Chris Steven, Abuja
The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Transparency in Governance (CCSOTG), has called for deepening democratic norms and the rule of law in Nigeria with regards to the freedom granted BIRS -Consultants to collect tax in Benue state by a Makurdi High Court in a dispute with the Police and the need for immediate compliance.
Convener of the Group, Sabo Ode, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, said BIRS got a judgment last week in its favour, as the Court declared the Police as incompetent in issuing such directive and restrained its agents from harassment, intimidation and disruption of lawful tax collection in any part of the state.
It will be recalled that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, in May 2017 inaugurated a Police Special X-squad teams specifically charged with the responsibility of arresting all tax revenue officials operating on federal roads across the nation.
“We therefore side with the clear verdict of the Presiding judge, Justice Adam Onum that the police have no authority to issue such executive directive, which contravenes the validly passed laws of the Benue State House of Assembly or any other State Assembly in Nigeria.
The group said BIRS is obliged to support this tending for the truth by CCSOTG to enable the widespread and deep dissemination of this cheerful news to re-establish the confidence of taxpayers to BIRS which could be done through pamphlets, billboards adverts, community theatre strategy and open-door advertisements on taxis and buses or any other means possible to ginger payment of more taxes to liberate Benue state.
“On this score, the coalition wishes to salute the courage and wisdom of the Benue State Board of Internal Revenue Service’s (BIRS) executive chairman, Mimi Adzakpe- Orubibi, by challenging the controversial directive of the Police in court,” the group said.