By GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN—TRADERS on the popular Lagos Street in Benin Metropolis, Edo State, under the aegis of Akugbe Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, have taken to the streets accusing the state Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, of allegedly demanding from each store owner, the sum of N70,000, insisting that the collection was illegal.
Chairman of the group, Chief David Ohenhen, who addressed journalists, alleged that a firm, engaged by the ministry came to Lagos Street to bulldoze and clear the street of garbage.
He explained that at the end of the exercise, officials of the ministry prevented the traders from opening their shops while he was invited, as the leader of the group, by Major Loye to see him in his office.
He explained that on getting to Loye’s office the following day, the Permanent Secretary ordered that his members should clear the debris on the street as a pre-condition for the re-opening their shops.
“As that was done, I went back to him and he directed me to see one Olokoga, who informed me that some people had paid to him the sum of N50,000, N70,000 respectively to re-open their stores and he directed me to tell my members to pay N70, 000 each before their stores would be re-opened. I informed him that we are not going to pay since it was the ministry that was responsible for the work.”
Major Loye could not be reached as his telephone was unanswered.
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