Soldiers threaten to shoot FIRS officials over sealed hotel

The enforcement taskforce of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has sealed off seven out of the 16 companies owing taxes of over N110million in Plateau State.

Among the defaulting companies are a borehole drilling company and a night club.

However, the taskforce met stiff resistance from the military Special Taskforce on Jos crisis, STF, while closing down the Hillstation Hotel.

The STF, who were armed, threatened to open fire on the FIRS taskforce and tore off the sealed notice on the gates of the hotel.

It was gathered that some of the senior officers of the STF lived in the hotel, while the premises served as a parking lot for the STF.

Hillstation Hotel is adjacent to the headquarters of the STF.

The STF insisted that the FIRS taskforce handover the keys of the hotel. The FIRS, however, warned that the hotel should not be opened for business and locked major halls of the hotel

Meanwhile, the assistant director Tax Controller, Udo Monday, said the exercise was a nationwide enforcement, insisting that defaulting companies must comply.

He said 16 organizations in Plateau State defaulted in payments of over N110 million.

“Our counterpart in Sokoto sealed off 20 companies yesterday (Monday),” he said. “Federal government needs money to carry out its mandate.”

The staff of the Hillstation Hotel, who spoke with reporters, revealed that the management of the hotel was owing 17 months salaries.

The action of the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS disrupted an ongoing workshop of Plateau Peace Practioners holding at the hotel, as guests had to vacate immediately.

Other companies sealed included Lomonde Hotel, Magnum night club, Goodlife Restaurant, Frenzy Suite & Lounge, Ken Palace, Anderson Drilling Nigeria Limited, a borehole and water engineering company and Dadinkowa Micro Finance Bank.

The micro finance bank was allegedly owing more than N20 million. Lamonde Hotel owed about N8.5 million. All the hotels sealed were in Jos north local government area.

A senior staff of the Lamonde hotel said the management of the hotel paid N1.5 million into the account of the FIRS on Tuesday, but the taskforce insisted on locking up the hotel.

The officials of the FIRS insisted that the payment must be more than half of the amount owed before the hotel was reopened.

“N1.5 million is too meagre considering what Lamonde is owing,” it said.

The managing director, Dadinkowa Micro Finance Bank, Jeremiah Jatau, who addressed journalists through the window shortly after the bank was sealed off by the taskforce, said the bank had not defaulted.

According to him, the bank had pending issues with the FIRS but not payment of taxes.

It was learnt that a security man at the Anderson Drilling Nigeria Limited had not be paid his N7, 000 monthly salary for 14 years due to bad business.

An executive of the company explained that he could not afford the N300, 000 in taxes.

The FIRS taskforce said the affected organizations would be sued at the Tax Appeal Tribunal if they reopened their businesses without adequate permission.

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