· Factions fight over DOAS, AMAC
The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, are divided over the issue of revenue collection in the Federal Capital Territory, as the national and zonal heads of the association back different tier of government on collection of revenue from signage and outdoor advertisement.
While the National Vice President of the NANS, Victor Ezanagu, believes that the responsibility of regulating adverts and signage practices should be left to the FCT Administration, the leadership of the North Central Zone insists that the role should be handled by area councils as is applicable in most states.
The FCT Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS, and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, have been at loggerhead over rights to revenue collection, with businesses being at the receiving end of their disagreement.
The Abuja Inquirer in January reported that fraudsters and touts had hijack revenue collection in the territory, following the failure to reach an agreement on best practices for seamless tax collection on outdoor advertisement in the FCT.
Often times, businesses operating in the city center have had to face issues of multiple taxation as they have to pay taxes on mobile advert to the FCT DOAS, and the AMAC.
Only last Wednesday, the AMAC, taskforce for revenue monitoring, inspection and enforcement, arrested 13 “illegal revenue collectors.”
However, Comr. Victor Ezanagu, last week, urged the National Assembly to fast-track the establishment of an agency for outdoor advertisement and signage so as to properly institutionalize its mode of operations.
The student leader believe this would free its operations from external interference and end the long standing battle between the area councils and DOAS.
He dismissed the call for the disbandment of DOAS, as such an action would return the FCT to the days of multi-taxation and proliferation and unprofessional activities of advert revenue collectors.
According to him, the leadership of NANS has taken it upon herself to embark on fact finding mission to, “dissect the activities of FCTA Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage thereby aiding our understanding on misconceptions and grievances from different quarters beyond what is reported on social media.”
He called on mischievous people who are causing unrest within the FCT to put an end to such acts, since the issue was presently before National Assembly for thorough action.
“It has come to our notice issues revolving FCTA Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage and this has attracted the attention of every discerning Nigerians of which the student’s populace are not excluded.
“It is on record that the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS, is saddled with the responsibility to control, curb indecent activities and poor procedures and regulate adverts and signage practices in Abuja and its six area councils.
“Aside from the professional practices of DOAS, it is pivotal to state that this initiative has helped in generating meaningful revenue in FCT since establishment and this has made the body a key source of generating funds for the government in the whole of Abuja.
The student leader, therefore, appealed to all warring parties to sheath their swords and embrace peace in the interest of the country and betterment of all and sundry.
Ezanagu said that NANS had reliably gather that all signage and billboard payments are made into the TSA through the REMITA platform, DOAS does not collect cash from clients.
“Considering the benefits being enjoyed by Nigerians under DOAS, We perceive it is inhumane and maligning to call for this disbandment of such body, as such would return the FCTA to the days’ unkempt environment.
“It will also lead to the proliferation and unprofessional activities of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage and further endangers an average Nigerian doing business by falling prey into hands of underworld agents.”
Meanwhile, the North Central Zone of the student body seems to be in support of the revenue collection being controlled by AMAC, as the group maintained that the FCT DOAS are operating illegally as it was not backed by any law.
Coordinator of the zone, (Zone C) Comr. Anzaku Shedrack, in a statement over the weekend, alleged that the arrangement that allows DOAS collect revenue in AMAC ended in 2022, insisting that the agreement had since been nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The zone, therefore, throws its weight behind one of the technical partners engaged by AMAC to support the collection of revenue from signposts within the council.”
The Zone C leadership claimed that the company, M/S Takushara Nigeria Limited, owned by a former SUG President and former NANS member in the zone, Comr Donald Amagba, has faced serious publicity campaigns against it to distract them from delivering on the task of “properly channeling revenue generation to the council which will be used to serve and better the welfare of the people of AMAC especially those living in rural areas.”
They said their main concern was that some people were willing to do everything possible to frustrate the revenue collecting company and bring an end to the decade of thuggery and harassment of unsuspecting taxpayer’s.
NANS ZONE C claim to have investigated the various allegations and found among others that, “the Department causing this chaos which is the Department of Outdoor Advertisements and Signage has been nullified by a Competent court of Jurisdiction, that the department only had a contract with the said area council to last for 10 years which it’s contract by law has been terminated since December, 2022.
“That the Executive Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, has overtime warned the department to stop collecting revenue on the council’s behalf and has warned the public to desist from dealing with the said department. We also are aware that the area council chairman has set up a task force on revenue mobilization and collection to sensitize the teeming public on the need to deal with only M/S TAKUSHARA NIGERIA LTD which is the recognized contracted agency by the council.”
Efforts to get the reactions of DOAS and AMAC proved unsuccessful as both refused to comment on who was funding the different NANS groups.