Akwa Ibom: Transport Commissioner, Tax Consultant in logger heads over revenue collection
*How the Consultant’s offices were invaded, cash, cars, documents misses
*Stakeholders, Unions wages war against Orman Esin
* We want him sack – Transporters
In recent times, all seems not to go well between the State Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources led by Mr Orman Esin as Commissioner and Agent/Consultant to the State Government on Road Tax Implementation Scheme, led by Mr Victor Eddie as Chairman.
A confirmed reports made available to this Reporter indicates that there is an ongoing cool war between the Transport Commissioner, Mr Orman Esin and the Tax Consultant appointed by the government of Akwa Ibom State, who is currently working under the supervision of the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Transports and Petroleum Resources, and Board of Internal Generated Revenue.
Meanwhile, our impeccable source who hinted this Reporter disclosed that there had been series of issue and battling cases between the Commissioner and both the Tax Consultant, Stakeholders and Unions in the Transport sub-sector of the state over collection of the state road taxes/levies.
Information had it that the unending war between the duo began last year immediately the assumption of office by the Commissioner, who allegedly shun the tax Consultant and shown no regards to the existing consultancy job handled by a Committee headed by Mr. Victor Eddie as Chairman. The reports alleged that, the Commissioner forcefully took over the job of the consultant by implementing the sale of emblems/stickers.
Further reports revealed that in 2017, after Victor Eddie had printed the emblems for the year, which is one of his mandates as a Road Tax Consultant, Mr Orman Esin forcefully took over the emblems from him, set up a parallel committee for the sale of the emblems which supposed to have done by the Consultant and not the Ministry or the Commissioner.
Our source who preferred anonymity hinted that, in spite the Consultant’s repeated demands on the said committee set up by the Commissioner to release the money realized from the sale of the emblems to enable him to remit same to government and also pay the due percentage to Stakeholders in the Transport Sector as had been agreed upon, it refused to do so.
However, earlier this years, it was reported that the Commissioner again collected the 2018 emblems worth millions naira and has not accounted for it. Meanwhile, according to our source; is the Consultant that would be called upon by the government to account for it.
Also related to the said issue, another reliable source and a staff of the Ministry who confided on this reporter, confirmed that because the Commissioner, Mr Orman Esin who is said to be trying to replaced his brother with Mr Victor Eddie, on January 29th, 2018 announced the termination of Victor Eddie’s appointment which is said would have expired in 2019 and drove the Consultant away from his office in the Ministry of Transport located along Ben Udo street, Uyo.
“To avoid problems, he was said to have relocated to the former Ministry of Works premises along Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo where he also have a consultancy services for collection of Haulage fees for the Ministry of Works.”
“On the 31st January, 2018, the Commissioner allegedly send truck load of thugs accompanied by policemen who invaded the Revenue Consultant’s office and carted away with documents, cash and 2018 Emblems, 70 pieces of monitoring uniforms and several vehicles.”
Recounting the ordeals, some workers in the office who identified themselves as Joseph Isaiah Sambo and Chief Sunday Udo Obot who were in the office as at the time of the incident, narrated that the thugs invaded their offices, scattered the offices and carted away with valuables including documents, money, cars, a phone and Emblems worth millions of naira.
Chief Sunday Udo Obot who is working in the office as Deputy Head of Enforcement said, “after making the day’s account, it was about 3:45 pm and we were about to close our work for the day. A called entered my phone, on receiving the call, I notice a white bus and other vehicles driving into the premises with loads of policemen and boys with unknown faces. Some of us ran and on coming back after they’ve gone, we noticed that they arrested 4 of our staff and ransacked our offices, carted away with our valuables like cash, Emblems, phone, uniforms and packed all our cars.”
One of the arrested staff of the office, Joseph Isaiah Sambo narrated that the said thugs were led by one of the Commissioner’s ‘boys’ identified as ‘Prunto’.
Apart from that, reports also indicate that the Commissioner, Mr Orman Esin had on January, 2017 awarded the already existing consultancy job handled by Mr. Victor Eddie to another consultants including; MAXGAB Nig. Enterprise Ikot Ekpene; EFFSON Nig. Ltd of 399, Oron Road-Uyo; Mr. Edoho Charles Edoho of PACKONSULT Eket; Mr. Asuquo Etim Edet of Crossnel Venture Nig.Ltd, Oron, amongst others which had resulted to a breach of contract.
