Traders at Ngwa Road Market (Ahia-Ohuru) in Aba South Local Government Area, Abia State have pleaded with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to intervene in alleged incessant harassment by personnel of the State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The traders who came in their numbers to Sunday Telegraph told our correspondent that for some months now, personnel of the BIR in conjunction with Abia State Vigilante Group have been ripping off many traders, by imposing unapproved levies on them.
The traders said that all their efforts to bring the market leadership to intervene on the matter have proved abortive, giving them the impression that the market leadership is conniving with the BIR personnel.
The traders lamented that despite the directive of an Abia State High Court that only government approved levies should be collected, the BIR in connivance with the market leaders and Vigilante Group are intimidating people collecting illegal levies from them.
Sunday Telegraph reports that Ngwa Road Market had on October 18, 2017, taken Abia State government to court and joined the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Solid Minerals and Environment and the Aba South Local Government Chairman over exorbitant levies and imposition of what they termed illegal taxes.
Abia government sometime in 2019 announced that every payment to be made in form of revenue collection in all the markets have been brought under one unique amount of N18, 000 termed consolidated revenue.
However, the traders said that the collection of the illegal and unreceipted N6, 700 by a group that claimed that they got authorization from the State Government is something the Governor should intervene.
Obi Kenneth said that the BIR officials began the collection of the illegal levies from traders who are not aware of the ongoing legal battle only for them to come out boldly when they discovered that their intimidation was working out perfectly.
“They are currently bringing all manner of notices, sealing peoples shop claiming that the State Government authorized them.
“They are led by certain Mr. Peter and Mr. Bright who said they’re staff of Abia Board of Internal Revenue, he alleged.