by crossriverwatch admin
The Cross River State Board of Internal Revenue Service has shut down the Federal College of Education Obudu for defaulting in tax remittance to the Cross River State Government.
The closure was effected by agents of the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service in line with a High Court ruling presided over by Justice Abua in a Suit filed by the State Government accusing the College of defaulting in its civil obligation to the state.
The ruling which came on the 7th of December 2012 gave the management of the college a 120-day ultimatum to pay its tax indebtedness or face sanction and with the ultimatum reportedly expiring on April 7, the state Government gave the school another five days grace before moving in on the 12th of April to seal up the school.
The school which resumed from the Easter break on Wednesday last week had its main gate sealed with a tape by operations staff of the Internal Revenue service, the next day, Thursday with security operatives which include armed mobile policemen, Soldiers and men of Civil Defense Corps cordoning off the school premises to stop any academic or administrative activity from taking place in the college.
Mr Greg Okem, the Director of Legal Services in the Board of Internal Revenue Service in Calabar told crossriverwatch that the school is indebted to the state government in tax remittances to the tune of N580 million deducted from both academic and non academic staff of the school in the past seven years.
“We have been on this for a long time now and the people do not seem to be interested in paying the money which they have long deducted from their staff”.
He said the school had not remitted taxes deducted in the past seven years to government that accounts for the accumulation of the money to the staggering sum of N580 million which the school is finding difficult to pay. “They have allowed the money to accumulate for a long time and that accounts for their finding it difficult to pay”.
What led to high accumulation of the tax, was said to be connected with the school’s management declaration that it will only remit taxes to the federal government rather than the state, as the taxes imposed by the state were said to be excessively high which had crippling effect on its finances’
The Senate of the school was said to have commenced the process of challenging the action of the state Government, as it has reportedly consulted lawyers to file an appeal on the matter before the school was shut last week.
Efforts to speak with Chief Eugene Ibli, the Provost of the College was unsuccessful as his GSM handset was switched off but a source at the college which would prefer anonymity said the school authorities should be held responsible for whatever happens to the academic activities in the school because “they have collected this money from us but converted it to another use forgetting that no matter how long it takes, the government would one day ask for their money and that is what has happened.
The Information Officer of College Mr. Justine Egba confirmed the incident, saying they were still discussing with the state Government to allow them continue with academic activity.
Meanwhile students who reported on the day of resumption were asked to vacate the school while those who went back during the weekend and on Monday met the school gates sealed and had to return to their homes to wait till when the school and government would reach a compromise and the school reopened.
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