BENUE State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has banned associations from collecting taxes in the markets and at road blocks. The Governor, in a press statement by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua said only those authorised by the Benue State Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, have the duty to collect taxes on behalf of the service. The directive was necessitated by the protest by angry youths over multiple taxation in Gaando, Gboko local government area of Benue State, last Wednesday, where several persons were injured, including a police officer. He consequently directed law
enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute unauthorised persons and organisations which flout the directive. He charged those with the authority to collect the taxes to abide strictly to the rates fixed by the revenue law, stressing that anyone who charges and collects in excess of the fixed rates would also be arrested and prosecuted. He directed officials of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service to ensure strict compliance with the revenue law and his directive, adding that contractors who contravened the law should have their contracts terminated with immediate effect. The Governor explained that
associations could limit their collections and operations within their members without constituting themselves into a nuisance in the markets and on the highways. Nigerian Pilot gathered that the youths barricaded the Makurdi- Gboko highway, close to Dangote Cement Company in Tse-Kucha for over four hours, resulting in traffic gridlock and subsequent stranding of several motorists. According to a source, the enraged youths lamented over the high tax imposed by the State government on food produce especially tomatoes. The protest was said to have gone bloody when men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, who were deployed to the area to quell the protest engaged the youths who were also said to be armed in gun duel. It was at that process that the police man was hit. The State Police Public Relations’ Officer, ASP, Moses Yamu who confirmed the incident on phone said, 16 persons have already been arrested and are undergoing interrogation. It would be recalled that a similar protest was stage in Lessel, Ushongo local government area last week where youths made bonfire in protest over high taxation on Tomatoes price. According to them, multiple taxes have brought low patronage as buyers from outside the state have stopped coming to buy their goods.

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