·        Determined to shut down office for exposing fraud, rape scandal

The management of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper has raised alarm over plots by the Imo Internal Revenue Service (IIRS) to plant dangerous and incriminating objects and substances in their office with the aim of indicting and discrediting the newspaper outfit that has relentlessly exposed some of the alleged irregularities, despicable actions and conduct of staff of the revenue collecting agency.

Commenting on the development, the Editor of the Newspaper, Sir Bonny Ajuogu KSJI, expressed concern over the series of unscheduled visits by staff of IIRS to the headquarters of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper, located at Zander Street, Owerri.

He accused the agency of hatching evil plans against the management and staff of the newspaper in a desperate bid to tarnish their image and ultimately shut down the newspaper outfit.

Sir Ajuogu narrated how, “some staff of IIRS stormed the Newspaper’s office on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 in the guise of delivering demand notices for tax audit. In the process, one of the ladies sneaked into the rest room, ostensibly to ease herself. She did not know that the Receptionist who was suspicious of their body language and the fact that she carried her hand bag into the rest room kept close watch on her, as she dropped an object wrapped in a parcel behind the toilet seat. The Receptionist instantly raised alarm which attracted other people who forced her to take the parcel she dropped and leave the office immediately to avoid incurring their wrath.

Absolutely disappointed that the burble had burst, she left with her, colleague who was also crest fallen and dejected.”

The Editor further stated that the media outfit has been on the blacklist of IIRS since it started to X-ray and bring to the public dormain, the nefarious activities of some of the members of the management and staff of the Internal Revenue collecting agency, ranging from alleged diversion of funds, illegal deductions from staff salaries, defilement of minors, sexual abuse of married female staff who are reportedly threatened with suspension, termination of appointment, etc for non-compliance among others.

He noted that, for any publication in the Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper which the management of IIRS considers unfavorable, they issue a bogus and outrageous demand notice which is not in line with due process or the reality on ground.

Sir Ajuogu cautioned against the use of the paraphernalia of office to clamp down on the media and media practitioners, adding that the Newspaper as a responsible and law abiding corporate entity, has been paying all necessary dues. He wondered why the Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper was singled out among several other print media outfits in the state for such un-warranted official intimidation and harassment.

He said, “we are used to government intolerance for dissenting views and opinions. They always look for opportunity to gag the press but we won’t bulge. We are passionately committed to the ideals of the outfit as enshrined the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended which clearly states the role of the media in a democratic society”.

Recall that the Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper in its edition of June, 30, 2022 narrated how a staff of Imo Internal Revenue Service allegedly defiled a 13 year old girl.

The report said, “The last is yet to be heard about the reprehensible and scandalous actions of staff of the Imo Internal Revenue Service (IIRS) who seem to have vowed to always be in the news for the wrong reasons. The lastest development is about how a security man attached to the revenue generating agency allegedly defiled a 13 year old girl who prior to the unfortunate incident, was a virgin.”

“Investigation by Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper reveals that the 13 year old girl, (name withheld) was sent by her aunty to clean up the restaurant which she operates inside the premises of IIRS, in preparation for the next day’s sales.

According to a source who pleaded anonymity, “when the 13 year old innocent victim entered the premises of IIRS, the security man who obviously took advantage of the fact that the premises was deserted pounced on his victim and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her despite her futile efforts to free herself.”

“The victim’s aunty, having waited more than necessary for her return, became anxious and agitated. She was about going to look for her when the victim eventually returned, looking gloomy. When she was asked the reason for her unnecessary delay, she opened up and explained in graphic details, how the security man, grabbed and forcefully defiled her.”

“The victim’s aunty, having waited more than necessary for her return, became anxious and agitated. She was about going to look for her when the victim eventually returned, looking gloomy. When she was asked the reason for her unnecessary delay, she opened up and explained in graphic details, how the security man, grabbed and forcefully defiled her.”

It was also gathered that, “when the matter was reported to the management of IIRS by the victim’s aunty, they, did everything possible to cover it up, but three of the Governor’s cousins in the establishment, promptly reported the incident to the police who swung into action. But before their arrival the security man had absconded and has since then, remained at large.”

Recall, that Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper had earlier in some of its publications reported several cases of alleged sexual harassment by top management staff of IIRS. A case in point is the one which highlighted how one Mr “FIGURES,”  a top management staff of the agency was caught pants down with a female staff whose husband is based in Ghana. The report also x-rayed how the said, “Mr Figures” often  threatened female staff of the agency with indefinite suspension and termination of appointment on trumped up charges and allegations. If they failed to yield to his demand. It was also alleged that he asked those who agreed to sleep with him to pay for hotel accommodation with their money.

Continuing, the source said, “it is confounding and disheartening that despite the the litany of scandalous reports, the state government has continued to keep quiet about the damaging scenario thereby giving the impression that Mr FIGURES as he is popularly called is as untouchable as he often claims. “FIGURES has always boasted that with  his closeness to the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Doris Anite, he can do anything and get away with it.”

A recent text message the embattled chairman of IIRS, Dr Ifeanyi Okeke sent to a journalist confirmed that most of his actions and that of the IIRS as regards the issue of outrageous demand notices are not aimed at generating revenue for the state but motivated by the urge for vendetta.

The text message in question reads, “your newspaper has refused to pay its statutory levies and taxes to Imo state since inception and has the temerity to publish lies and falsehood against the agency.”

When contacted, Emma Alozie, S.A Media to the IIRS Chairman, Ifeanyi Okeke, said, no staff of the agency is involved in a rape scandal. He however, confirmed the report but stressed that the culprit is not an employee of IIRS but a staff of a security  company contracted  by the revenue agency.

According to him, “the security man is at large. Let it be on record that the IIRS is not shielding him and would not shield any staff who engages in any unwholesome and criminal act or conduct. As far as we are concerned here, any staff found culpable will face the consequences of his or her actions. It would therefore be uncharitable for any person or group of persons to link IIRS with the alleged defilement of a minor, though the incident occurred within the premises of IIRS.”

Investigation by Niagara Watchdog Newspaper shows that no other newspaper outfit in the state was issued outrageous demand notice for payment of tax, raising speculations that the purpose of the demand notices issued to Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper are aimed at muscling and clamping down on it.