Traders, particularly those that sell perishables at the Free Zone, Ariaria International Market, Aba, have decried the alleged imposition of N9,000 levy by people who claim to be working for the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue.
Interacting with newsmen, a stylist, who pleaded anonymity, revealed that they were mandated to pay up to N9,000 per person for an undisclosed levy.
She said the most disheartening is that most of the people around Free Zone, Ariaria, are majorly widows who do not realise up to N1000 daily, wondering how they would pay such amount.
She also alleged that one Bright came to traders at Free Zone, Ariaria, mandating that they pay a penalty of N1000 for not paying the imposed N9,000 levy, threatening to arrest all of them for not paying the levy.
Another trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said traders at Free Zone, are the least in terms of making sells as they are old people who manage to make ends meet, saying it is impossible for them to pay such an amount while calling on government to unmask those behind the illegal levy.
Contributing, another trader who deals on vegetables, said the level of harassment the traders pass through especially at Free Zone is unbearable, saying that some do not sell in some cases because of the little commodities they display, pointing out it is insensitivity on the part of anyone who is collecting this levy.
She urged Government to look into the matter and fish out those behind the illegal collection of the levy.
Meanwhile, when newsmen contacted the Chairman, Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, Celestine Agbara on phone to ascertain if he was aware of the situation, he said he was in a meeting while promising to get back to our reporter.