Reports just coming in indicate that hundreds of traders staged a peaceful protest in Abuja on Thursday, 21 August, 2014 over imposition of multiple taxes on them by Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
According to a report published by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the protest, facilitated by the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), was staged at the gate of the Area Council with some traders and officials of the centre displaying placards and chanting war songs.
Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, CISLAC’s Information and Communication Officer, disclosed that the protest was necessitated by AMAC’s refusal to reverse the trend after several correspondences.
Jimoh stated that female traders suffered some level of intimidation in the hands of officials of the council in the process of enforcing the payment of such taxes.
“This protest is informed by the unfair tax regime on Abuja traders by AMAC.
“As a civil society group, the traders came to us for help and that’s what we are doing.
“It is unfair to subject struggling traders to undefined multiple taxes even when they find it difficult to make ends meet,” he said.
He urged authorities of the area council to address the situation in the interest of peace in Abuja.
In his reaction to the protests, AMAC’s Vice Chairman, Mr. Musa Goza, denied the existence of such taxation.
Goza informed the protesting traders that tax collection was contracted out to a consultant and assured the protesters that the situation would be investigated.
He advised CISLAC to liaise with markets in the FCT to get detailed information on such taxes and forward same to the area council for action.
“Our tax collection is done by a consultant; we have heard this kind of complaint in the past but we did not get any proof.
“I urge you to liaise with the various markets to know the situation so that we can address the issue once and for all,” he said.
One of the protesters, Mrs. Augustina David, a trader in Karu Market, said the multiple taxes being demanded from them had made business difficult.
“The way they are taxing us is too much and we are not seeing what they are doing with it.
“They have this habit of arbitrarily increasing the tax without prior notice and we want government to come to our aid,” she said.
Another trader from Karimu Market, Mr. Ade Adex, said the taxes were being collected by different undefined groups.
“In my own area, different groups come to collect taxes and when we pay, we do not see what they do with it.
“The road to our market is not motorable for a long time and we have been paying taxes; government should come to our aid,” he said.