• It’s not true, says FIRS
A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank said on Monday that recent closures of Intels belonging to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was a deliberate attempt by agencies of government to intimidate and truncate his perceived ambition to contest the 2019 Presidential elections.
Frank who is also the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party said if the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Nigeria Port Authority and Free Trade Zone authority just realized that Intels has not been paying its tax, it goes to show that those who manage the agencies were not fit to preside over such Organisations as they have failed to discharge their duty diligently.
In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, Frank said in carrying out their responsibilities, government agencies should realize that governance should not be reduced to a tool for witch hunting perceived political enemies, adding that the closure of the company was an act of intimidation coming from agents of the present government.
While asking government agencies to learn to follow due process in their dealings, Frank said those saddled with the responsibility of running government agencies should learn to tread carefully as the nation strive for a better country and democracy.
He said: “This is not the time to play politics with the issues of governance. Could it be another ploy to weaken Alhaji Atiku Abubakar ahead of his perceived ambition for 2019?
“The good news is that no matter what these agencies of government do, the prerogative and his decision to run for presidency come 2019 is his fundamental right and rightly so if he so desires.
“Nigeria, as it is today, has a lot going on and this latest brazen acts by government agencies is the least on the minds of Nigerians. We encourage government agencies to do their work but also take note that governance should not be reduced as a tool to witch hunting individuals, by playing petty politics.
“I see this as an intimidation coming from agencies of the government of the day on an innocent Nigerian. Atiku Abubakar has paid his dues for the party in particular and the country as a whole.
“We must not be cowed by these agencies of government who wants to turn themselves to political actors to gain favour from the government of the day. Today is Atiku, tomorrow it can be any other person and for this purpose, we must all stand against this impunity.
“How come FIRS just realized the non-payment of tax by intels? The export free zone just realized that intels are operating illegally. If the agencies just realized all these, it means they have shown total failure in discharging their duties.
“Let’s learn to follow due process. Let’s all tread carefully as we strive for a better country and democracy. My thoughts are that some political leaders who are afraid of his profile are hell-bent on truncating his perceived ambition are behind all these.
“I want to believe that the presidency is not aware of this overbearing and overzealousness on the part of these government agencies. By this, I plead with the presidency to promptly intervene on this matter appropriately in due course before it gets late.
“The act of the FIRS, NPA, and FTZ as agencies of government is and can be seen to be a calculated attempt to humiliate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. It is pertinent to note that in the history, since the establishment of Intels, no Central Government has ever brazenly persecuted ‘Intels’ like this present Government.
“Nigerians must rise up to any attempt of vilifying any individual in the guise of the overzealousness of government agencies.”
However, FIRS spokesman, Mr Wahab Gbadamosi told TheNewsMatrics that the company was not sealed.
He said the story was not true and that Intels was only served with a notice to comply with its tax obligations, which was routine.
“FIRS did not seal Intels. We only pasted a notice of tax compliance at the gate, this notice is served to companies to ensure they comply with Value Added Tax and Companies Income Tax obligations. We serve such notices all over the country, that is the mandate of FIRS. Intels case in not unique”, he explained