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After Ripples Nigeria award-winning story, Wike suspends LG chairman over illegal tax collection

INVESTIGATION... Thugs rule in Rivers markets, force multiple illegal taxes on petty traders, as govt feigns ignorance

Soon after an investigative story by Ripples Nigeria on how thugs in Rivers State are used by local governments in Port Harcourt to harass, and collect illegal taxes from small businesses, Governor Nyesome Wike has suspended the Chairman of Port Harcourt local government area, Hon. Victor Ihunwo for illegal tax collection.

Wike also suspended taxes for SMEs including shop owners and hairdressers in Rivers State for the year 2020. He directed traders at the Ogbum-nu-Abali Fruit Garden Market not to have any dealing with anyone who claims to be acting on behalf of Port Harcourt Local Government Area.

A statement issued by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said the state government also removed JAAC Accounts from all the Banks that gave loans to some Local Government Councils without the authorisation of the State.

Read also: INVESTIGATION… Thugs rule in Rivers markets, force multiple illegal taxes on petty traders, as govt feigns ignorance

In July 2019, investigative freelance journalist Kelechukwu Iruoma visited six popular markets in Port Harcourt, including the Ogbum-nu-Abali fruit market and exposed thugs who forcefully harassed and collected illegal taxes from small businesses.

The report funded by the ICIR captured on camera how the illegal tax collections had become a stumbling block to local businesses in the state.

The report also won the 2019 tax reporting category of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Media Excellence Awards.

By Kelechukwu Iruoma…

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