Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, on Thursday appeared before the Onitsha Office of the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service.
Obi was summoned by Nwakpudolu Juliet, the Chief Tax Officer Coordinating GRA Phase 2, Onitsha as a Senior Business Manager.
Our correspondent on another mission at the tax office was there when Obi entered with his Media Adviser, Valentine Obienyem.
Confirming the visit at the tax office amidst heavy downpour by 10am, Obi said he was summoned to appear before the tax office by 10am, hence he had to run from Lagos to Onitsha to meet up the appointment.
When probed on his feelings on the invitation, Obi said: “Nothing to worry.
“As a citizen, I can visit any office in the country, including those in my state, when I have issues to sort out.”
Obi commended the conduct of the Chief Tax Officer, who he said was polite and did her duties professionally and was shocked by the amount he pays as tax in Enugu State since Anambra State wrote him that he would not be given tax clearance in 2016.
Obi said he was asked to show his six years tax clearance, which this newspaper sighted.
The amount was approximately N205 million.
Obi said: “I am happy the professional way Juliet conducted herself.
“It was a first class conduct and this is the kind of person that every international organization should hire.
“I am sure she was not anticipating that I will come by the invitation of summon.
“But as a good citizen who knows the importance of taxation for government to operate, I honoured her summon.
“I wish other people can be like her in attending to clients and tax payers the professional way she attended to me.”
On tax evasion, Obi appealed to citizens to pay their taxes regularly, lamenting that those evading tax are shortchanging the people and government because government can only do great work for the masses when citizens pay tax.
He however appealed to government to ensure smaller businesses are not crippled by tax as over burdening of smaller businesses kills them.
He said wealthy people should be encouraged to pay taxes adequately.
Nwakpudolu, who confirmed the invitation, said her office requested to see evidence of payment of taxes in the last six years by the former Governor.
She said the government of Chief Willie Obiano had embarked on developmental programmes, hence the taxes are needed to support him, thus leading to the invitation of prominent citizens like Obi.
Obi came with evidence of payment for the last 20 years and left the assessor regretting that she would have easily met her N80 million target for the year if Obi had paid such huge amounts he paid yearly to her office rather than Enugu State.
Odogwu Emeka Odogwu