Economic Hardship: Traders Lock Shops in Kwara, Allege Unfair Taxation

Mar 2, 2024 | Uncategorized

  • The economic hardship in Nigeria is biting hard, spreading across states and frustrating citizens
  • Recent reports have confirmed that traders in Kwara state have already started staging protests
  • It was gathered that the protest was triggered due to the high taxation imposed by the Kwara State Inland Revenue Office journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

Ilorin, Kwara – Igbo traders and entrepreneurs in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, took a stand on Friday by shuttering their shops to protest what they claim is harassment and excessive taxation by the state revenue agency, the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.

Operating under the banner of the Igbo Traders Association, they instructed their members, particularly in areas like Taiwo, Agaka, Baboko, Ita-Amodu, and other zones heavily populated by Igbo residents in Ilorin, to suspend business activities.

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Shops and businesses owned by Igbo traders have been closed in protest against high tax.
The Igbo traders have confirmed that they are open to dialogue. Photo Credit: Analodu
Source: Getty Images

This action was prompted by the closure of several shops belonging to their members in Ilorin.

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Establishments with a longstanding presence in the city, like Chuppet and businesses run by Ejide and Top Biz, were reportedly shut down by KWIRS due to alleged non-compliance with Personal Income Tax regulations.

Customers bear brunt of Kwara taxation

Due to recent events, many customers and business people were stranded in various parts of the state capital, including Oko Erin, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, and the General Hospital area.

Igbo traders reported that the revenue agency arrived at their shopping complexes around 10 am with a mobile court to prosecute them and close their businesses, all without representation.

Despite being current with their taxes and rates, the traders expressed frustration at the unfairness of the agency’s actions.

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They urged Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to provide tax waivers or holidays, citing the economic challenges and the fact that many rely on credit to stock their shops.

The head of the 22 zonal chairmen of Igbo traders in Kwara State, Chief Aloysius Nwora, expressed dissatisfaction with the tax office’s decision to collect taxes from individual members instead of following the agreed-upon collective approach.

Additionally, Chief Nathaniel Nwogu, the first Vice President of the Igbo Traders Association and other leaders and members protested at the revenue court and state House of Assembly, highlighting that some businesses dealing in perishable goods were affected by the locked premises.

Igbo traders call for dialogue

According to Punch, Nwora proposed a collaborative dialogue involving the revenue agency, state government, and Igbo traders association to find a mutually beneficial resolution.

He emphasised that business growth and development would only be improved with a conducive environment.

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Kwara revenue office reacts

In response to the accusations, the Corporate Affairs Department of the KWIRS, acting on behalf of executive chairman Shade Omoniyi, stated that the revenue agency organised a mobile court on Friday to prosecute taxpayers who were unwilling to comply with tax regulations in the state, aiming to enforce tax compliance.

However, Chief Boniface Okeke, the President-General of the Igbo Community in Kwara State, has requested the state government to allow the reopening of shops belonging to their members.

He emphasised that Igbo community members consistently fulfil their tax obligations and suggested that the government communicate their concerns through the Igbo leadership rather than closing down their businesses.

Boniface expressed readiness to dialogue with the government to resolve the issue and pledged to uphold the peaceful relationship between the Igbo union and the state administration.

Economic hardship spreads to prisons as inmates protest over food

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In another report, Jos Correctional Centre’s inmates protested on Friday, March 1, over the move to reduce their food ration.

The inmates expressed dissatisfaction over the decision, a situation that forced the prison authorities to fire tear gas canisters and gunshots into the air to bring the situation under control.

The centre’s comptroller, Raphael Ibinuhi, confirmed the protest, attributing the food ration to the high cost of food items.


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