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No ‘weaponizing’ ethnicity to escape tax obligations, says Igbo traders in Nigeria’s Kwara

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Igbo traders in north central state of Kwara, Nigeria, have debunked claims that they are playing the ethnic victim card to escape tax obligations in their host community in statement made by the tribal community leader in Ilorin, the state capital.

 

Rather, the traders in a statement signed by Igwebuike Chigozie Angus Esq., second vice president, Igbo Community Association, Kwara State, ICAK, explained that tax is an obligation every Igbo man doing business anywhere understands that must be fulfilled for the growth of his business and his community.

 

Angus also doubles as Special Assistant, Inter-Community Relations to the state governor, Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq.

 

On 1, March, the state’s tax agency, Kwara Internal Revenue Service, KWIRS, moved against businesses of some traders in the state capital asking them to pay taxes retroactively from 2016 to 2023.

 

This is despite documented evidence that the traders paid the said taxes.

 

Two shops, Chuppet and Top Biz were shut down by the state’s revenue court without as much the benefit of fair hearing.

 

Sponsored xenophobic articles surfaced in state’s social media alleging that the Igbos have cornered the state’s economy.

 

This was despite efforts by top government functionaries in Kwara and Igbo community leaders to salvage the situation after major uproars from the traders and others sympathetic to their plight.

 

More or less, the tax officers had proven largely ignorant of the Igbo Apprentice System, IAS, a Harvard University reviewed business model reportedly being studied by China, Zimbabwe and other countries as model of starting up SMEs.

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But reacting to claims against the traders, Angus clarifies that such claims are incorrect and that the Igbo community in Kwara State values their relationship with the government and is committed to abiding by tax obligations.

 

The payment of taxes is viewed as a mandatory duty that must be fulfilled, and there are no objections to this obligation, said Angus.

 

“Contrary to the rumors circulating, the relationship between Igbo traders and the Kwara State Government has been characterized by cooperation and mutual respect.

 

“In fact, the Kwara State Government previously recognized the Igbo community with an award for being the Most Responsive Association in Kwara State in terms of tax compliance,” the Igbo community said.

 

Igbos are highly itinerant group with spread in the entire West African sub region where they paly key roles in the countries’ economies.

 

 

 


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