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Three hospitalized, as Obaseki descends on tricycle riders for resisting new levies

At least three persons have been hospitalized following a violent attack by thugs hired by the Edo State Government on tricycle riders in Uwelu, Benin City, to impose new, harsh levies recently introduced by the state government to raise funds for Governor Godwin Obaseki’s reelection campaign.
Mr. Emmanuel Ukpabio, Tony Boniface, and Isaac Oneghe, and many other tricycle riders within the Uwelu spare parts market axis all suffered varying degrees of injuries and have been hospitalized over their refusal to pay the new levies.
According to their leader, Comrade Joseph Effiong, the state government recently jacked up their routine levies by a hundred percent from one hundred naira to two hundred naira without justification other than the need to raise funds for the Governor’s campaign following fresh setbacks with members of the PDP, especially ward chairmen, refusing to join the Governor’s campaign without their demanded 10 million naira “mobilization fees.”
To effect the payment of the new fee and ensure compliance, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who continues to seek ways to cover the gaping hole left in the state books by his reported 15 billion naira payment to the national leaders of the PDP for the party’s ticket, hired thugs who descended on the tricycle riders and sent many to the hospital.
The ugly incident has drawn widespread condemnation as it led to a prolonged halt in movement within Uwelu as tricycle riders present scampered for safety and others remained at home partly to protest the criminal assault.
Those who spoke with newsmen condemned the Governor’s harsh levies, describing it as unconscionable state-sponsored extortion coming at a time many of them were still grappling with economic effects of COVID-19.
The Police arrested some of the thugs responsible for the attack, but residents of the state have expressed concern that they could be released without charges considering that they were acting on behalf of the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
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