Tax officials of the western Nigerian state of Ogun have been attacked by workers of one of Nigeria’s largest pentecostal churches, the Winners Chapel, owned by Bishop David Oyedepo.
The attack happened in the premises of the church, officially known as Living Faith Church Worldwide in Ota.
The tax men had gone to the Kingdom Heritage Nursery School,located within the premises of the Church Worldwide, when they were attacked.
One of the tax men is still on admission in the hospital,in Ilaro, while several others were injured. Some of the tax men, were even detained by security officials of the church, until they were freed by the local divisional police officer.
The full picture of the attack was given at a press briefing Friday afternoon at the State Government Press Centre,Oke Mosan,Abeokuta, by the Chairman of the agency,Mr Jide Odubanjo.
He explained that the incident occurred when his men were on a routine exercise of ensuring total compliance with the tax laws of the state.
“Yesterday,an ugly incident occurred in the premises of Kingdom Heritage Nursery School,a commercial venture which is located within the complex of Winners Chapel,Ota,Ogun State.Officials of Ogun State Internal Revenue Service,OGIRS were violently asaulted and later unlawfully detained in the premises for a number of hours.As a result of this incident,an officer of the agency is currently hospitalised in Ilaro while others with mnor injuries have been treated and discharged..”,he said.
Odubanjo further revealed that the policemen attached to the agency were also manhandled by those whom he refered to as,’overzealous officials’ of the church.
OGIRS Boss revealed that several notices have been sent to them to offset their tax debt which he stated was below N2million.
“What they owed is below two million naira,it is from 2003 to 2010.We have sent several notices to them.The first one was in 2010 followed by that of 2011 and the last was in May 2013.Our men were explaining to them when some personnel including their legal officer and accountant came out and in the course of discussion,our men were beaten blue black and our equipment were destroyed.
“We view this as the height of irresponsibility and lawlessness for any person or group of persons to assault government officials who are performing their lawful duties. A formal complaint has been lodged with the Police.The position of the State government is that it will not tolerate any form of violence against any of its officers or agents in the lawful discharge of their duties”,he maintained.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu said the charges that will be pressed against the attackers will be based on the statement made to the police.
“Without prejudice to the fact on ground and with the video evidence we have just watched,they may likely be charged for false imprisonment and assault”,Akeredolu stated.