Sequel to the outrageous demand notices frivolously issued to Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper by the Imo Internal Revenue Service IIRS, urging the newspaper outfit to pay taxes even for the years it had not commenced operation, in a bid to harass and intimidate the media house for unveiling some of the reprehensible actions of staff of IIRS, a tax expert and former chairman of the Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries in Imo State, Comrade F.I. Agba has called on the IIRS to leave Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper alone and concentrate on doing its job without eliciting controversy.
The seasoned retired civil servant, former permanent secretary and vocal commentator on contemporary issues said, “it is wrong to single out Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper when it is obvious that other print media outfits, including those that have been in operation for almost twenty years were not issued demand notices. Why must an outfit be harassed, and intimidated for being alive to its constitutional responsibility of holding those in authority accountable to the people whose collective mandate they hold in trust”.
Comrade Agba who stated this in a chat with Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper reporter said, the action of IIRS amounts to witch-hunting and vindictiveness.
Commenting on the amendment and enactment of the Imo State Revenue Administration Law N0 15,2019 Comrade Agba said, “every amended law should be published and made public to enable the people be aware of it.
“This is necessary because, though pleading ignorance of the law is not a tenable excuse. But it becomes tenable when the law and its amended version, if any are not published and brought to the knowledge of the people for whom it was made”.
He further said that, the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is unconstitutional because all monies accruable to the government ought to be paid into a consolidated account which can’t be operated by government without the approval of the state House of Assembly.
“That is why the Account General, who under normal circumstances is the Chief Accounting Officer of the State, is most times responsible to the state House of Assembly. “But these days, the rules, regulations, operational guidelines and procedure which made the civil service which is the engine room of government unique, distinct and outstanding have been thrown to the dogs, alongside its pride, respect and dignity. That is why things are falling apart and the centre can no longer hold”.
He called on the management of IIRS and the Imo State government to desist from all obvious and subtle moves aimed at censoring or gagging the press as that would amount to infringing on the rights of the people to be informed, educated and entertained by the press without let or hindrance.