….says ALGON/NULGE Task Force Illegal
Contrary to publications circulating in the media to the effect that President of the League of Confederations and Forum of Mobile Advert Practitioners of Nigeria, Otunba Mike Osimen Eboziegbe, was arrested, the leadership of the association has come out to deny and rebuff the purported arrest of its President by the police.
The League of Confederations and Forum of Mobile Advert Practitioners is a registered and the umbrella body for all consultants collecting vehicular revenues for government both at the 774 local and state government levels.
Recall that National Task Force Commander of Joint Mobile Sanitation Agency of Nigeria (JOMSAN), Chief Martins Njoku, in a chat with reporters in Abuja, had claimed that the said Otunba Mike was arrested “for allegedly leading a team that harasses as well as extort money from motorists through introduction of strange levies not backed by law.”
Briefing journalists earlier, in Abuja, the National Task Force Commander of Joint Mobile Sanitation Agency of Nigeria (JOMSAN), Chief Njoku had said that JOMSAN was the only body engaged by Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) as Consultant/Coordinators to help eradicate touting and multiplicity of vehicular taxes and levies imposed by Local Governments.
While briefing journalists, in Abuja, the National Task Force Commander of Joint Mobile Sanitation Agency of Nigeria (JOMSAN), Chief Martins Njoku, had claimed that Otunba Mike was arrested by men of the Inspector General of Police’s team, following a petition against him and his team by JOMSAN.
However, in a swift reaction, Otunba Mike, while addressing journalists in Lagos, on Monday, accused Martin Njoku and Toyin Smith of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of perverting the course of justice, illegality and extortion.
He denied being arrested by the police, adding his association had, in June 2020, written a petition to the Inspector General of Police intimating him of the alleged illegal activities of ALGON/NULGE Task Force allegedly led by Smith, a Supervisor at Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Council.
Otunba Mike also alleged that Smith and Njoku were collecting vehicular taxes and dues, claiming they got the directives from the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
According to Otunba Mike, “ALGON wrote to Joint Tax Board, JTB, in 2011 seeking a positional statement as to ALGON forming a body for local government operation on vehicular revenue collection.
“JTB in response wrote to ALGON stating they(ALGON) do not have powers over the collection of taxes even as relates to vehicular taxes.
“In 2016, there were complaints from people saying they were seeing ALGON officials stopping and impounding vehicles for vehicular taxes.
“JTB again wrote ALGON and warned they do not have powers to collect any tax or form themselves into tax institution which ended ALGON’s insistence on trying to regulate vehicular taxes,” Otunba Mike said.
“But these people (Smith and Njoku) are claiming they have ALGON mandates to collect vehicular dues. Such could not have been possible when ALGON itself does not have the mandate to collect such taxes or direct an association to collect on its behalf.
“We discovered Smith, who is a Supervisor at Oshodi Isolo local government and his people were impounding vehicles and motorcycles and took them to the local government. We asked them why they were doing it and they claim they have ALGON mandates.
“They started terrosising our members and taken them to police stations. That was why on June 6, 2020, we wrote to the Inspector General of Police, IG on their illegal operation.
“The petition was titled, ‘Report of lawlessness, criminal intimidation, unlawful blockage of government road, criminal extortion running into several millions of Naira and brigandage endangering lives and properties of road users in different parts of Lagos,’ and was written against Joy Oluwatoyin Smith, Martin Njoku and one Tunde Advert (ALGON Task Force) for road blocks at Oshodi, Festac, Eti-Osa, Ajah, Aguda, Ikotun, and Ikorodu.”
“The IG responded and wrote a letter dated July 3, 2020, signed by DCP Idowu Owohunwa directing the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2, Onikan to investigate the matter.
“They were invited and investigation was carried out. Upon investigation, they were to be arrested last week Friday and taken to court but they quickly ran to the.press claiming I was arrested.
“We have asked them to come with their facts but they couldn’t. They ran to Abuja and have been running around since then,” Otunba Mike further stated.
He also accused the leadership of ALGON/NULGE Task Force of negative campaign against his personality and the association, and urged his members to remain calm amid provocation.
He continued, “They are just trying to evade justice. They know what they are doing is illegal. They are the ones impounding vehicles on the road.
“If you go to Oshodi Isolo local government, you will see some vehicles and motorcycles they have impounded illegally. They do not have the mandate to operate. They are ilegal. I was never attested. I have asked our members to remain calm while we continue to make efforts to ensure they are brought to books,” he said.