THE raging war between Bishop David Oyedepo and Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led Ogun State Government over the tax evasion, assault and detention of some officials of the State Internal Revenue Service by the church took a twist as ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo waded in to avert the clash of the titans.
Information available to ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that he held a closed door meeting with Bishop Oydepo and the amiable governor on Sunday, September 8, 2013, inside the Government House, Oke-Igbein at about 8.30 p.m. We learnt that Governor Amosun was taken aback by the brazen attitude of the ministry’s official at assaulting and detaining government officials who were on their legitimate assignment within Canaanland, Ota, Ogun State. A source revealed to us that the meeting which was heated up by the fact that the incident occurred twice in a week was partially resolved that the culprits who perpetrated the act be released to the law enforcement agency before legal actions can be revoked.
Pandemonium broke out in Bishop Oyedepo’s Canaanland, Ota, Ogun State on Thursday, September 5, 2013, when some church workers beat and detained five officials of the State Internal Revenue Service over N2 million tax owed the government by Kingdom Heritage Nursery School, between 2004 and 2010. We learnt that trouble began when some officials of IRS stormed the premises of Winners Chapel to collect the accumulated tax owed by the ministry’s school. According to chairman of IRS, Babajide Odubanjo, “The authorities of the school had been served the notice of the tax duty but they had been ignoring it. Sadly, the officials of the state ITS whose mission it was to enlighten the school on the compliance programme of the Revenue Service were violently assaulted and later unlawfully detained in the premises for hours. As a result of the incident, an officer of the State IRS is currently hospitalized in Ilaro while others with minor injuries have been treated and discharged. Also, a number of assets belonging to the commission were damaged beyond repair.”
Barely 24 hours after the ugly incident, the church was also accused of beating up two staffers of Ogun State Television, Peter Falomo and Lekan Egunjobi. They were assaulted and their camera damaged when they went to Canaanland to cover the service of building inspection notice by officials of the Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning. Aside them, two officials of the ministry were also injured by the irate church members who prevented the team from entering the premises. It was reported that the ugly incident was witnessed by Bishop Oyedepo, who was equally visibly angry by the officials attempt to carry out their statutory duties on his church premises. The injured journalists and other officials were treated at the General Hospital, Ota and subsequently discharged.”
When ENCOMIUM Weekly contacted Ogun State Commissioner for Information, Yusuph Olaniyonu on Friday, September 13, 2013, he confirmed the attack but declined comment on if the issue has been resolved by the ex-president.
“The government reiterates its commitment to its philosophy of one law for everyone in the state and that any harassment or intimidation of its officials and agents in the course of discharging their statutory duties will be seriously viewed. However, I can’t say anything on the issues of reconciliation because I don’t have the details yet.”
On Friday, September 13, 2013, we also contacted the school’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel, who declined to make any comment. “I have nothing to say. Please, send your enquiry via text.” We sent the text but there was no response as at press time.
– FEMI OYEWALE