The Azikel Group, an indigenous sand dredging firm, has denied allegation against it by Bayelsa State Government that it owed the state N30 million due to non-remittance of taxes.
Dr Azibapu Eruani, the President of Azikel Group, on Tuesday in Yenagoa said that the allegation was false and had no substance of truth in it.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that officials of Bayelsa Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Dec.15 sealed up the dredging site operated by Azikel Group after a court order from Bayelsa High Court.
NAN also reports that Azikel Group was alleged to be owing the Bayelsa government a tax liability of over N30 million from pay-as-you-earn tax leading to the sealing of its office.
A copy of the court order granted by Justice E.G. Omukoro of the Sagbama Judicial Division dated Aug. 2 was also posted at the entrance of the firm’s operational base.
In a statement issued by the Media Assistant to Eruani, Mr Tari Ebibo, the firm said that Azikel Group was not indebted to any organisation including the Board of Internal Revenue.
He said that the alleged tax debt was not only misleading, but targeted to malign the unblemished image and excellence for which Azikel Group was known for in the state and Niger Delta as well as within and outside the country.
According to Ebibo,the firm is seeking legal redress.
He advised the BIR to address the substantive suit in court and stop misleading the public by their reckless behaviour and utterances.
“Azikel Group has continued to contribute to the human capital development in the state as an indigenous company owned by a Bayelsa person.
“It has brought hope to the people of the state by bridging the unemployment gap.
“Majority of the people we employ in our sand dredging operations and our subsidiary companies are people of Bayelsa origin.
“While Azikel Group has continued to receive commendation within and outside the country for successes recorded in job creation and the industrial deficit in the state.
“Only unprogressive mind would be blinded to the innovation that Azikel Group has brought to the state.
“Our resolve to give our state, Bayelsa, a pride of place among comity of industrialised states in Nigeria remains on course,’’ Ebibo said.