Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) use this medium to allay the fear of some Police officers especially the Divisional Police Officers of Ibara and Lafenwa, Abeokuta who have been guests at Ogun State Police Command Headquarter, Eleweran, Abeokuta in the last two weeks even till Monday July 27,2020 over their officers’ connivance with some miscreants who threaten the peace and serenity of Ogun State in the name of ticket imposition on transporters.
While it is absurd that a normal government will be charging citizens daily tax when those in authority even find it difficult to pay their monthly/annual tax, the obedience of citizens and residents should not be taken for granted especially when nothing less than 95% of the extortion goes to individual pockets.
What baffles every right thinking person is the way the hoodlums attack everyone including those they rob daily of their hard-earned resources. They have killed, denigrated, injured and threatened people on many occasions. If one sees where they eat or drink, the people they rob in the name of tickets dare not try to compete with them. In fact, their leaders travel abroad anyhow with retinue of entourage apart from amassing unscrupulous wealth for numerous chieftaincy titles to sustain their atrocities.
If the transport business is easy, why do those miscreants not take to it with their family members? At the end, the masses are made to bear the cost with high transportation which some people mischievously blame on government even when it is the masses that accept abnormality that worsens their cases. Let all community/group stakeholders hold Police authority responsible for crimes of those boys and there would be positive change soon.
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Taxes and Levies (Approved list for collection) Act No 21 of 1998 Laws of the Federation clearly states:
1 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, or in any other enactment or law, the Federal Government, State Government and Local Government shall be responsible for collecting the taxes and levies listed in Part I, Part II and Part III of the Schedule to this Act, respectively.
2. (1)Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, or in any other enactment or law, no person, other than the appropriate tax authority, shall assess or collect, on behalf of the Government, any tax or levy listed in the Schedule to this Act, and members of the Nigeria Police Force shall only be used in accordance with the provisions of the tax laws.
(2) No person, including a tax authority, shall mount a road block in any part of the Federation for the purpose of collecting any tax or levy.
3 “A person who – (a) collects or levies any tax or levy; or (b) mounts a road block or causes a road block to be mounted for the purpose of collecting any tax or levy, in contravention of section 2 of this Act, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000 or imprisonment for 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment”
In line with the above and Section 214(2b) of 1999 Constitution which provides that “the members of the Nigeria Police Force shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred upon them by law”, the above provisions make it mandatory for the Police to round up anyone ,including police officers, on the road collecting anything. But how could such be done when most of the illegal toll collection points/roadblocks at Rounder- Abeokuta, Sagamu-Benin road, Ijebu-Ode Ibadan road, Ijebu-Igbo-Oru road, Ijebu-Ode/Ore road, Ijebu-Igbo Atan road, Abeokuta-Ayetoro-Imeko road, Ilaro-Owode Yewa road, Ifo-Akinsinde road, Papalanto-Ilaro road, Ibeshe-Ilewo Orile-Abeokuta road, Abeokuta-Ibadan roads etc are mounted by criminals in Police uniform using government uniform to commit crime against the same Nation that provides them job as if it is a crime for a nation to employ its citizens.
The complacency and connivance of majority of the citizens especially the elites have allowed the few criminals to perpetuate their criminality of maiming, injuring, duping and robbing people daily.
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RIFA sent comprehensive 4-page proposal to the State government on how to collect its road revenue in compliance with the laws as no dutiful government should be carrying out illegality and expect it to become legal by virtue of it being imposed on complacent citizens. It can only happen for a time and not all of the time.
The time for that to stop was now. The most disappointing is that when cerebrally-celebrated geniuses of the state are being giving peanuts as salary, few criminally-minded civil servants collaborate with miscreants to prevent state from having enough revenue to recruit and pay real elites. What a set of criminals forgetting that whatever they acquire in life, once they enter grave only God knows what becomes of it!
It should be noted that whenever those boys rob anyone of his bike or vehicle, police should resist using their stations as haven as no amount of bait worth deriding Police honour for crimes of some social misfits. Masses themselves should join ethical freedom fighters to save the society from hoodlums. Whether one is for justice or crime, one would die one day, why then not die for justice and let the posterity continue praying for one’s repose?
The Police officers should be dutiful like former Ogun State Public Relation Officer; Muyiwa Adejobi and DPO Olatoye Ebunoluwa of Oke-Itoku, Abeokuta apart from the past Commissioners and other senior police officers who have been identified as pillars of justice and rule of law while we hope the current CP would fulfill his promise on assumption of office when he was quoted to have said that “Our war mantra will be ‘criminal, here are your own coins’. We will pay criminals back I’m their own coins in very decisive manner, should they dare our resolve and determination. Ogun state will be made too hot for criminally-minded persons.
These deviants are, therefore, advised to quickly leave the state now and never return or be prepared to suffer unprecedented fatalities”. “men and officers of the command under him, should be prepared to respect the basic tenets of democracy, which included the rule of law and fundamental rights of the citizens, noting that police is presently policing democracy”. “Let me quickly remind all policemen that they are public servants and that every member of the public deserves their respect and that any act of misconduct will be viewed seriously.
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I, therefore, appealed to the general public to reciprocate by giving back to policemen, deserving respect and cooperation” quoting the new CP on his arrival after the retirement of our amiable former CP Kenneth Ebrimson who served the state meritoriously. So, the DPOs and Police officers concerned should note that RIFA are not against any police officer but bad attitude of few bad eggs within the rank and file.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)