Following a motion moved by a member of the House from Kogi State, Mr. Tajudeen Yusuf at the plenary on Tuesday, calling for the suspension illegal levies being imposed on businesses by the area councils in the Federal Capital Territory, the House of Representatives has ordered the task forces to suspend their activities.
According to Yusuf, Business outlets and private enterprises have been under threats, intimidation, and coercion by task forces operating in the Federal Capital Territory area councils under different guises, forcing business owners to pay illegal levies which are not remitted into the government coffers but private pockets of task force officials.
READ ALSO: Ultimatum: Ijaw Youths Threaten to Cripple Activities at NDDC
The House is concerned that revenues meant to boost the economy of the capital territory are diverted by task force officials from Abuja Municipal Area Council and other area councils who extort supermarket operators, hotels, cafeterias, furniture shops, artisans, and other businesses.
The House noted that the continued extortion of business operators in AMAC and other area councils in the Federal Capital Territory is affecting businesses as some entrepreneurs who cannot cope with multiple levies are forced to reduce their workforce, particularly hotel owners.
With the rising effects and fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown the country into economic recession, the House is alarmed that if the illegal activities of task forces are not stopped by the relevant government authorities, it will lead to loss of jobs and impact negatively on the economy, thus increasing insecurity.
The lawmaker therefore prayed the House to “urge the Federal Capital Territory Administration to, in the interim suspend the suspend the activities of the task forces in all area councils of the FCT pending the completion of the investigation.”
Yusuf also urged the House to mandate the Committees on FCT and FCT Area Councils to “investigate the matter and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.”
In a unanimous decision, the lawmakers granted the prayers.