The Niger State Internal Revenue Service (NGSIRS) on Monday shut down eight commercial banks and the state head office of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over alleged N456 million tax debts.

Mr Mohammed Etsu, the Executive Chairman of the internal revenue Service, disclosed this on Monday in Minna, Niger State.

He said the action of the government was in line with the provisions of the relevant tax laws.

Etsu identified the affected banks and their liabilities as: Stanbic IBTC (N113.2 million) Polaris Bank (N74.8 million), UBA (N68.9 million), Union bank (N47.1 million), First Bank (N45.7 million), Heritage Bank (N31.5 million) Unity Bank (N14 million) and GTB (N8.2 million).

Other defaulting organisations, he said, were: AEDC Plc, with a debt of N45.8 million, Aloe Vera International Hotel, in Minna, (N3.9 million) and Rashida Restaurant, also in Minna, (N3.2m).

The Chairman explained that all efforts by the Service to make the defaulting organisations pay their respective tax liabilities, yielded no positive results, thereby leading to the sealing of their business premises.

He called on other debtors to pay their outstanding tax liability, to avoid sealing of their offices by the Service, as the tax drive exercise was a continuous one.

Reacting to the development, however, Dr Sidikat Shitu, a Minna resident, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said she went to withdraw money at First Bank, only to meet it sealed.

Shitu said the exercise, which took the customers of the various banks by surprise, had brought untold hardship to the people, as the banks were sealed off, preventing members of the public from transacting any business.

“I have an emergency to attend to but I cannot withdraw money here now,” she lamented.

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