Ogun Revenue Service, TRACE, Parking Agency in financial scandal

Estimated reading time: 22 minute(s)

…motorists, residents groan as car dealers turn roads to car ports

Sodiq Ojuroungbe

The Ogun state Internal Revenue Service, the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps and the state Parking Managment Scheme have been indicted by some roadside car dealers of allegedly collecting unremmitted fee from them so as to allow them display their cars on the government roads.

The car dealers who spoke with PLATFORM TIMES accused the agencies of collecting both weekly and monthly fees that have no receipts from them.

They claimed that while the TRACE collects N20,000 monthly from individual car dealers, the Parking Control agency always collects N5,000 weekly so that they can display their vehicles on the roadside.

The car dealers further alleged that the officials of OGIRS usually collect monthly tax that has no receipt from them as registered dealers in the state.

They insisted that some portions on the major roads have been allegedly given to them by the government agencies so that they can run their businesses.

PLATFORM TIMES observed that many of the major roads in Abeokuta metropolis have become car ports for tje dealers.

The roads include Pasenke, Oke-Ilewo-Ibara, Isale-Igbein, Grammar school, Idi-Aba, Abiola-way, Ita-Eko, Lafenwa and Ita-Oshin.

When our reporter visited some of the the roads, it was observed that the car dealers have taken over half of the four-lane roads.

PLATFORM TIMES also observed that the indiscriminate parking always causes artificial traffics in the affected areas.

It was further observed that many of the roads both left and right have also become dumping grounds for some motorists.

When our reporter got to Isale-Igbein area, it was observed that while those selling spare parts take a whole lane for their businesses, the car dealers also occupy two lanes out of the four lanes for display of their vehicles.

PLATFORM TIMES also observed that there is always heavy traffic in the evening at the area because a narrow lane was left for the road users.

Investigation conducted by PLATFORM TIMES revealed that accidents always occurred on the road because of the obstruction from the car dealers and spare parts sellers in the areas.

When our reporter went to Oke-Ilewo-Ibara, it was discovered that the cars by phone sellers in the area always occupied a lane of the road, while the vehicles displayed for sale also take another lane.

Our reporter observed that the people in the computer village popularly called ‘Tamac’ have abandoned the parking space provided for them and have turned the government road to a garage and parking lot.

Other places like Grammar school, Idi-Aba, Panseke, Abiola way, Ita-Eko, Lafenwa and Ita-Oshin that were visited by PLATFORM TIMES revealed that the car dealers have taken over the major roads in the state.

When our reporter approached some of them to know why they sell cars on roads, they claimed that they are paying the government for the space being occupied.

The roadside car dealers maintained that they will continue to display their wares on the government roads.

A car dealer identified as Wasiu Olaleye said the government does not have right to arrest them because they are ‘settling’ them.

Olaleye alleged that the money they are paying to the government officials does not have receipt.

He said, “Why will the government take over our cars when we are greasing their palms both weekly and monthly.

“We are paying the TRACE, IRS, and the parking control agency weekly and monthly.

“The money we are paying them is for them to allow us to display our vehicle on the road sides.

“They cannot do anything for us because we have bribed them and nothing will be done to us.”

Also a car seller simply identified as Ajala stressed that the government agencies cannot do anything because they are collecting money from them.

He added, “yes, we are displaying our vehicles on the road side, but how many times have we been arrested?.

“Those that are supposed to do something on it are getting something from us weekly and monthly.

“Do you think we just have the effrontery of parking our cars on the road side if we are not paying some people that are supposed to implement the law.”

Corroborating Ajala’ comment , another car dealer who pleaded anonymity said, “Government cannot do anything because this is our own show room and they cannot say they are not collecting anything from us at the end of the month.

“It will be irresponsible of them to say they want to tow our vehicles when we are paying them for the space we are putting our vehicles”.

Meanwhile, residents and motorists have expressed concern over the state of roads especially in Abeokuta metropolis.

The residents lamented that car dealers have turned the government roads to car ports and have made transportation become hell for road users.

They stressed that the turning of roads to car ports have led to artificial traffic and avoidable accidents on some of the government roads.

A resident, Tajudeen Adeola appealed to the government to come to their aid in making sure that the roads are free from abandoned cars.

Adeola said, “roads in Abeokuta are very big, but car dealers have turned it to narrow paths by using their display vehicles to occupy spaces meant for road users.

“The government needs to do something on it, it is becoming unbearable.

“Unnecessary traffic and accidents on the roads that we are supposed to move freely on them. There is work for government.”

Also a motorist, Sola Ogundipe accused the government agencies of neglecting their duties.

He said, “I don’t know the problem of the government agencies especially the parking control.

“What they know how to do is to chained vehicles of innocent people. Those vehicles are displayed there, and they cannot do anything.

“Why can’t they go there and tow some of these cars. It does not make sense that our roads have been taken over by car dealers.

“The government need to do something, they should not let the common man continue suffering on this road.”

When contacted the TRACE Public Relations Officer, Babatunde Akinbiyi said the traffic control corps is currently reviewing the issue at its management meeting.

According to Akinbiyi, the agency has set up a task force team to sensitize the automobile sellers on the need to vacate those vehicles on the roads.

He said, “we are on top of the situation, as the issue has been brought to our notice, so, we are already reviewing it at our management meeting.

“We have set up a task force team to give them last warning on vacating their vehicles within this week, but if they continue to default, we won’t hesitate to tow away those vehicles.”

On the alleged space allocation payment to TRACE, Akinbiyi denied collecting bribe from the car dealers so that they can use the road side as show room.

The TRACE PRO debunked the allegation, saying it is fallacy and untrue.

He added that, the traffic agency cannot encourage indiscriminate parking on the major roads to the detriment of the road users.

“Let them show you receipt of the payment if truly their claims are genuine.

“We cannot be intimidated, we shall give them the benefit of doubt to relocate their vehicles.”

When contacted, the Chief Operating Officer, Ogun State Parking Management Scheme, Engr. Wale Yusuf described the N5000 payment allegation as untrue.

He also challenged the roadside automobile dealers to provide evidence of payment.

Engr. Yusuf who frowned at the indiscriminate parking by the dealers, assured that the state government would work out modalities in curbing the menace.

Meanwhile, the OGIRS has accused the Parking Management Scheme of lacking in its responsibility.

A staff of the IRS who preferred anonymity claimed both TRACE and Parking Control ought to have taken away those cars off the roads.

He noted that the revenue service is only responsible for registering car dealers with corporate show room.

He said, “we are aware of the situation, but it is not our responsibility to hold them responsible.

“We are not collecting money from them because we didn’t authorised it.

“Before you can be a registered car dealer under us, you must have an organised show room.

“It is the responsibility of Ogun State Parking Management Scheme to enforce decency and control traffic on the roads not the duty of Internal Revenue.”

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