ABOUT TIME! By Hassan Mohammed
The way some people approach the mere mention of El-Rufai’s name beats my imagination. In a lounge on my way to Kaduna, I saw this piece from Daily Nigerian. I don’t know when I belched, “about time!” and “deal with the idiots”. The professor sitting near me who also attended a function here looked at me scornfully. I thought it is because I forgot myself and where I was. No!
This man was pissed at me, for celebrating “evil”. He said to me, “You are celebrating this man because you don’t know him and you are not an academic”. The thing I know him. He doesn’t know me. I’ve seen him around. He has even introduced himself to us a while back.
I replied, “No, Prof. I support some of his actions not him, and it is because I’m an academic sir – a baby academic” sarcastically. He was shocked. “Have we met before…somewhere?” I’ve no time for his arrogant condescension, so I cut him to the chase.
“Sir, the way some of you react to El-Rufai one day he will say, Zaria is one of 23 LGAs in Kaduna State and you will say he is lying. My name is Hassan, sir”. We shook hands. He said he was sorry. I was disarmed. The craze forming in my head don’t disappear.
I explained to him, using something personal to him. A colleague of his, my senior cousin, was undergoing screening to head of one our MDAs. One of the major requirements is, he must be a responsible member of his community, that he pays taxes. The thing is he, like the rest of us does not pay directly. We all pay through our employers. They want him to cough out about N2 million back pay of years of taxes. I told him to ask his colleague whenever they meet.
I also told him of another story of a woman I know who secured a government/political appointment and the KSBIR refused to clear her because all the taxes that were deducted from her salary for many years were never remitted to the government purse.
Her institution refused to pay the money, on pretext that there was no money as at the time. With few days left to lose that opportunity to serve her country, we were told that the woman’s husband coughed out about N1.5m to the state before she was cleared of tax infractions.
What we have are managers of academic and other institutions collecting tax from civil servants and refusing to remit same to the government and he is blaming the government for suing these institutions for trying to collect what is theirs.
We see these deductions on our pay slips every single month. And the monies go into the coffers of the institutions, then they sit on them. How then do we blame the state government for suing these debtor institutions to get them to remit their money to them?