Protesters led by the Hearse, Ambulance, Casket, Mortuary Decorators Union drove across Abia State, expressing their unhappiness with the collecting of taxes by louts.
They marched along key routes in Umuahia, the state capital, causing considerable traffic congestion.
They drove about at a snail’s speed, blaring sirens and turning on their car headlights, provoking the wrath of other road users.
Chairman of the union, Comrade Uche Kalu, told newsmen in front of Gity Gate Mortuary in Umuahia, where they took off, that louts posing as revenue taskforce had not allowed their members any breathing room in the state since they continued extorting money from them.
According to him, the louts subject the members to a variety of payments without receipts ranging from N2,000 to N10,000.
In several cases, he added, tax collectors smashed their vehicles’ windscreens, side mirrors, and lights in a desperate attempt to extract money from them.
The chairman said that their members are “not commercial drivers, but humanitarian workers” who should not be subjected to extortion in the sake of profit.
He demanded that the state government force the louts to cease bothering his members so that they may function without interruption.
If the persecution of their members continues after the peaceful demonstration, the union members have vowed to go on strike for a month.
“We want the authorities to stop these ‘touts’ (louts) from bothering us,” he stated. They wreck our cars and cause delays in our travels, regardless of whether we are transporting ill people or bodies.
“What we’re doing is humanitarian work, and we shouldn’t be considered as businesspeople.” A five-minute delay in the arrival of an ambulance is perilous. This foolishness needs to come to an end! These touts must be dealt with with prudence by the government.”
When asked if they had formally contacted the state government, he claimed the union had written to Governor Orji Uzor Kalu in 2007 during his administration, but no action was taken.
As a result, he pleaded with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to come to their aid.