The Kogi State Government has explained that its letter to political parties, demanding for mandatory payment of signage fees and tax clearance for their candidates is in the interest of the public, and not an act of witch-hunting.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lokoja on Wednesday, the Acting Executive Director, Kogi Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS), Sule Salihu Enehe said contrary to the impression being created that the action was plotted by the state government and targeted at opposition political parties, it was done in the public interest.
He noted that the Act that empowered the Service on the mission was signed into law by Governor Yahaya Bello in September and insisted that it would be implemented to the letter. He said all political parties including the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC were served with the letter.
He, however, said the two weeks ultimatum issued for compliance with the letter starts counting from the date it was delivered and not when it was written, adding that parties which have misgivings about the letter are free to seek clarifications from the service.
Meanwhile, having been served the letter, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had raised on Tuesday raise alarm that KGIRS had written it requesting for payment of 37.5million Naira before it is allowed to display billboard and posters of its candidates in the ongoing electioneering campaigns.
In a statement, the party’s Director of Media and Communications, Comrade Dayo Onibiyo, the PDP described the move as political hostility.
“The party refers to the letter captioned ‘Demand Notice of N37.5m on Signage Fee for Your Party’s Campaign Posters Across Kogi State’ with reference number KGIRS/MDA/Vol. 13/13095, dated 24th October, 2022.
“The APC government under Yahaya Bello in the state slammed this figure on the PDP, through a letter dated 24th October, 2022 which the party received today, the 8th of November, 2022. The state government issued a notice of fourteen (14) days as ultimatum for such payments to be made and went ahead to threaten legal action against the party, as signed by Sule Salihu Enehe, the acting Executive Chairman for Kogi Internal Revenue Services, KGIRS,” the party said.
Also, reacting to the development, the PDP candidate for Kogi Central Senatorial District, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan accused Yahaya Bello of devising different ploys to frustrate her campaign following her growing popularity in the State.
“They (Yahaya Bello-led government) want to stop us from campaigning. Without tax clearance, no PDP candidate will campaign. It’s a ploy to frustrate my campaign in Kogi,” she told newsmen on Tuesday.
Kogi governor and Akpoti-Uduaghan have been in the news in recent times following their political differences. The former had earlier alleged the PDP senatorial candidate was the one sponsoring terrorism in the State, an allegation the latter denied on several occasions.