Millers and workers at the Abakaliki Rice Mill Limited on Tuesday protested alleged multiple taxations and other ill treatment by leadership on the company against them.
Their protest led to shutdown of business activities at the mill.
They lamented the leadership’s actions has made many customers to stop patronising the mill.
They alleged N370 is being collected from farmers per bag before they bring in their paddy rice into the mill for processing.
They added another N370 is charged per bag before the rice is allowed to be taken after processing.
They maintained an empty bag used in bagging the rice after processing, which is supposed cost N150 goes for N300 in the company.
One of the protesters, Irem Bernard, accused the leadership of selling adulterated and poor quality products to them.
“Abakaliki rice mill since 1950 is a place where we feed the whole nation but today, only one family is enjoying, nothing is moving fine here anymore because the mill has been in bad leadership.
“My machine has broken down severally time without number because of adulterated gas here they imposed bags on us that immediately you put rice into it, it will tear and the rice will pour on the ground,” he said
A regular buyer, Theodore Eneh from Ogbete Main Market, Enugu who was stranded following the protest, said his colleagues have stopped buying rice in Abakaliki rice mill and turned to the north because of alleged multiple taxation and unwholesome practices in the rice mill.
Caretaker Committee chairman of the mill, Ogodo Samuele, said the protesters were free to express their feelings.
“The most important thing is that it is been carried out within the frame of legality. People trying to express themselves while asking this and that, I don’t think that there is anything bad about it. Since we have not recoded any causalities or anybody hurt in anyway. It is just a peaceful protest.
“One of the reasons according to sources is the issue of revenue that we are paying which is on the higher side, even though it is not true as the case may be because every organization has a little token you give government as the case may be then together with.
“Following the down of economy, every state has to fall back on their IGR to be able provide the need of the people and that is the area we are trying to make necessary adjustment.
“You know collecting money from people is very, very difficult. That is the point you people met us,” he said.
Credit: The Nation