By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—TWENTY illegal park operators around the Oba Ovonranwen Square in Benin City, were arrested yesterday by Edo State Internal Revenue Services, ESIRS.
The suspects were said to be using government reserved land as motor parks where they collected illegal fees from market women and motorists despite the ban on collection of revenues by the state government.
The Chairman of ESIRS, Chief Oseni Elamah, who led the raid, said it became necessary following complaints from the public that some private individuals were using government lands as park just as they collected revenue without remittance to government coffers.
According to him, “There is a total ban on revenue collectors who are notorious for issuing tickets to workers of various parks in the state. Yesterday (Tuesday) in the IGR review meeting, we got a call from the Ministry of Transport that some parcels of land acquired by the government had been converted to local parks by private persons who have been collecting revenue. So, we came this morning (yesterday) to verify. From what we have seen so far, it is true. The others trade on the properties even on the walk way and the main road.
“So we were following the governor’s directive and also we are appealing to our people to stop the illegal activities. People are trading on the walk way and they are paying taxes to some illegal people who are not contributing to government purse. We need to sensitize our people, we need to educate and enlighten them because it is not a job for government alone, we all need to join hands and eliminate illegal revenue by all means possible.”