Rivers State Filling Stations Grapple with Dubious Community Levies – Filling stations across Rivers State, particularly in Eneka, are grappling with controversial demands by the local community’s Oil and Gas C.L.O Team and associated unofficial entities. These unexpected requests include monthly donations of 25 liters of fuel and 12.5kg of gas to the Eneka Community Development Committee (CDC), starting in July 2023. Additionally, an annual festive contribution of bags of rice and cash gifts is expected.
The resolution also stipulates that a representative from the community will be present at every Fuel & Gas station, allegedly to ensure smooth operations and foster community relations.
Legal pundits are challenging the legitimacy and ethical grounding of these impositions on private businesses. They argue that only officially recognized government bodies, fortified with legislative power, can sanction taxes or levies on enterprises.
“The current overreach appears to trample on the rights of these businesses,” remarked Ademola Oyenuga, a legal analyst. He further stated, “It’s practically coercing businesses. They already function under legal frameworks, adhering to regulations and paying due taxes. An unofficial entity cannot impose additional burdens without legal grounds.”
The mandated presence of a C.L.O representative at each station is another contentious issue. Detractors believe this could not only impede the independence of these businesses but also pave the way for potential crises.
The involvement of notable community figures during the announcement of this resolution further muddies the waters. Their apparent support might unintentionally validate these unofficial levies, causing confusion about their legal status.
Several business proprietors have voiced their concerns. One anonymous gas station owner stated, “While we have always been community-centric and participated in voluntary charity, being coerced into an organized contribution system by an unauthorized body is troubling.”
As this saga continues, there’s a pressing need for legal intervention to assess these demands. It’s vital that Eneka businesses and the wider Rivers State community receive clear guidance on this issue, ensuring that trade remains free from inappropriate and potentially unlawful disruptions.
Currently, the atmosphere in Eneka’s Fuel & Gas sector is thick with uncertainty, as everyone anticipates official instructions on the next steps in this complex matter.
Samson Gabriel a graduate of mass communication from Auchi Polytechnic, he is a passionate writer with experience in radio scrip writing. He brings his experience from the broadcast media into play here as he continues to enjoy his passion as a journalist. He can be contacted via whats-app on: +234701105670