Judex Okoro, Calabar
Committed to enforcing Anti Tax laws, the Cross River state government has arreted twelve illegal tax and tolls’collectors in Calabar.
The suspects are to be arraigned by the Anti Tax Agency at Special Court.
The suspects were arrested by Anti Tax Enforcemnet Team led by the State Security Adviser, South, and was made up of the security agents, National Union of Road Transport Workers Union, NURTW, and Anti Tax Brigade.
The team, had on the wee hours of Monday, moved into various tickets and tolls’ points located at popular Watt Market, Mayne Avenue by Fosbery axis, Ette Agbor, Marian and MCC junction where some of the kingpins were picked up while collecting tolls from market women and selling illegal tickets to taxi and keke operators.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the operation, the leader of the Anti Tax Enforcement Team, Ani Essien, said they decide to embark on the exercise to enforce Governor Ben Ayade’s order against illegal taxation in the state.
Essien, who doubles as the State Security Adviser, South, said it is high time people disengaged in such illegal and nefarious activities that have been giving motorists and the citizens nightmarish experiences.
He said: “The Governor had exempted some categories of citizens from paying tax, but the government is disappointed that some people are still collecting taxes and illegal tolls from low income earners and poor citizens.
“So our department, the Special Services, in collaboration with Anti Tax Agency, went to the streets to clean it up of illegal taxation and it is going to be a continuous exercise knowing that these illegal operators come out in the morning, afternoon and evening. So far we have arrested about 12 of them and we promise to eradicate the menace.All we need to do is to trigger it.
“We are worried because people are afraid of driving out of their houses for fear that their cars may be impounded or their goods seized by these ilegal taskforce and tolls’ operstors,” he stated.
Also speaking, the chairman of Anti Tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, said: “Today, the enforcement of Governor Ben Ayade’s Anti Tax Law had taken effect and you can see we were on the streets to arrest those still flaunting the governemnt’s order on illegal tolls.
“Those arrested would not escape the arm of the law as they are going to be immediately prosecuted at the Special Court as provided for in 2015 and set up for such purpose.
“We only enjoin Cross Riverians to go about their lawful businesses and report to the Agency anybody found in the sales of tickets, collection of taxes from Okeke, taxi and low income earners.”