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Ogun PPRO’s Alleged Threat to Arrest RIFA Members for Resisting Anarchy, RIFA Make Clarifications on Misinformation, Take Case to Police Higher Authorities, Warn Against Anarchy

Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer; SP Abimbola Oyeyemi

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) attention has been drawn to a statement credited to Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer; SP Abimbola Oyeyemi in affirmation of his alleged threat to arrest RIFA members made in his office on Friday; September 23, 2022 on ticket collection for bike riders which was also reported to have been repeated on a radio programme in Abeokuta on Wednesday; September 28, 2022.

We understand the “concerns” of our PPRO and would like to make clarifications that RIFA members, despite provocations, have always resisted attempts to be dragged into violent reaction, That is why, everyone is happy with our modus operandi that despite assaults by some hoodlums on us, we endure and teach them the path of peace with higher reasoning and some of them have been changing for good.

However, RIFA position on the issue of ticket for commercial motorcycle riders is borne out of patriotism, laws, court judgments and higher reasoning and not on the ground of hypocrites’ definition and position. However, RIFA understand the misconception in some quarters on what tax does not mean but has been ignorantly perceived to mean especially by the extortionists who want to dupe the public by all means.

What is wrong in allowing those who have or renew their vehicle particulars by themselves to pay their tax to government directly as they renew their particulars or as deem fit in any year?

To those who do not know the meaning of tax but want to mislead the public, it is essential to enlighten them. Tax is a periodic, mostly annual or monthly payment made by residents of every community to the development, maintenance of law and order of that society but extortion is a daily or occasional occurrence whereby some extortionists and oppressors try to defraud the people or the State by blocking taxpayers from paying directly to state government purse so as to hide the real amount of income generated.

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For instance, employed workers who collect their entitlements monthly are to pay what is termed pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) on their monthly income. But for irregular or occasional workers or consultants, withholding tax is due on their emoluments. For those who are self—employed such as transporters, traders, businessmen, car dealers, etc their tax is once in a year except where additional assessment is raised.

And for a payment to be regarded as tax, it has to be paid in the name of a particular person for that purpose of being for tax and it must be paid to government account with the payer collecting receipt in his own name. That is why whoever claims to have paid tax on his salary cannot claim one amorphous hand collects it without his details captured or the tax paid traced to him.

Therefore, no informed elite would have tagged daily ticket tax especially when the payers have no traceable record of what was paid and who paid what to government account. Tailors, bricklayers, etc pay their tax once in a year to the government and they collect receipts in their names. So, who is that promoter of anarchy justifying otherwise just to enrich his pocket through kickbacks from the illicit returns? In a nutshell, anything paid daily is nothing but extortion and the courts have confirmed this in many cases as well as the laws.

So, whoever wants to manipulate laws can obtain form to go to National Assembly to change the laws and or join judiciary to reverse judgments. As a result, RIFA understand that those who feed fat on extortion cannot but defend their pot of soup forgetting all wealth acquired on earth they would account for it before their Creator one day.

Of all daily businessmen and employees including traders, gas sellers, bricklayers, welders, carpenters, etc, who else apart from the transporters are being extorted on daily basis in the name of fake tax? Can the defenders of daily extortion show evidence of their daily tax payment to the government? And can such extortionists show us evidence of register of daily ticket collectors and the receipt carrying their names at the end of the year so that if they want to show any authority they can present it?

Genuine elites know RIFA position is not for shallow and hypocritical minds to comprehend and no untenable excuses can thwart our resolute for justice because the project is a divine and celestial one based on rigorous reasoning, impeccable characters, laws and court pronouncements.

The law is simple and straightforward on tax collection. Taxes and Levies (Approved list for collection) Act Cap.T2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,2004 which is the main law on taxes collectible in Nigeria provides: “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”.

Similarly, Section 4 of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 provides “The Police force Shall; (a) prevent and detect crimes, and protect the rights and freedom of every person in Nigeria as provided in the Constitution , the African Charter on Human and People Rights and any other law; (b) maintain public safety, law and order; (c) protect the lives and property of all persons in Nigeria; (d) enforce all laws and regulations without any prejudice to the enabling Acts of other security agencies…”;

Also, FRN 1999 Constitution Fifth Schedule Part 1 Section 9 provides “A public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy” Or is there any law that authorize a public servant to be working against the laws he is engaged to defend? If yes, we await such a law!

Laws and court pronouncements are products of wise consultations of different eminent people. Therefore, it would be anarchy for someone to claim his rebellious wish is superior to wise decisions of many patriots that made laws and court pronouncements. Nonetheless, as RIFA have taken the case to Police higher authorities for redress, we hope the recalcitrant one would bow to laws, court pronouncements and stop using the Force for other purposes.

We have not met anyone throughout the Federation who has not appreciated our selfless service for restoration of orderliness except those whose means of livelihood is kickbacks and illicit deals.

Our case is in court against transport unions and the government including the Police. However, informed Police officers at legal department of the Ogun State Police Command saw no opposition to our claims and so decided not to show up at the court despite several summons.

Similarly, one of the marauding commercial motorcyclist associations also approached the court that it has no objection to our claims even the government could not counter us. But now that someone has decided to defend them perhaps because he has facts to present, it would be appreciated on the next adjourned day; October 5, 2022 for such a person to meet us at the high court complex, Abeokuta to present his position as no one can be greater than the laws of the land and the duly constituted courts.

For those who abet criminality for kickbacks, it should be noted that any attempt to cross the train of freedom would be resisted especially if directed at any RIFA member and such a person would surely not witness the end of the play.

We refer them to other recalcitrant public servants who have constituted nuisance in the past. They would feed them with the best report. RIFA project is divine too heavy for a wayward public servant to block without being flushed out by river of freedom. We warn public servants to stop supporting anarchy for our society to develop. To h*ll with anyone who thinks RIFA is afraid of arrest for pursuing genuine cases in line with the laws of the land and valid court pronouncements.

Luqman Soliu,
President,
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)

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