Benue Govt Seals Banks over Unpaid Taxes

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George Okoh in Makurdi

Benue State has remained sealed a day after the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) sealed six establishments in Makurdi due to their failure to pay taxes.

The affected banks are: Ecobank Plc, Access Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Lower Benue River Development Authority, Nile Drill Technologies Limited and Ostrich Bakery Nigeria Limited.

According to the BIRS Chairman, Mrs. Mimi Adzape-Orubibi, unpaid taxes accruing to the UBA, Ecobank and Access Banks between 2009 and 2014 are N186.2 million, N168.6 million and N141.4 million respectively.

She noted that the Lower Benue River Basin Authority was owing taxes to the tune of N225.6 million while Ostrich Bakery and Nile Drill Technologies failed to pay the sum of N47.8 million and N4.9 million respectively.

“We approached the court as a lawful agency and the court granted orders that they should be sealed. If after two weeks they don’t pay, the property can be auctioned and used to pay the taxes while the balance is given back to them.”

Efforts by management of the establishments to prevail on the tax boss and her team to drop the idea of picketing their premises failed as she insisted that it was either they paid their debts or faced the music.

The sealing off of the affected banks left many customers who had besieged their financial institutions to make transactions stranded as they were asked to vacate the premises before the doors and gates were eventually locked up with the BIRS seals and chains.