The Hearse, Ambulance and Undertakers Association at Umuahia, Abia State, on Tuesday, staged a peaceful protest against the alleged extortion of its members by officials of the revenue task force said to be working for the state government.
The Chairman of the group, Mr Uche Kalu, who spoke to PUNCH Metro, lamented that vehicles belonging to his members were frequently damaged by the task force team whenever the drivers refused to part with sums ranging from N2,000 to N10,000.
He said the union had no business with the task force due to the emergency services they rendered to members of the public.
Kalu also revealed that the hearses/ambulances driven by members of his association were owned by private hospitals and mortuaries, which paid all necessary levies to the government.
He added that asking the drivers to pay extra money on the road would amount to double taxation.
He called on the state government to prevail on the revenue task force team to stop harassing his members, saying the union would embark on a one-month strike if the extortion continued.
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Kalu said, “We are rendering essential service to the society. If the task force team delays our members from taking a sick person under emergency to the hospital, a life could be lost.
“On the other hand, if a hearse conveying the remains of a deceased person for burial is stopped on the way, it may cause undue tension because of the mood of the people involved.
“All we are saying is that the revenue task force team should allow our members to serve the public without stress. If the harassment continues, we will have no option but to embark on a one-month strike.”