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Monday, 7 November 2011


Long before Miss Chimamanda Adichie, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – produced literary prodigy wrote her third book titled “the thing around your neck”, the theme of taxation and its inter-connectedness with human rights dominated discussion even among uninformed minds in Nigeria.

Adichie’s beautiful work of scholarship did not specifically talk about taxation but rather dwelt on some basic questions around the fundamental issue of social justice and equity. This great female writer, who is following the footprints of one of the World’s best known literary icons Professor Chinua Achebe, used her third book to also talk about the growing trend of lesbianism and same sex sexual orientation which has gained currency or should I say notoriety in the developed Western World.

In those early 1980’s, surely before the irrepressible novelist Miss. Chimaamanda Adichie was born, most traders and other artisans were so much scared of tax collectors so much so that they usually run as fast as possible to escape been caught by these council officials who collect taxes.

Today, I have elected to dwell on ‘the thing about taxation’ with a mindset that transparent and accountable revenue generation mechanisms when adopted by Government officials will surely lift the greatest number of our people to their better selves and will inevitably make Nigeria a true home for all whereby the basic necessities of life will be made affordable and available.

It was perhaps in line with this thinking, that a quarter of a century ago, a group of high achievers in the diverse fields of the private sector with the blessing of the federal government commenced a national platform that was built to liberalize the generation of revenues and other forms of taxation for the purposes of developing the various tiers of government in Nigeria.

Under the aegis of mobile advert association of Nigeria (MOAN) these group of Nigerians set out to contribute greatly towards making payment of certain categories of taxation much easier and to ensure that transparency, accountability and anti-corruption become the watchwords of those who collect taxes in order to motivate the tax payers to become useful members of the society and by so doing promote human rights, social justice, rural development and respect for the Rule of law by all irrespective of social status.

When on Friday the first week in November of this year when the strong executive council of this body inaugurated the year 2012 new certificate clearance, it was an auspicious opportunity for brainstorming by all critical stakeholders and leaders of the major segments of the general society including the media, organized civil society and governments officials.

At the end of the public forum in Abuja which was described as a defining moment in the life of the association’s drive to make the payment of tax by Nigerians easier and transparent, the group unveiled broad based blueprint on strategies for engagement in partnership with all stake holders to promote the anti-graft program of the current administration just as the group also issued strong worded statement of commitment to the media.

The statement was endorsed jointly by the national President, Otumba John Obriba; Vice president, Alhaji Abubakar Ndarani, Director General, joint mobile Sanitation Agency (JAMSA) Mr. Samuel Ele Asebe; Secretary General Mr. Christopher Egbobor; National Treasurer, Alhaji Aminu Yunusa and National publicity secretary Alhaji Tijani G. Shariff.  

It said it has worked out an elaborate plan to drag notorious tax evaders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt practices and other related offences commission.

The Mobile Advert Association of Nigeria in a statement made available to journalists stated thus; “The association stands to fight against double collection and multiple collection of taxes especially on our roads and 774 local government areas all over the federation. Therefore, the multinational and indigenous companies must also join us to fight this cause by paying their taxes and levies to their areas of jurisdiction without fear or favour from any quarters.”

On the achievements of the body, the statement noted thus; “Apart from achieving uniformity and eradicating multiple taxation, we have also succeeded in creating employment opportunities for our youths; just as the group raised alarm of surreptitious moves to undermine the organization by fifth columnists.

Well stated, but my take on all these is that officials who collect taxes from the citizens must respect their fundamental human rights of human dignity and also government officials must ensure that transparency in the deployment of revenues for development of the nation, remains the thing about taxation.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human rights writers association of Nigeria and writes from Abuja.


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