ABAKALIKI- Poultry Farmers Association (PAN), Ebonyi State Chapter, yesterday disowned one Joshua Igwe, who is alleged to be using the name of the association to collect illegal revenue from poultry dealers in the State.
The suspect, it was gathered, was apprehended by Ebonyi State Government Tax Team on IGR following a tip-off, and was handed over to the police.
In a statement signed by the State Chairman of the group, Comrade John Nwobegu, the Secretary, Mr. Cyril Ogbogu and the Public Relations Officer, Engr. Monday Ejiegbu, the group maintained that the suspect and his group were not working for the association and should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
“It therefore beats our imagination as to where this group derives their powers from, and why they are working in contrast with the Government and causing difficulty to poultry farmers using PAN to legitimize their activities and bringing enmity to the Divine-Mandate administration at a time when all revenue collectors and groups have been dissolved statewide.”
“Investigation from sources close to the farmers has it that this agents are not alone in this act, as it was said to have tacit approval and support of highly placed people who share from the proceeds of the illicit revenue drive and who are bent on making farmers to be in conflict with Government.”
“Therefore, it is against this background that the leadership of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi State Chapter dissociates itself totally and completely from the illicit business of illegal revenue collection by cash by this faceless group, and condemns their action as unworthy and unpatriotic and we urge our members to remain calm as investigation is on-going to unravel circumstances and persons involved in this act of sabotage”.
The group in the statement, further said it was strongly supporting the visionary leadership of the State Governor, David Umahi, adding that farmers in the State were enjoying lots of Government support and incentives such as grants, soft loans, inputs supplies and good market environment.
“PAN is a responsible trade association which has credible, non-controversial leadership, both in Ebonyi State and at the National level; and has been in the business of promoting poultry farm insurance enterprise and also working with Government at all levels to accentuate agric-business enterprise to boost income of citizens and generate revenue for the Government for the overall betterment of the society”, it said.