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SHOCKING: Gun-Wielding Tax Enforcing Thugs Chase Away Pupils From Anambra School

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It was a pitiable sight at Kings Planet International School, Awka last week when the pupils and toddlers cried uncontrollably on sighting guns wielded by security operatives who accompanied officials of the Anambra State Advertising and Signage Agency, ANSAA,  to enforce non payment of signage fee by the school.

During the invasion, the revenue agents dragged the children out of their classrooms in an attempt to seal the school for allegedly owing the state government N100,000 for mounting the school’s signboard that directs people to the school.

Parents who got wind of the development stormed the school and hurriedly evacuated their children. Since then, some of the parents have not brought back their children to the school, citing insecurity.

A teaching staff in the school, Modesta Odo, who narrated their ordeal to Saturday Vanguard described what happened in the school as terrifying.

Odo said: “It was very terrifying to see the armed men move into the compound in a commando manner. Immediately we saw them, our manager got in touch with our director to talk with them, but they were more interested in frightening everyone present.

“They moved into the classrooms and were dragging the children out and telling them that they wanted to close down the school. While I asked the teachers to close the classrooms so that the children would not see the guns, they were busy dragging them out and holding the gun on their other hand.

“All the people that came were men, with some wearing police and civil defence uniforms, and on sighting them, the children started crying.

“In this school, we have four month- old babies and all of them were crying. Despite our plea for them to just seal the school and leave the children alone, they kept on dragging them out. It was a sorry situation seeing the children running and crying.

”They even ensured that our CCTV cameras were disabled and they prevented us from putting on the generating set to power the CCTV. When I tried to record the incident with my phone, they snatched it from me and deleted everything in it. If they were carrying out a legal activity, why were they afraid of being recorded?”

 According to Odo, the people who attacked the school came in a bus and insisted that the school must pay what it was owing the state government before they would leave, adding that “one of them even brought his Point of Sale, POS, machine with which we withdrew money from and paid them. They collected cash of N25,000 while N50,000 was paid into an account they gave us”.

She added: “It was unheard of that people should enter a school premises with arms and physically drag children out of their classes because they wanted to collect government revenue. The question is, will they do this where their own children are schooling?” It was not as if we did not want to pay, but the issue was to know the actual amount the school was to pay”.

Emmanuel Emeka, the assistant manager of the school, explained that ANSAA had earlier slammed N100,000 charge on the school for four billboards, whereas the school has only one signboard, while another N50,000 was imposed as a penalty.

Emeka said: “What happened was that they came and said that Kings Planet was supposed to pay N100,000 for four signboards. Knowing that we didn’t have up to four signboards, we told them to cross check and they assured us that they would investigate and get back to us.

“Our director even had to place a call to the agency to find out if they had cross checked. The director of ANSAA told him that he would get back to him and that was where the whole thing was.

“We were waiting to hear from them only for officials of the agency to come with some police officers and Civil Defence operatives.”

 Reacting on the allegation by the school, the Managing Director/CEO of the agency, Mr. Odili UjubuoEu said the school had paid N100,000 into the account of the state government.

“Payment was received by the Anambra Internal Revenue Service, AIRS. ANSAA doesn’t receive payment”, Ujubuonu said.

He also said that there is government POS which the enforcers go with and admitted that payment was made into the POS by officials of the school.

Source: Vanguard

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