According to a report by Vanguard, a mob of fake revenue collectors yesterday attacked the Executive Chairman of Benue Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, Mr. Andy Ayabam, and his team with cutlasses, axes, sticks, and other dangerous weapons at Agan, a Makurdi outskirts community on Makurdi-Lafia road.
Vanguard reports that the Chairman narrowly escaped death when he ran into the barricade mounted by the revenue syndicate who for long-established a collection point in the community compelling motorists to pay illegal taxes to them.
When his team tried to arrest the fake revenue officials they were attacked by the gang who damaged his official cars and chased them with dangerous weapons threatening to kill the Chairman.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Ayabam said, “I was on my way out of town this afternoon when I ran into an unusual traffic jam that held up many trucks, very close to the old Agan toll gate in the outskirts of Makurdi town.
“And this is a place that has been on our radar being a point for illegal revenue operators. When we got there, the motorists who were being held by these fake operators identified the person who collected money from them.
“We arrested him with his motorbike. Then the same drivers led the police that were with me to another small hut where one of them was hiding.
“As we got there a lot of young men came out from nowhere with axes, cutlasses, stones, and sticks and started chasing us. They aimed at me saying that they will kill me. I had to run for my life.
“We ran towards the Lafia end of the road. They succeeded in taking away the motorbike that we had impounded but we managed to run with the person we apprehended.
“We called the police for reinforcement which came to our rescue. They successfully brought us back to Makurdi. We also succeeded in arresting more suspects who were taken to the State Police Command Headquarters.”
“The people have been carrying out that act of extorting motorists for some time now and we have been receiving complaints about that particular point.
“In fact, one of those we arrested was flashing an identification card claiming that he works for a revenue agent we do not know. All they do is illegal, they operate there normally in the night and early hours of the day. Sometimes if a motorist fails to give them the amount they demand, they will be held hostage until the money is transferred to them.
“This was what they did to the trucks they held in the early hours of the morning till about 1:30 pm when we got there,” he added.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene was unsuccessful.