Rain tax, is inevitable. So said Celine Dion in one of her many hit songs. Even Jesus Christ gave a distinct directive that taxes to Caesar must be paid to Caesar. Caesar, aka BRF, aka, LAGOS INLAND REVENUE SERVICE. That is what is used to run the the day to government affairs. These taxes are collected from the nooks and crannies of the state. Even if you are passing through the state, there is something that will come up to get you to pay your Radio, tv, party, hawking, Kabul kabuing, posters, tolls, anything... TAX. The penalties of default are grave. That you are getting away with it and not paying your tax is just for the time being. Watch your back. BRF eye they red.
And as for God's own tax, that goes to God. God's tax, in the context we were made to understand, is the 10% of anything everyone earns. That tax is called tithe. Its has not changed since time immemorial. Even though I was tempted to ask for a reduced tithe during the recession when all the hundreds of millions in the stock exchange vaporised. Say like 5% tithe till things looked up. But my pastor said tight situations are the most appropriate time to pay the tithe. And that this was to be paid through God's men on earth. This applies to all christians whether they are adults of taxable age or not. Pay it. Or like Pastor Ashimolowo said on TV, if you don't pay it, God will collect it somehow that-how anyhow. Whether the men of God or Men from God decide to buy a private jet does not stop from you from doing you part. Just do it.
In some churches, just like the the BRF tax, the major one which is the tithe is passed on to the head of the church, untouched. So the more local branches the church has, the more tithes that are remitted to the General Overseer of the Church. No questions asked. I know one bubbly pastor that is not greedy, no need for many branches. Just one church. All tithes come direct. No need for middlemen. Like that Sterling Bankd television advert, just one church... No branches. Did I mention offerings? Didn't think I did. Offerings also are subtle but willing taxes paid by Christians. Some have asked that if the offering is voluntary what with that the pre offering talk? To ginger our swagger to give?
Anyways, there are also those taxes that we pay every now and then to different clubs, old boys, Arsenal fans, kparakpo union, associations, IKOYI club, gyms we never attend... These are the ones we are obliged to pay, because it became a tax to pay by our own decision and failure to pay these types just means you will be denied the benefits of the privileges that come with paying the tax, aka DUES.
All of the above are not what this piece is about. I intend to talk about those taxes that come out of our pockets but shouldn't be paid but we pay anyway. Those taxes (egunje, deve, something for the boys, settlement, ) that some have taken to be their entitlements even when they know it's uncalled for. It's so uncalled for, but it just is another pointer to the state of our nation. A country where every one is becoming a beggar. Professional or corporate begging has so become a norm that whenever certain groups of people like security men, gatemen, drivers and the like say a word of greeting, something in our minds go "I HOPE I HAVE LOOSE CHANGE FOR THIS BAGGAR!"
It's everywhere now. Parking lots of supermarkets, clubs, eateries, airports, event centres and at any gathering that lasts more than 2 hours. The impunity with which some ask for the tax, aka, "ANYTHING FOR THE BOYS" aka "BLESS YOUR PEOPLE!" aka "SO YOU WILL LEAVE US LIKE THIS?"... The way they go about it sometimes, can be confrontational and just builds up bile in one's throat. Often times I have had to say "Come take it from my pocket na!"
Have you seen the age of the people who say "your boys are on ground o!"? Had to ask one elderly man who who told you you are a boy? When he asked "anything for the boys?"
The matter is so bad, BOUNCERS, SECURITY MEN, EVEN BOYS WHO SERVE AT EVENTS! Will leave their duty posts and tail you to your car. Something just tells them that after following you all the way to your car, which may be parked way way away from their duty post, you would have no choice but to give them something. I usually drive away without giving anything. And I also have many times caught the insults they hull at me as my brake lights fade from their sights. I remember some guys following me allllllllll the way to my car, flattering me allllllll the way with praises like king of comedy! Number 1, no rival, the best of the best, "you are our 'fans' "... Only for the flattering praises to be changed into hot shots at me as I drove of without settling, "that's why you are not funny again' "useless guy", "BASKETMOUTH is better SEF"... Till their voices fade.
Area boys are the undisputed lords of this taxing. They can overrun an event if the security is weak. And when that happens, they make their way into the venue and help themselves with phones, cameras, sunglasses, hand bags, gift items etc. if the are denied access they wait buy the cars. All they need is for one person to spot the guest and they swoop on the guest like flies. Threatening to rush, but don't, because a guy amongst them is telling them not to rush because "Oga doent like rush. He will drop something". In fear, most guests always do. I have dropped too when I know the bouncers who are supposed to protect guests are on about the same thing at another end.
Some of the area boys have grown. They now pass themselves off as journalists and gentlemen of the press. They even have midgets and cameras just to further strengthen their claim as pen merchants. "We are gentlemen of the press, we said we should come say hello... So you can bless our weekend." I hear these area boys turned journalists can be those "reliable sources you read about" in news reports.
Old school mates, some that you may not even know, could tax you too. Especially when they throw that line of we were school mates and they did not expect to be begging. That is supposed to melt your heart and make you give them all the monies on you abi? Lies! Lies! They had better start trekking. Because, I no send. The annoying thing is that you will still see the same school mate at many more different events after the first encounter. If they have time to attend these many event, WHY NOT BECOME BOUNCERS OR EVENT PLANNERS?!!!!
How about those airport security officers who screen your luggage? Those ones that deliberately hold on to your luggage and say "So that's how you are going to leave us?" Actually, Yes! Unless you have your own boarding pass. And those are the people protecting passengers from people with BOKO tendencies!?
Staff of offices of big Ogas are not excluded o! Messengers, secretaries, Personal Assistants and some senior Ogas themselves are in on the illegal taxing of visitors to offices of notable Nigerians. Makes you wonder if it's company policy.
I haven't experienced it, but I hear some hospital attendants, nurses and midwives do worse. Can you just imagine?
But all those tax collector above fade into oblivion when the real tax collectors show up. Runs girls, are the highest collectors of taxes. BIS, blackberry phone, recharge cards, rent, furniture, car, wrist watch, iPad, Brazilian hair, transport fare, airline tickets, Range Rover Sport, monthly allowance... WETIN????????!!!!! Even wives don't enjoy all that tax from husbands.
Who rememberss that advert on MNET where the two guys had to use the bathroom because of cost induced weewee that the girls had involved them in! Some men are not even so lucky. I bet the tax is why some men begin to grey even before they get to the age to become a Wole Soyinka.
Over taxing is killing my people o!!!!!!