Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state on Thursday, briefed President Goodluck Jonathan on the situation in Edo state over the closure of Benin airport.
The Governor told State House correspondents that it was necessary to brief the President so as to give the true picture of what transpired between the state government and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
While confirming that the issue has finally been resolved however, stressed that the state government only enforced an existing Federal law bothering on payment of tax known as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and not tenement rate as painted by FAAN authority.
His words, “It was one of those unfortunate incident and I have just briefed the President, we only try to enforce tax law, I know it is a Federal law, it is not tenement rate contrary to what the General Manager of FAAN was saying, it is about Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
“Those who work for Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and those who work for National Airspace Management Authorities (NAMA) who live in Edo State, under the law, their taxes are deducted from source by the authorities and they are obliged in law to remit such money within 30 days but the money in question as far back as 2010, 2011 and we are now in 2014 and we have made all the efforts through the revenue board to get FAAN management to remit the money and they refused”
“The only lawful thing we have to do in a democracy was to approach the court and show the relevant sections of the law which obliges FAAN and NAMA to remit Pay As You Earn and point out the fact that when you don’t do that I I criminal”
“Tax is not a voluntary contribution by members of an association, it is a compulsory levy and if you default in countries where the rule of law is strong, you are a candidate for prison, it is not negotiable”
“So the revenue board, having obtain the court order to restrain FAAN went to serve it on the FAAN manager’s office, which is about 400 metres away from the airport but the manager felt that the only way he can draw public attention recognizing the essential nature of the airport is to shut down the airport.
” So, he by himself decided to lock all he gates to the airport to make it inaccessible and the plane that landed, he decided to prevent the plane from boarding passengers and compelled the plane to fly back to Lagos empty all to draw public attention in what appears to be inconveniences to him.
“He now extended it and that led to the drama that you saw. I have just explained it to the President that in relation to state Government and federal government there are rules of engagement ad it’s more so when you recognize that there is third party which is the traveling public who have businesses”