Police storms Benue IRS office, manhandle boss

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom

Drama ensued Monday evening when police X-squad operating in Benue State stormed the office of Benue Board of Internal Service and demanded the release of tax invaders.

The incident which happened around 4 p.m at the headquarter of BIRS located opposite Benue State University attracted passers-by and youths around the environs who visited and protested the action of the police.

The leader of the squad one, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Olu Kayode Ayilara was said to be operating in the State on the instructions of the Inspector General of Police.

The crisis brought the state governor, Samuel Ortom and Senator George Akume to state command headwater of Nigeria Police.

Executive Chairman of BIRS, Mrs Mimi Orubibi who narrated her ordeal said the problem started when the ACP Ayilara came to her office demanding the release of offenders and woods impounded from them.

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She said the ACP  had visited her office last Thursday but did not meet but returned on Monday were told her to release all the woods and the offenders.

According to the BIRS Chairman, the ACP told her that she had no right to impound the wood and that they were following the directives of the IG who have instructed him to produce N10 million.

She alleged that the X-Squad had been helping traders in the state to evade tax adding that they sometimes arrest our agents and asked them to pay between N300k  to N500k before they are released.

According to her, ‘beside this, every Monday, they collect N200K (two hundred thousand naira) from our staff, which they usually refuse payment through the bank.

“When he came today that we don’t have a right to impound wood, I questioned him whether the wood belongs to him.

“He started hitting his hands on the table, threatening that he would deal with me. “He called me a harlot and said I am a male woman that I have no right and he was going to finish me.

“Look at my buttons. He jacked and tore my buttons, and slapped me. He told the agents that the IG said he should bring N10million.

“But I know that the IG would not have asked him to do that. “I have interacted with the IG and I know his stand on this issue, the IG can never tell him to do that.

Governor Ortom who visited the state command office and held a meeting with the commissioner of police told newsmen that the Police Command had “set up an investigative panel to probe the incident which led to the alleged assault of the BIRS chairman, by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Olu Kayode Ayilara.

He stated that the meeting became necessary following a misunderstanding between the BIRS Chairman and the Police, stressing that they were informed by the DIG that the Police Commissioner would constitute an investigative panel to ensure justice in the matter.

Governor Ortom said the state has faith and trust in the Nigerian Police, adding that what was important was to ensure that the rule of law prevails at the end of the day.

“What we want is the rule of law to prevail. I just finished a meeting with the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Mr Joshak Habila, Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, Mrs Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni as well as Senator George Akume among others, and I believe the issue will be resolved.

Benue Police Command which reacted through a statement signed by its spokesman, ASP  Moses Yamu said the policy direction of the Inspector General Of Police was that all Police actions must conform with the rule of law and respect the fundamental rights of the citizens.

According to the statement, the Officer behind the disgraceful act has been identified and Investigation has commenced in earnest.

The statement reads in part, “the investigation will be handled dispassionately and accorded the seriousness it deserves, with a view to ensuring that the erring Officer and any other Officer found wanting are made to face the full wrath of the law.

“On behalf of the Inspector General of Police, IGP. Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, The Command would like to express its appreciation to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Gov. Samuel Ortom and the former Governor of the State, Distinguished Senator George Akume for their support, leadership and understanding which culminated in the quick resolution of the ugly incident, please.”

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