…As Council officials, private revenue collectors clash
From, Ben Ogbemudia
Bloody clash occurred on Wednesday in Benin City between officials of Oredo local government council and men of the State Professional Drivers on Wheel over revenue collection.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had during his New Year message voided all forms of arrangements on collection of taxes, levies entered into by the state or local government councils with agencies, saying only employees of the state government or local governments were authorised to collect taxes and levies.
However, in what appeared to be a flagrant disobedience to the state government directives, members of the State Professional Drivers On Wheel came out to collect revenue which resulted in the bloody clash.
Trouble, National Daily gathered, started when the men of the Professional Drivers On Wheel resisted and prevented the local government officials, accompanied by security agents in an attempt to give effect to the State Government directive on revenue collection precisely in Ekpenede and Ebo streets in Benin metropolis.
Speaking, Head of Service(HOS), Oredo Local Government, Osagiator Ojo, told journalists that officials of the council were injured, assaulted and molested by the group, adding that the uproar degenerated when the thugs invaded the council secretariat with one of them arrested by the police.
He said the state government directives banning illegal revenue collection will boast the council revenue base, noting that the council is at the verge of putting in place a mobile court to sanction violators of the government directives.
In a swift reaction however, State Chairman, Professional Drivers On Wheel, Adams Rotimi ( aka Shabba), said the state government was yet to give further directive as to who will collect revenue since all forms of levies and taxes have been banned.
He threatened that the union will resist the council officials with their last blood, adding” tomorrow let them come out, we will fight them with our last blood”.