Mkpat Enin Local Government Council of Akwa Ibom State has exonerated itself from the crisis over revenue collection which reportedly led to the death of a tax collector, Samuel Monday Toby.
Toby was said to have been attacked in his home for assisting in the enforcement of revenue collection suspension at a local market in Akpaobong which led to his death.
Wife of the deceased, Gift Samuel Monday, had petitioned the Commissioner of Police over the death of her husband, which she claimed to be as a result of his alleged involvement in the suspension of revenue collection in the market.
“His attack is not far-fetched from his 21st December, 2023 involvement in the enforcement of the Ikot Akpaobong Market revenue collection suspension directive of the Mkpat Enin Local Government Council having been appointed to aid in the implementation of the directive,” she said.
Reacting to the death of the deceased, Secretary, Transition Committee of the local government council, Amos Afia stated that December 2023 was declared a tax-free month for traders in Mkpat Enin, as such the revenue collection committee was dissolved.
In a release made available to the media, Afia explained that some youths in the Local Government led by Akanimo Bob Ikpe, a Personal Assistant to Governor Umo Eno, and Village Head of Ikot Akpaobong Village, Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom flouted the order by selling unauthorised tickets to traders in Akpaudo and Ukam markets.
He disclosed that the council had officially informed Eteidung Udom on the tax-free excise in all the markets in the village, adding that members of the newly constituted Markets/Motor Parks Committee were introduced to the Commissioner of Police, as the authorised persons to collect revenue from January 1, 2024.
He explained that the local government council never engaged the services of Akanimo Bob Ikpe as a revenue officer, but that of Samruf Technical Services Limited whose contract elapsed in December 2023, noting that any such claim by Akanimo Bob Ikpe was illegal.
“On December 11, 2023, after due consultation with members of the Transition Committee, the leadership of the Local Government Council through a press release signed by the Secretary of the Transition Committee, Pastor Afia Amos, declared December 2023 a tax-free month for traders in Mkpat Enin.
“We also announced the dissolution of all standing committees in the Local Government Council including the revenue collection committee.
“Despite the release, radio and social media announcement for the smooth implementation of the tax-free exercise, some Youths in the Local Government led by Akanimo Bob Ikpe, a Personal Assistant to the Governor, and Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom, the village Head of Ikot Akpaobong Village flouted the order by forcefully selling unauthorised tickets to traders in Akpaudo and Ukam markets.
“On December 20, 2023, the village head of Ikot Akpaobong, Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom, was officially written to, introducing the enforcement team on the tax-free excise in all the markets in the village. In addition, on December 29, 2023, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command, got a letter introducing members of the newly constituted Markets/Motor Parks Committee as the authorized persons for revenue collection from January 1, 2024.
“On December 22, 2023, an unfortunate report that an indigene of Mkpat Enin named Samuel Monday Toby was attacked at his home for assisting in the enforcement of revenue collection suspension in Ikot Akpaobong Market.
“From all the records available in the Local Government Council, there is no record that indicates that the Local Government Council at any point engaged the services of Akanimo Bob Ikpe as a revenue officer.
“Rather, the Council engaged a certain Samruf Technical Services Limited for the revenue business and details of the engagement shows that the contract elapsed in December 2023. Therefore, the claim by Akanimo Bob Ikpe that he was a revenue collection officer in the Local Government amounts to illegality.
“Finally, the Transition Committee is working closely with the Nigeria Police and all relevant security agencies to ensure that all culprits in the current crisis are brought to book. We are very committed to restoring and ensuring lasting peace in Mkpat Enin Local Government Council,” the release stated.