Militants allegedly sent by former first lady, Patience Jonathan attacked a team of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) at Aridolf Resort Wellness & Spa in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
The incident happened on Wednesday when a group of FIRS officers went into the hotel owned by Patience to talk about tax liabilities of over N10 million, but were prevented from doing their jobs when the militants numbered at 50 swooped into the facilities attacking the government officials.
One of the officers sent to the hotel said on gaining access to the premises the team had gone to the reception to ask for the manager. The receptionists had then claimed they were the only staff present in the hotel. After a lot of back and forth trying to see the manager, the militants came out and took over the situation.
“We demanded that they should phone the manager to inform him of the team’s presence and mission, but they ignored the demand,” a FIRS official said.
“The FIRS team, however, read the warrant of distraint to them… After over 30 minutes of argument, militants believed to have lodged in the hotel came out and threatened to kill FIRS officials, claiming that the enforcement exercise was illegal.
“When one of the directors of the hotel, Mr. Victor, arrived the scene, we showed him the warrant of distraint and told him that the hotel owed three months VAT.”
According to reports from the FIRS officials, a man known as chief Anthony had looked at the warrant then dismissed it saying it was not properly signed and was only a ploy by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to plant money in the hotel. Chief Anthony then threatened to shoot some of the officials.
“He claimed that the visit was a plot to ridicule Mrs. Jonathan, and that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, sent FIRS officials to plant cash in the premises,” the official said.
The militants all this while had allegedly been speaking to Patience Jonathan on the phone who they fondly referred to as “mummy” and when chief Anthony arrived he also referred to Patience as “mummy” asking the militants to arrest the FIRS officials until “mummy” had a chance to speak with them.
“Anthony ordered the militants not to allow them leave the premises until ‘Mummy’ comes.
“He ordered them to arrest the team leader and some other officials. The armed militants forced the FIRS officials to remove the seal already placed at entrance of the hotel’s salon and gym as well as to unlock the hotel entrance.
“The militants forced a newspaper reporter and an NTA camera man that accompanied the team into a room, where they were beaten up. Their phones were also seized and images on them deleted.
“They also deleted items stored in the camera.”
Reports claim it was only the intervention of Asuquo Amba, the state police commissioner, that led to the release of the cameraman but his camera was seized by the militants.
Mrs. Jonathan is yet to respond to the allegations.