By Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River State Anti Tax Agency has arrested six persons for allegedly collecting illegal levies and tolls from traders, taxi and keke drivers within Calabar metropolis.
The six defaulters were arrested at different locations in Calabar South and Municipality by a combined team of the Nigerian Police and the Anti-Tax Brigade while on enforcement drive at the weekend.
The team led by Special Assistance, SA, on Surveillance, Hon Charles, has handed over the defaulters to Anti Cultism squad for interrogation and possible prosecution according to anti tax law.
Charles said: “By the instructions of the Chairman Cross River State Anti Tax Agency, we carried out an enforcement operation and six Six defaulters were arrested by a combined team of Nigerian Police and the Anti-Tax Brigade.
“However, we have handed them over to the Anti Cultism squad. But we wish to let the public know that shortly after their arrest, some councilors from Calabar Municipality came to Anti Cultism office pleading for the release. We insist that the law be allowed to take its course.
Reacting to the activities of the task force, the Chairman, Cross River Anti Tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, said the enforcement is a regular exercise and it is high time illegal toll collectors desisted form such illegal acts forthwith as Governor Ben Ayade frowns at it totally.
Isong said the mandate of the Anti-Tax Agency is to ensure that the poor, low income earners and peasant farmers enjoy tax holiday in accordance to the Anti-Tax law, stating thar any illicit extortion by anybody or group of persons is a crimes against the state.
According to him,”the agency kicks against any illegal tax consulting, imposition of unnecessary levies and tolls on the poor and vulnerable in the state, especially under the small and medium scale category’s of businesses.”
The Chairman further frowned at the alleged exhortation of levies by police and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in the state as well as well as other uniformed men along Ikom highway.
He, however, enjoined the residents to defend their right legally and report any officer engaged in any form of monetary extortion to the enforcement team for neccessary action.