By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
A former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike, has been arrested and detained over alleged tax evasion and economic sabotage.
Onyike was arrested on Tuesday by men of the Nigerian Police Force and detained for hours at the Ebonyi State Police Command Headquarters in Abakaliki.
A petition was reportedly written to the Police in the state, alleging that the former Information Commissioner had refused to pay his tenement rate and other payable taxes to the state government.
Confirming the arrest to journalists, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha, said the government would not only arrest him but also ensure that he was prosecuted.
He said, “Yes, this Office, Ministry of Internal Security and Border Peace, wrote that petition, because it’s part of our duty to enforce the law.
“Tenement rate is what we petitioned him again and tax evasion. This is because we can’t be pursuing the common people in the state and those big men won’t be made to equally pay it.”
The former Commissioner also said “I was arrested and detained for hours for unjust reasons. The idea is to silence me from exposing the ills of the current administration in the state.
“Yes, I was detained for hours. Why? They said I have not paid the tenement rate; they equally said I have not been paying taxes. This is arrant nonsense because I have all my papers to prove I have been paying all these things.
“I retired in 2014 and since then I have been paying. I am a pensioner now and you don’t tax pensioners. I know why I’m being persecuted”, he said.