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PRESS RELEASE! BIRS Reacts To Police Massive Destruction Of Revenue Checkpoints In Benue State; See Photos Of Destroyed Properties

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PRESS CONFERENCE CONVENED BY THE REVENUE CONSULTANTS FORUM OF BENUE STATE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
17th May, 2017

The Revenue Consultants Forum of Benue State frowns at the activities of the Nigerian police Force (X-Squad) who are in the process of dismantling road blocks in the country as directed by the Inspector General of Police. They have resorted to the wanton arrest and brutal intimidation of innocent Revenue Collection Agents as well as continuous destruction of Revenue Inspection Points and their facilities (such as offices, houses, billboards, et cetera) meant to check Tax evaders in the informal sector as provided by Schedule II of the Benue State Revenue Administration Law 2015 (amended). 

To make matters worse, they have also conspired and are aiding in the unlawful collection of N2,000 & N3,000 (depending on the category) from vehicles at the same inspection points they have dispersed the Benue State Revenue Collection Agents and issuing stickers purported to be from the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Products Dealers in partnership with Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development. This is most uncharitable, exploitative and in the long run, disservice to our dear state as it has drastically affected IGR and the smooth running of Tax Administration in the state which obviously, has its strength in Agriculture and Forestry Products; at a time that the Federal Government has urged subsisting states to look inward and create alternative means of generating revenue for self-sustenance. 
We are aware of a letter earlier written by the Minister of Agriculture to the Executive Governor on the Congestion of Inter-State Control Post of Disease and Surveillance, requesting that revenue should not be collected at such points. We wish to state unequivocally and in strong terms, that NO ONE has prevented the Veterinary Doctors or Quarantine agents from carrying out their professional duty of inspecting animals for the purpose of disease control. However, it is disheartening to note that these Doctors/Agents have deviated from carrying out their professional responsibility and are more interested in the revenue which is due to the state government as clearly shown in the Joint Tax Board (JTB) schedule of Taxes and Levies (approved list of collection) Act, cap. T12 laws of the federation of Nigeria amended Order, 2015 which domesticated 25 Taxes to be collected by the State and not by any Federal agencies thereof. Apart from other charges, they collect N500 as Doctor’s fee per animal. 
The afore-quoted Law therefore, empowers states to set up Institutional structures for the collection of her revenues. Thus, Benue State has created Revenue Inspection points which are designated by law, situate at exit points and distance away from Federal Roads. They are:
1. Z/Biam Inspection Point – Ukum LGA
2. K/Ala Head Bridge Inspection Point – Katsina Ala LGA
3. Branch-Atser Inspection Point – Vandeikya LGA
4. North-Bank Inspection Point – Makurdi LGA
5. Ade-Igwu, Ogbadibo Inspection Point – Ogbadigbo LGA
6. Achoho Inspection Point – Konshisha LGA
7. Adoka Inspection Point – Otukpo LGA
8. Ogobia Inspection Point – Otukpo LGA
9. Tyogbemamsa Inspection Point – Ushongo LGA
10. Naka Inspection Point – Gwer-West LGA
11. Abinsi Inspection Point – Guma LGA.

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This is to check tax evaders who may be going out of the state without duly fulfilling their tax obligations at the point of loading and off-loading.
The major point of disagreement is the introduction of fabricated and arbitrary charges devoid of any legal backing and at variance with the Quarantine Act 1926, introduced by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service which they call “Approved User’s Fees for Agricultural Commodities”. These charges are evidently deduced from the Benue State Revenue Administration Law 2015 (amended) and if allowed to be collected by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service as well as the state, amounts to double taxation.
Attached herewith, are evidence of these illegal collections by Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service as well as Nigerian Association of Agricultural Products Dealers. 
In view of the fore-going, we therefore, 
Call on the Inspector General of Police to direct men of the X-Squad team to cease the continuous harassment of Revenue collection Agents, desist from conspiring with Associations and other unlawful agencies to extort money from tax payers as well as cause the unconditional release of members of our forum, arrested at their lawful duty posts.
Demand that the Minister of Agriculture should re-direct men of Quarantine services and other agents of his Ministry charged with the responsibility of surveillance and disease control to do their professional job and let off revenues belonging to the state to be collected by agents appointed to do so by the Benue State government through BIRS.
Failure to respect our realistic demands within 24 hours as presented; this body shall have no choice than to carry out legal actions against the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Thank you all as you partner with us in the course of this agitation for fair play and equity as well as protest against social injustice.  

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More photos Below…..

Chief John Akpereshi
President, Consultants Forum/Revenue Agents
Benue State Internal Revenue Service 

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