By Peter Duru – Makurdi
THE Benue Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, Enforcement Team, Thursday, arrested five persons for allegedly mounting barricades on federal highways and operating illegal tax activities in the state.
The suspected were alleged to have disguised as BIRS staff and extorted several traders and truck drivers conveying food items from Benue State to other parts of the country. The Media Assistant to the BIRS Chairman, Mr Terkula Ati, in a statement yesterday in Makurdi said the suspects were arrested in Gboko and Guma local government areas, LGAs.
Ati stated that the suspects were among the several syndicates who had been operating illegal tax collection points across the state and forcefully extorting their innocent victims on the highways.
According to him: “The team which was led by the enforcement officer, Mr Ningir Titus, apprehended Kumave Thadeus, Mr Bem Ikyoche and Sughter Azua at Akumba Village near Abinsi, on the Makurdi-Gboko Road while operating an illegal checkpoint in Guma LGA. Aondoaseer Ikpenger and Ahangba Mishe, on the other hand, were arrested at Igbesue Village, Gboko- Aliade Road, Gboko LGA for also extorting unsuspecting travellers at an illegal tax point.”
Ati said the suspects had been handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.