A plot is in the works to ensure that Mr. Babatunde Fowler, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is ousted from his position, authoritative sources said.
The plot has authors powerful political figures who, in spite of the huge improvement in revenue collection by the FIRS under Fowler, are minded to get him out the seat to be replaced by their own man, who is said to be from the Northern part of the country.
The first phase of the plot, it was gathered, has kicked off, with the plotters seeking to damage Fowlers reputation.
It was scooped that the plotters have recruited an army of out-of-work journalists, with some of them provided funding to set up websites principally for the anti-Fowler agenda.
The objective of the first phase, we gathered, is to use the ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the alleged misuse of duty tour allowances (DTAs) by FIRS staff.
The investigation has seen the plotters use their online army to publish half-truths and outright lies about the FIRS boss.
A major plank of these were reports claiming that it was the use of tax revenue collected by the FIRS that the EFCC is investigating.
A source at the anti-graft agency, however, said the investigation could not have been into tax revenue, as such is paid directly into government coffers and not to the FIRS.
According to sources in Abuja also said that the plotters suspect that Fowler may be interested in succeeding Mr. Godwin Emefiele as Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a position they similarly want a Northerner to occupy.
“These are the reasons why lies are being peddled about Fowler. One of their special purpose vehicles masquerading as a news website recently reported that Fowler is on the run from the EFCC. The man our sources confirmed this morning, is at his desk at the FIRS office in Abuja.
“The EFCC has not declared him wanted. None of these reports showed an attempt by the publishers to ask if the EFCC is investigating him. They are just reliant on the investigation into the use of DTAs and are concocting stories from it,” the source said.
He added that such sites, having failed to gain traction, have taken their anti-Fowler content to Whatsapp where such stories are expected to be shared on impulse by users.
Credible media reports on the EFCC investigation, Chronicle NG observed, stated that there is no evidence yet that Fowler was involved in the alleged misuse of DTAs.
Fowler was drafted from the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), which he made into the country’s most accomplished state revenue agency.
Since taking over as Chairman, FIRS, in 2015, the agency has seen tax revenues increase year-on-year.
Last year, the FIRS generated a total of N5.32trillion, the highest ever figure in the history of the Service.