The Akwa Ibom Government has revealed that tax evaders in the state are owing the government at least N30bn.
Nwoko, who is also the attorney- General, revealed this at the opening of 2016/2017 legal year in the state.
He said that the statutory allocation from the Federal Account could not sustain the state, pointing out that tax evaders had rendered the state financially incapacitated.
“I hereby call on all tax evaders to urgently retrace their steps and ensure payment of taxes and revenue to Akwa Ibom State.
“As a matter of financial responsibility, the government of Akwa Ibom State will treat all tax evaders as saboteurs of government,” Nwoko threatened.
He called on the judiciary to ensure speedy determination of suits affecting revenue generation, and appealed that cases of revenue accruing to the state should not be lost on altar of technicalities.
Nwoko said that taxes were sources of revenue that helped government to discharge its responsibilities and appealed to companies doing business in the state to pay their taxes promptly.
“I therefore urge all tax payers to toe the path of responsibility and without further delay, pay all taxes and revenue as at when due.
“I will particularly pray my colleagues to advise their clients appropriately in the matter of taxation,” the commissioner appealed.
He said the state government had formed a Specialised Tax Unit headed by him with the intention to address all legal concerns of the State Internal Revenue Service.
Nwoko used the occasion to appeal to workers in the state, especially the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria to be patient with the state government.
“I am equally aware that the Judiciary is affected by the scarcity in resources and that the government is not unmindful of its plights,” Nwoko said.
He assured that the state government was working out measures to contain the suffering of the workers and other citizens under the current recession.
In his address, the Chairman of Uyo branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Aniekan Akpan, urged the state government to make available all financial entitlement owed the judiciary.
Akpan, who spoke on behalf of Eket and Ikot Ekpene chapters of NBA, had advised the state government to prevent any strike by judiciary staff this legal year.
He said that 116 lawyers working for the state government had yet to take possession of the vehicles earlier approved for them.
Akpan called for the amendment of the Customary Court laws to reflect the new status where lawyers are made the presidents of those courts.