After ICIR report, Rivers dissolves task force, revenue agents

THE Rivers State Signage and Advertisement Agency (RISAA) has dissolved all revenue collection agents and task force teams in the state following an investigation by The ICIR.

The investigation, published on Thursday, February 29, revealed how billions being generated as road tax in the state were being pocketed by private individuals.

The RISAA Managing Director, Aye Pepple, announced the dissolution, which took effect immediately, in a statement on Friday, March 15.

“The Rivers State Signage and Advertisement Agency (RISAA) hereby announces the dissolution of all task force, revenue agents, consultants, contractors and representatives doing business on behalf of the agency with immediate effect.

“Furthermore, there will be a revalidation exercise, which commencement date will be communicated to all affected parties, and until this exercise is concluded, the public is advised not to engage in any dealings with anyone on behalf of the agency,” the statement read.

The ICIR reported that at least N55.2 billion was being generated from 62,418 commercial vehicles, 24,432 tricycles and 10, 892 motorcycles in road taxes within the state yearly.

The report also revealed that only 0.41 per cent of this sum got into government coffers, with the rest pocketed by members of a transport union and community touts.






     

     

    Based on the sum being generated by the transport union, Rivers State Inland Revenue Service (RIRS) was expected to generate at least N2.2 billion from commercial vehicles annually. However, it only reported N223.93 million in road tax throughout 2022.

    According to the report, several groups are responsible for the diversion of these funds, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), which reported only a fraction of the taxes collected.

    Drivers who refused to pay these taxes were usually beaten or had their vehicles, tricycles or motorcycles confiscated.

    Charges imposed on drivers by these groups contributed to the rising cost of transportation in the state.

     

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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