OAU reacts to closure for tax default

The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has reacted to the closure of the institution by the Osun State Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over tax default of N1.8 billion.

Reacting to the closure, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Abiodun Olanrewaju, appealed to the state government and promised that the institution is working ”tirelessly to resolve the issue”.

The institution was shut down Wednesday morning by the officials of the state IRS led by Oladipo Babatunde after obtaining a court order.

Mr Babatunde said that the institution will be reopened when the management ”is ready to pay its tax debt”.

The IRS sealed the university’s senate building, administrative block, bursary department and the school’s main gate which interrupted the flow of vehicles and registration of fresh students who resumed on Sunday.

The state government had earlier issued seven days ultimatum to some companies accused of owing the state well over N12.5 billion as unremitted taxes.

According to the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Tax Matters, Gbenga Akano, the government subsequently decided to prosecute the defaulters.

“We are working tirelessly to resolve the issue. The management is law abiding and will ensure the prompt payment of the tax debt,” the school spokesperson said, Thursday in its first official reaction.

Mr Olanrewaju said the debt was caused by previous administrations of the institution.

“Since 2017, the present administration has been paying consistently but a backlog of debt inherited from past administrations is causing this ‘little’ trouble. The institution is assuring the public that all will be resolved soon. We are doing that administratively.”

He also said that the fresh students undergoing registration are not affected, ”as only the Senate and the administrative blocks are affected by the closure”.

Fresh students’ registration is carried out at their respective departments, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.

According to the state government, other companies owing taxes include: Globalcom, NTA Ile-Ife and 9mobile.

“Several meetings have been held with affected organisations, but it has been a continuous imperviousness and indebtedness. We are left with no option than to openly mention some tax defaulters who failed to perform their civic responsibilities.

“We are serious about getting every kobo owed Osun State. The government is doing its best to meet the yawning of the people. We need money to do more. We are not asking for extra. But what is legitimately due to us in taxes must be given to us,” Mr Akano had said.

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