Taming the Menace of Revenue Rats

The proceeds from the extortionists campaign antics of the revenue rats hardly find its way into public coffers...

Jun 26, 2023 - 13:18
Jul 13, 2023 - 14:19
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Taming the Menace of Revenue Rats

with Ubon EKANEM

C

alabar the capital city of Cross River state is fast losing its sobriquet of “come and live and be at rest”, partly due to the menacing activities of local council self-styled revenue agents and the state waste management extortion contract agents.

In between we are daily confronted with the popular adage of left or right, you are caught up with the devil and the deep blue sea, making it impossible to escape the extortionist tendencies of these revenue rats whose pre-occupation is to make life uncomfortable for the average resident who tries to etch a living through plying his hands-on self-reliant endeavours.

The proceeds from the extortionists campaign antics of the revenue rats hardly find its way into public coffers as such ill gotten funds are plundered away at dusk in beer parlours, drug joints and brothels.

Needless to say that it is about time the state government based on its professed people’s first policy turns attention to the unwholesome activities of these revenue rats who brazenly parade our streets on daily basis purely on extortion campaigns and their targets are petty traders, shop owners, street hawkers, wheel barrow luggage carriers and of course commercial drivers on the pretext of enforcing the collection of unspecified business development levies.

Most of the revenue rats claim to be agents of faceless former local government council councillors and you either oblige their request upon being accosted or stand the risk of having your goods or vehicle promptly impounded.

It is now a common sight to see bare-chest able bodied young men roaming the major streets of Calabar in their numbers harassing mainly commercial vehicle drivers and, in the process, extort raw cash with no receipts or tickets at least to prove evidence of payment confirmation.

 The perplexing aspect of it all is that the drivers quietly comply and if you bother to ask what they are paying for, the answer that is thrown back at you is simply if you do not pay, they will set you up. It becomes more curious as these lazy brutes easily disappear from sight on sighting a police van from afar.

Waste management revenue collection process is a different kettle of fish and one would not be too far to conclude that the regulating authorities may have lost track of the real identities of these revenue marauders. The demand notice issued to unsuspecting shop owners and business operators are subject to frivolous negotiations as it bears no indication of government treasury account details.

The touts in their fold take advantage of these lapses to pound on their hapless victims to extort whatever money is readily available on demand. As the era of sweetness takes root, sustainable and clear terms of revenue collection process should be clearly spelt out and the identity of those saddled with this unenviable task should not be shrouded in secrecy.

The time to separate the grains from the chaff in the business of revenue collection and generation is now.