Different Colours Of Touts
They are almost everywhere these days, at the motor parks, markets, government offices (our secretariat), tax offices, licencing offices, police stations, along our streets and even in courts.
Many of them are well dressed and could pass for anything but touts.
You find them also at the federal secretariat at Aba Road in Port Harcourt precisely, at the passport office, embassies and airports.
They are called Agbero, Molete, 419ers, Kwainashe and all that.
In its totality, a tout is a self-imposed middleman in transaction.
The danger of these people is that they constitute themselves into illegal unions thereby increasing cost of services.
They conduct themselves in a disorderly fashion robbing passengers of their valuables.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays along Creek Road market and Bonny Street in Port Harcourt, you see them extorting money from people and traders profaning whoever dares them in their nefarious business.
Worst still, they are seen in motor parks pushing passengers from one place to another and in confusion, the passengers lose their property.
Touts have their formations.
The biggest formation call themselves lobbyists and claim to be involved in big business.
Often they have big offices in strategic locations of the town and also talk big.
They are almost everything ranging from receiving and forwarding, rent collectors, agents, secret 419ers, kidnappers etc. They introduce themselves as public relation men while in the real sense, they are nothing but touts copying the real public relation men.
In our courts and police stations these touts could be seen as providers of all forms of affidavit which officials say they are out of stock.
In most cases Officers will refer the desperate client to them.
Some of them act as charge and bail lawyers. At the post office we have some of them who could identify you to claim a parcel or money order. In some other cases you find them processing building plans for those that needed help.
Dangerously, their services are being extended to sub treasuries where you find retired civil servants using their services to facilitate the payment of their pension at commission.
The menace of touting is everywhere. Lately it has become a national concern that many are calling for laws either to abrogate or legalise it.
But why has touting persisted in our society despite efforts to curb their activities.
The answer is not far fetched.
With the increased practice of using private licensed motor vehicles as commercial ones, the services of tout in the transport sector became high in demand.
They are needed to scout for passengers for the hasty private car owner who usually are forbidden from coming into the park to load their vehicless.
I thank God for the new administration. Private taxis are prohibited from operating in the state. Rivers State painted taxis are the only ones permitted to operate now and also the Skye Bank taxis. These private taxis before now constitute nuisance and cause major road accidents on our roads. This is now curbed with the new task force in place.
Commenting on touts activities, Mr. Clement Ibe a taxi driver said that touts create an uncomfortable situation for most commuters, adding that touting is precipitated by unemployment and idleness. No one likes or want to be a tout but in a situation where one has no means of livelihood what next should he do?
Government is also fighting hard to find a lasting solution to most of the problems of unemployment in our society and this no doubt, will stop all the different colours of touting plaguing our society.