The National President of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, Muhammed Tahir has bemoaned on how Nasarawa state Government under the leadership of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura for condoning illegal mounting of road blocks and arbitrary collection of Toll tax from the Union members along Akwanga-Keffi highway.
The president hinted this during a visit to the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resource, Yusuf Lawee, Tahir chastise the state Government over the way and manner tax collectors along Akwanga- Keffi highway use cutlasses and other dangerous weapons to harass trucks conveying livestock to other parts of the country.
The Union described unnecessary checkpoints on the highway as a total aberration of court order restraining the use of checkpoints along the major highways by tax and revenue collectors. He described the harassment carried out on his members as uncalled for by flouting court order.
He lamented over the idea of collecting multiple taxes/revenue as a total and fragrant disregard to the provision of section 2 (2) of the taxes and levies (approved list of collection) Act 1998.
“When we contacted the highway tax collectors in Kadarko who are in possession of cutlasses and other deadly weapons they said Governor Al-Makura hired them (tax/revenue consultants) to collect taxes in the state; Muhammed Tahir affirmed that the tax collectors burgled them of their hard earned money and treat them like second class citizens.
“Nasarawa state is the only state we are having headache, From Maiduguri to Lagos or Sokoto to Lagos we don’t pay single kobo if not Akwanga to Keffi highway.
He maintained that their major challenges are in Agudu, Assakio in Lafia Local Government, Akwanga highway, Akurba in Lafia Local Government and Kadarko in Keana Local Governments respectively.
The law stipulated that,” No person including tax authority shall mount a road block in any part of the federation for the purpose of collecting any levy or tax, This law has been existing but is been flouted by the agents of the company.
He emphasis that the rightful place to collect taxes /revenue should be a single haulage fee payable at a point of loading in the state of departure and single haulage fee at a point of discharge of goods which the state required to set up institutional structures for the collection, He insisted.
The illegality also violated the recommendation of the report of the technical committee on the review of multiple taxation across the federation at various levels and its effect on the Nigeria economy presented to the National Executive Council meeting by the Gombe state Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo who advised the President to instruct the Inspector General of police to dismantle all road blocks on the highway erected for the purpose of collecting taxes/revenue.
“As a matter of fact Nasarawa state is also part of the federation, therefore it is not exempted for ease of reference of the above section.
The national president has also called the nation’s president to wade into the matter so as to save the situation, Saying if concerted steps were not taken by the state Government and the central Government, The union may barricade the nation’s highways with trucks.
The state chairman of the Nasarawa state Revenue Board, Usman Okposhi declined comment on illegal road blocks along highways in the state.