The Cross River Anti-Tax Enforcement Team, on Monday began its operation in Calabar with the arrest of 12 suspected illegal tax collectors.
Ani Essien, a Special Adviser on Security to the Governor who led the team, said the enforcement became necessary to ensure total compliance with government directive on tax exemption in the state.
The Governor Ben Ayade-led administration recently issued an order tax exemption for the poor in the state.
“On the order of the governor, we decided to comb the streets of Calabar metropolis to effect arrest of those engaging in illegal sales of tickets, collection of tolls and taxes from the poor citizens.
“The governor had exempted a category of citizens from paying tax, but the government is disappointed that some people are still collecting taxes and illegal tolls from low income earners.
“So our department, the Special Services, in collaboration with Anti Tax Agency, went to the street to clean it up of illegal taxation.
“It is going to be a continual exercise, knowing that these illegal operators come out in the morning, afternoon and evening.
“So far, we have arrested about 12 of them and they will be arraigned before a special court for prosecution.
“Already, there is a law against it which makes provision for the prosecution of the suspects. All we need to do is to trigger it and the sitting of the special court will commence soon,” he said.
Also, speaking, Bishop Emmah Isong, the Chairman of the agency, said the enforcement team was set up to arrest those still flaunting government’s order on illegal tolls.
“Those arrested will not escape the arm of the law and are going to be immediately prosecuted at the special court,” he said.
Isong enjoined the people to go about their lawful businesses and report to the agency, anybody found selling tickets, collecting taxes from commercial motorcyclists and taxi drivers or other low income earners.
The enforcement team also included representatives of the Police, other security operatives and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others.