Meanwhile, Union Leaders and Stakeholders in the Transport Sub-Sector of Akwa Ibom State have recently protested over what they termed as incompetency and incapacity to manage the affairs of the Transport Ministry by the Commissioner, Mr. Orman Esin, calling for his removal and redeployment from the Ministry.
According to the Stakeholders and leaders of the respective Unions in the transport sub-sector of the state including; Sir Godwin E. Ukwak of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW); Hon. Godwin Otu Angwanga of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN); Usen James Usanga of Drivers Welfare and Development Association (DWDA); Obong Emem Austin Edet of Long Distance Commercial Transport Association; Amanisong Ernest of Food Stuff Dealers and Transporters Association; Ita Asuquo Offiong of Earthmoving Equipment, Double Axle, Truck Owners/Operators Association; and Deacon Benjamin Ekpo of Akwa Ibom Commercial Transport Stakeholders Association (AKICTSA) asserted that for peace to reign in the Transport sector in Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner, Mr Orman Esin most be removed, because he lacks the capacity to manage the affairs of the Ministry.
They maintained that before the government of Akwa Ibom State secured the agreement with the private owners of motor park in Uyo including; “Long Distance Parks, to move into the State Government’s built Regional Motor Parks located at Ikot Akpe, Nung Oku, Itam and Mbiaobong to do their business, it was agreed that stakeholders in the transportation industry of Akwa Ibom State manage the affairs of the Unified Motor Park Workers’ Association in each of the parks”.
“The Government (through the Technical Committee on the Relocation of Parks in Uyo) agreed to supply buses for use in the parks to the stakeholders, but failed to do so, even up till now”.
“For that reason, the Government encouraged us (the stakeholders) to form a cooperative society named ‘Akwa Ibom Transport Stakeholders Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited’, which was launched and commissioned by the out-gone commissioner for Transport, Prince (Dr.) Godwin Ntukudeh; which the launching was chaired by Hon. Idongesit Ituen, Chairman House Committee on Works and Transport in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. But following the delay by government to provide the vehicles, we (the stakeholders) provided the vehicles by ourselves to show sincerity and solidarity to the State Government in relocation of Parks’ project.
“Surprisingly, on the 22nd January, 2018, Mr. Orman Esin, the Honourable Commissioner for Transport confronted the Stakeholders at the Long Distance section of the Park and threatened/directed that his “boys” shall be working at the park from Monday 29th January, 2018 and shall collect from every motorist the sum of N1,000.00 per passenger at the gate before the vehicle is allowed to leave the park for its destination, without telling us (the stakeholders) the law which provides for the collection of such money from motorists”.
“Also, the Revenue hitherto generated from the motor park were usually shared amongst the Unions/Associations, (Stakeholders), Local Governments (Uyo, Ibesikpo Asutan, Itu, Uruan and Ibiono Ibom which are under the Uyo Capital City Development Authority) and the Akwa Ibom State Government. From 2007, the revenue had the so paid till when Mr. Orman Esin became the Commissioner for Transport and stopped all such disbursements as the government earlier agreed with the stakeholders”.
“He has brought in his brothers and kinsmen to takes over the affairs of the parks, who now collect the said revenue and take to him at his residence”.
However, while expressing dissatisfactions on the attitudes of Mr. Orman Esin, they noted that the Transporters, Unions’ leaders and members in the State have loses confidence on the Commissioner over nepotism and incapability to oversees the affairs of the Ministry, calling on Government to sack him from such sensitive office before the situation worst.
Considering the ongoing chaos in the sector, Transporters doing businesses and operating in the state have moved against what they termed as incompetency by the Commissioner.
An unconfirmed Information confided on this reporter revealed that all commercial Transport operators have concluded arrangement to stage a massive protest in the capital city of the state, demanding immediate sack of Mr. Orman Esin from the Ministry.
Efforts to speak with the Commissioner, Mr. Orman Esin on the above allegations levelled against him proved abortive as his phone numbers was not reachable as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Road Tax Consultant, Mr. Victor Eddie when contacted to confirmed the above reports refused comments on the issue.