ESTMA is fake, says Oshiomhole
No! Edo PDP disagrees
Governor of Edo State, Mr Adams Oshiomhole has again dissolved the state Traffic Management Agency, ESTMA popularly known as Oshiomhole Police for extorting unsuspecting motorists.
The governor caught some of the officials in the act while on an unscheduled visit to Sapele and 3rd East Circular Roads and eventually stormed their head office at the Ministry of Works after he got wind of their nefarious activities on Tuesday.
The governor said the officials were milking the residents while the monies were not being remitted to government.
“So, I want to once again publicly announce that these men called EDSTMA, have since been disbanded. They have no business on the roads. Henceforth, anybody they harass, the person should report them to the nearest police station.
We are going to set up a monitoring squad, made up of policemen, both plain clothes and uniformed policemen to arrest anyone that decides to turn our high way to extortion point. Anyone that harasses motorists in the state will be sent to prison.”
He said: “So, I want to again appeal to members of the public not to part with money to anybody. Nobody is authorized to collect one naira from anybody.
If taxes are to be paid, taxes are to be paid to the banks, not cash to anybody. All those cash they have been collecting are illegal, and they are going into individual pockets.
We want to manage Edo traffic, but not to subject people to untold hardship and dehumanizing tactics. Government cannot use thugs to enforce laws. Laws must be enforced by law enforcement agents.
“So, anybody wearing EDSTMA uniform by whatever ID cards they have, all of them are fake, because none of them has appointment letters.
“All those I have seen, I have asked them, ‘where are your appointment letters?’ And they said, ‘I don’t have’. Even the few with IDs, they are the old ID cards of people we have disbanded.
So, I have directed the Commissioner, and he must ensure that he searches everybody and collects all the illegal ID cards that they are parading.
“Let me use this medium to advise road users. Nobody should part with one naira, whether it is called fine, it is called levy, it is called tax, or by whatever name called. No cash transaction is permitted by Edo State Government.
We want the roads to be free, but we don’t want them to be taken over by thugs. This government will not accept thuggery. So, anybody, from now on who calls himself EDSTMA official, we will arrest, prosecute and send to Oko prison. So, I have warned everybody.
So, all of you wearing this EDSTMA uniform, go in now and remove them. If you don’t remove them, any of you found with them will be dealt with.”
Motorists and residents have been lamenting untold the hardship from the excesses of the traffic agency.
Some motorists who were already in the net of ESTMA before the governor arrived the scene were discharged without paying a dime.
But the Edo PDP state chapter disagrees with Oshiomhole.
According to Mr. Chris Osa Nehikhare, PDP Publicity Secretary, “Comrade Governor, you missed the point when you said the EDSTMA officials were not employed, constituted and empowered by your government to harass, intimidate and collect levies and fines from the hapless Edo road users.
“You missed the point when you said the officials were fake and that these men called EDSTMA have since been disbanded”.
“Your Excellency, we are used to your rhetoric but this one tops all. Edo people remember when you reconstituted EDSTMA two months ago. We remember when you contracted traffic management to Rev. Ojo Patrick (King’s Square) (Ikpoba Hill area) Mr. Alile Osaretin, Mr. Monday Ogiegor (Aduwawa axis) (Siloko Zone) Mr. Ephraim Odobo, (UgbowoZone) Mr. Israel Osato, Ogbemudia Ben and JohnBull Edenazogie, (Sapele Road) Eke Elvis.
“We are aware that Mr. Austine Evbakhavbokun, Commissioner of police retired was appointed by you as the chief executive of EDSTMA.
“Your Excellency, Please stop taking Edo people for a ride, you want us to believe that you and your officials were not aware that EDSTMA had their offices scattered all over the city.
“This included the compound of the State Ministry of Works Sapele road which was their operational headquarters. Is it not therefore embarrassing and a sign of gross incompetence that the Governor and government officials claim that they were not operating on behalf of the Government.?
“We are however not surprised as you did a similar thing to Major Oloye rtd not too long ago. You humiliated and handcuffed him even when he was doing a job for which he had your express authority. Just like you did on Wednesday, you denied him.
“However, in line with your denial, we would like you to confirm the agencies under your employ as we wish to also advice Edo people to disregard the identity cards and office addresses flashed by people who claim to be working for you.
“Special attention must be paid to some persons who occupy a government building along new Lagos road, near New Benin market who do a similar job like your recently denied EDSTMA. They impose taxes on people without due regards to their income and terrorize traders, market women and business owners who dare to do business in Edo State, Benin City in particular. Please confirm if these shylocks are under your employ.
“We demand that the whole saga be investigated. We need to know the source of their uniforms, identity cards, bank details of the organisation and those who benefited from the fraud. We are aware that some victims made payments to banks. You cannot use your APC broom to sweep this under the carpet”.