Stamp duty: Outrage on Twitter as FIRS slams NIPOST chairman

Samson Folarin

Nigerians have slammed the Federal Inland Revenue Service for disrespecting the Chairman of the Nigeria Postal Service, Mrs Maimuna Abubakar, over stamp duties.

The FIRS, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, had described Abubakar as a “privileged young lady who happened to be appointed to high office” and described her statement on the stamp duties controversy as “indecorous.”

The FIRS statement was in response to Abubakar’s tweets on Sunday asking Nigerians to get justice for the postal service whose responsibilities were being hijacked by the FIRS.

The NIPOST boss also accused the government agency of theft of ideas.

Abubakar appeared to be re-echoing the alarm raised by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on January 3, that the FIRS was encroaching on the duties of NIPOST by seeking to collect stamp duties.

He had said, “We insist that stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST and it is an injustice if NIPOST is denied the opportunity.”

But the Director of Communications and Liaison Department, FIRS, Abdullahi Ismaila, in a statement on Tuesday, slammed the NIPOST chairman, saying she could not distinguish between stamp duties and postage stamp.

The statement was titled, ‘That vexed NIPOST tweet by Mrs Maimuna Abubakar’.

“The FIRS is the sole agency of govt charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties.

“It is therefore shocking to us that such a privileged young lady who happened to be appointed to high office would throw all caution to the air to cast aspersions on reputable public institutions like the National Assembly and FIRS, which she accused of stealing NIPOST idea.”

Ismaila said the agency was determined to “not only ensure that all monies collected by NIPOST into its illegally operated stamp duties account are fully remitted into the Federation Account, but also make sure that any kobo not accounted for in that account is legally recovered.”

Nigerians on Twitter wondered why the revenue agency would insult Abubakar without having regards to her office.

One O’tega Ogra@otegaogra, wrote, “Dear FIRS, this language used in this tweet is uncouth. There is an urgent need for a digital comms/social media policy to guide government institutions on the responsible use of these platforms. Too many vile, irresponsible exchanges among govt institutions these days.”

A user, Mazi @FestusGreen, highlighted the derogatory words used to describe the NIPOST chairman.

“Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, a director with FIRS via ‘official’ @firsNigeria, used derogatory words to address the Chairperson of NIPOST Board, Mrs Maimuna Abubakar. Some words…Unfortunate. Indecorous. Privileged Young Lady. Preposterous. Stealing. Misappropriation. Ill-advised.”

Rachel Roberts, another user, wondered if the FIRS could lash out at a man the way they did to Abubakar, describing the agency as sexist.

Some users showed that stamp duty was old and had been a responsibility of NIPOST.

One of them, Habu Zoaka, referred the FIRS to a vehicle bought in 1982, which indicated that the stamp duty was collected by the postal service.

“Such literature are documentary evidences that further buttress the position of NIPOST. NIPOST is the custodian of stamp and the stamping protocol.

“For instance, the Act, from which the circular derives its validity has been in operation since 1939. The circular is said to draw its power from the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act 2004, and Government Financial Regulations, 2009,” he wrote.

Some other users slammed the two agencies for washing their dirty linen in the public.

PUNCH

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