukka in protest over what they described as the state government’s increase in the daily fees charged to them for each trip, from N500 to N1,000.
Mr Aka said the government had confirmed that the purported protest was concocted by unscrupulous elements who were in the habit of tarnishing the government’s efforts in making the state a preferred investment destination.
The commissioner, who described the protesters as fake tipper drivers, said the leadership of the Tipper Drivers and Owners Association of Nigeria (TDOAN), Enugu chapter, was aware of the minor adjustment in the daily fees being paid by their members.
He explained that the slight increase was part of the current government’s efforts to boost the state’s revenue.
He disclosed that TDOAN, through its leadership in the state, explained that there was no valid reason for any protest apart from an attempt to tarnish the image of the union.
Mr Aka said that despite the increment, Enugu still charges the lowest fee when compared to the neighbouring Ebonyi and Anambra States, which charge N8,000 and N3,500, respectively.
“The group warned miscreants being used by opposition politicians to destabilise the peace that Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, has brought, to desist from it.
“They equally restated their resolve to align themselves with the policies of the Mbah-led administration and its developmental trajectories,” Mr Aka quoted the TDOAN leadership as saying.
He said Nsukka Local Government Council chairman, Walter Ozioko, while corroborating with the tippers union, said the security information at his disposal showed that the protesters were impostors.
He said that Mr Ozioko absolved Mr Mbah’s administration of any wrongdoing, saying the increase was done by the Enugu State economic planning commission in line with the present economic realities.