The Arts

August 4, 2013

FIRS’s new drama series harps on tax compliance

FIRS’s new drama series harps on tax compliance

*Nobert Young as the FIRS investigating team leader confronting the CEO of Midas Ventures Taiwo Obileye

By JAPHET ALAKAM

The high rate of corruption in the land can be attributed to the inability of people to do their duties well and worse still those who fail to obey the law are not punished. It is a binding duty for all to pay their taxes, partake in environmental sanitation exercise, use the pedestrian bridges while crossing the express ways and other civic duties. But to many, the Nigerian factor where anything goes has taking the upper side to the extent that when you see one who wants to follow due process, the person is regarded as not normal.

But, one fact remains that things will not continue like that, and based on the need to change the system, the FIRS in partnership with seasoned actors came up with a drama series titled Binding Duty.  The informative and educative drama series seeks to sensitise the public on the need to perform  their civic duties especially on issue of compliance to payment of taxes.

*Nobert Young as the FIRS investigating team leader confronting the CEO of Midas Ventures Taiwo Obileye

*Nobert Young as the FIRS investigating team leader confronting the CEO of Midas Ventures Taiwo Obileye

The drama which is produced by Ohi Alegbe and directed by Ihria Enakimio tries to bring to the fore of the intended viewers of the message of the popular adage that everyday is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house hence they subtly warned that there is no getting around the law without serious consequences.  Parading a cast made up of seasoned actors like, Nobert Young, Tyna Mba , Bimbo Manuel, Gloria Young, Eric Obinna, Langley Evru and Tony Afokhai, amongst others the drama is warning to those who had benefited from the ‘system’ that it is no longer business as usual.

During the preview of the drama at Ikeja last week, the drama which is split into six storylines and spread over 13 episodes, portrays itself as an effective medium employed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) campaign to change the system. To them there is need to be careful in whatever one does as ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

In a very clear language, the drama opens up the minds of many to the dangers that lie ahead of those who connive with touts to achieve their aim. For example in the first episode titled Short Cut, the series which is spread into two, takes the viewer to the typical Nigeria way as practised in many tax offices.  The CEO of Midas Ventures (Taiwo Obileye) gets caught in the FIRS net because his accountant patronises touts even though the company is known to pay its taxes regularly. Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse so the CEO, his accountant and the company must pay for their sins with fine and perhaps jail term.

Another episode of Short Cut also reveals the role played by the CEO’s wife’s in the way and manner she used her position to detain the two male National Youth Service Corps members who allegedly “assaulted” her impertinent daughter at the district’s police station. An action which the community’s landlord association condemned as the young men are held in high esteem.

In another title Born to Win, also in two episodes, the story of a young graduate, Charles (Joachim Keke) who refused do things right and was arrested for traffic violation by law enforcement agents, and   the sister attempt to bribe the officials which was turned down. After spending a night in detention but eventually got  released , he plots to make it at all cost and leaves his sister’s home, stealing her two thousand dollars and some documents of her company. As usual he engages the services of a tout to procure a fake tax clearance certificate in the name of his sister’s engineering firm with the intention of bidding for a contract in a federal government agency but was eventually arrested by the police.

Meanwhile, an FIRS team led by renowned actor Norbert Young has been trying to unravel the puzzle as to why a company that has been tax compliant would suddenly apply for a contract with a fake tax clearance certificate. The trail eventually leads them to the CEO, who through her husband understands why the FIRS team paid her a visit.

Other episodes are Borrowed Time (3&4), To Have and to Hold (5&6), Ostrich Syndrome (9&10) and Double Jeopardy (11,12&13).

It is a very bold and good attempt by the production crew, except for  the frequent FIRS commercials in the series that somehow interrupts the storylines, the drama is rich.  I commend them for the well-scripted episodes and pray that the move be extended to other organisations in Nigeria.