A bloody clash on Wednesday at Abakpa Main Market in Ebonyo State left one unidentified person dead. The person was allegedly killed by the task force working for the state government for an alleged refusal to pay taxes to the government.
The market is located at the centre of the state capital, near Abacha roundabout.
The bloody clash started when some prominent personalities working for the state government took taskforce agents into the market and sealed about seven (7) shops belonging to some persons believed to have refused to pay income tax to the state government.
It was gathered that the victim tried to stop the task force from sealing his shop inherited from his father, but the taskforce warded off his actions, resulting in his collapse.
Investigation revealed that the victim recently returned from the hospital where he underwent a surgical operation.
It was equally learned that the victim was one of the people that took the government to court for double taxation, however, the reason for taking the government to court according to them, was that some of them had already paid their income tax to the chairman of the market, but was removed by the state government for alleged embezzlement of over N57 million.
Some of the market owners who spoke to journalists off record accused the government of using police to harness, assault, arrest and injured many of their members.
In a swift reaction, the commissioner for Internal Security, Stanley Okoro admitted taking some government approved taskforce to the market to enforce the payment taxes to the state government, but denied knowledge of eruption of crisis.
“There are some people which very soon, we will come out with their full list who refused to pay taxes to the state government.
” There have been cases of burglary in that market, and we discovered that hoodlums go into some of the shops there at night and sleep, after which they will cart away goods.
“On our investigation, we discovered those shops, then we go out there to seal them. I don’t think that thugs coursed any crisis. I went there myself only to seal those shops but if there is crisis after sealing it, I do not know about it.
“We sealed only five shops. For people saying that the market was closed down, is wrong. I tell you, I still have the keys to those shops with me now.
“Again, We sealed the shops because they did not pay their Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, to the government and secondly, the shops were used to harbour hoodlums,” he stated.
Credit: Daily Post