Mechanics, Delta Council at war over revenue drive

The financial crisis rocking the nation occasioned by the falling oil price has pitched revenue officers in Isoko North Local Government Area with the executives of the National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) over revenue payment to upgrade the financial base of the local government council in Delta State.
Officials of the Automobile Association in the council area have refused to pay the prescribed revenue to the council, citing the unwillingness of the local council authorities to build a mechanic village for their members while the council has continued collecting revenue from the mechanics over the years.
The crisis rose to a peak weekend when the council revenue officials dragged the mechanics to the state revenue court located in the area to compel them to pay their levy to the council revenue coffers.
In two separate letters forwarded to the mechanic association by the council revenue authorities and obtained by our correspondent, the local government demanded the mechanics to pay the prescribed fee of N3000
within 14 days or face legal action.
But counsel to the mechanics in the state, Barrister Dave Eluemunor, said the threat issued to his clients by the council was an empty threat as he faulted what the local government called tenement rate extension, upholstery fees and others, saying “we are going to object frankly to this type of practice. They are trying to intimidate our people but it cannot work.
“We will fight it to the Supreme Court. What they are claiming is small but we will fight it to the Supreme Court. The demand notice mentioned account number but they did not even state account number but they only put their phone number so that we can call them.”
Delta State Chairman of the Automobile Association, Ifeanyi Abanum, told that the issue has gone out of hand as council officials have continued to threaten and intimidate his people over revenue payment to local government councils in the state
He demanded governments to build mechanic villages for the mechanics as that is the only condition for their members to pay revenue to the councils in the state.
Abanum said: “this issue is becoming a serious problem for automobile technicians. Local government is always disturbing our people, confiscating their tools and wanting them to come and beg them every time.
“They should give us a mechanic village. Those people using the market are paying for the market stores, our people are working at the roadside and they are disturbing them for revenue. We cannot pay again because the money we have paid for many years has not been used to develop a mechanic village for us.
“We can no longer accept government collecting money from us, poor technicians who are striving to live a simple life. We don’t want intimidation from any council. If the council builds us a mechanic village, then we will pay revenue to the council.”
The substantive suit filed by the council revenue authorities has been tentatively fixed for hearing on July 13, 2016 at the Delta State Revenue in Ozoro, headquarters of the Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State.
It could be recalled that for the past 10 months, council workers in the state have not been paid salaries, hence authorities of local councils are employing every available opportunity to raise funds to finance the administration of the local government councils.

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