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Igbo traders in Ilorin protest against intimidation, over taxation

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Igbo traders and businessmen in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, unified under the Igbo Traders Association, closed their shops on Friday in protest against what they claim is intimidation and over-taxation by the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.

The protest, which left many traders stranded, took place in locations such as Oko Erin, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, and the General Hospital area.

According to reports, the revenue agency, KWIRS, reportedly arrived at their shopping complexes around 10:00 am with a revenue mobile court to prosecute the traders and lock up their business premises without representation.

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The Igbo traders, denying any indebtedness to the revenue agency, expressed that they are up to date with tax payments and rates.

They termed the action of KWIRS as unfair and appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for assistance, requesting a tax waiver or tax holiday, considering the current economic hardship in the country.

The coordinator of the 22 zonal chairmen of Igbo traders associations in Kwara state, Chief Aloysius Nwora, stated that the tax office sought to collect taxes from individual members against the existing agreement to collect taxes collectively.

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Chief Nathaniel Nwogu, the first vice president of the Igbo Traders Association, led other leaders and members to the revenue court premises and the state House of Assembly to register their grievances.

Chief Nwora suggested a roundtable discussion among representatives of the revenue agency, the state government, and the leadership of the Igbo Traders Association for an amicable solution. He emphasized the importance of a business-friendly environment for growth.

The Corporate Affairs Department of KWIRS responded to the allegations, stating that the mobile court was conducted to prosecute high-net-worth business owners who hide under associations to pay lesser taxes. The KWIRS, having exhausted measures for voluntary compliance, resorted to enforcement. The mobile court pronounced the sealing of the businesses of the accused taxpayers, emphasizing the importance of taxpayers meeting their civic obligations.

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“Taxes are enjoined to pay their tax liabilities as and when due to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law,” KWIRS stated.

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