Massive shake-up in FIRS as new boss settles in

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A massive shakeup in Nigeria’s tax agency, FIRS, is underway with about 50 directors affected.

About 50 directors, deputy directors, assistant directors and over 100 other staff of FIRS have been transferred by the new Executive Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami.

Sources at the tax agency said the movements were means of shaping FIRS along the lines Nami believes could fetch him the N8.5 trillion target for 2020.

While some of the directors were said to have moved up in relevance and ranking, one senior management staff got a tacit boot away from the agency. A new director also joined the service.

The movement, said a director who recently retired from the service, is also a means of placing Mr “Nami’s own ministers at strategic positions so he could move very fast.”

Among those affected was the erstwhile Coordinating Director, Compliance Enforcement Group, Cyriacus Ekechi, who became the Transition Lead Compliance Support Group: Aishiekh Maidugu, Director, Planning Reporting and Statistics, who is now Special Assistant Special Duties to the Executive Chairman; and Femi Oluwaniyi, Director Debt Management,

who is now Transition Lead, Domestic Taxes Group.

Others are Kudu Mohammed, Assistant Director, Project Management Office (e- Services), who is now Special Advisor to the Executive Chairman – a position said to have been occupied by the former Acting Chairman, Abiodun Aina, before he became Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group and Abdullahi Ismaila, Special Assistant Service and Communication to FIRS Chairman.

A circular signed by Director Human Capital Management Department, Mr Victor Ekundayo, dated December 31, 2019, said the five along with the executive chairman will constitute the Interim Management Team.

Others are Victor Ekundayo of Human Capital Department, who moved to the Career and Skills Development Department; Innocent Ohagwa of the Special Tax Audit Lagos, who replaced Mr Ekundayo; Gbolaga Oshiga formerly of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, who moved to Revenue House Abuja as Director Tax Audit; Mohammed Abubakar, formerly Coordinating

Director, Tax Appeal Tribunal who is now Secretary, Joint Tax Board, JTB.

The former Secretary JTB, Oseni Elamah, a former Chairman, Edo State Internal Revenue Service, and a key JTB figure in pre and post Tunde Fowler years got no alternative posting.

Sanni Dahiru, an Assistant Director at the State Coordinator’s Office, in Charge of Kogi, FCT and Nasarawa replaced Mohammed Abubakar. From Kano, Pam Davou, a Director, and State Coordinator in charge of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States was asked to come in as Director, Collections at the Headquarters. Najim Ajila, the former Director, Audit replaced Mr Oluwaniyi in Debt Collection, while Joel Ogohi, a Deputy Director replaced Mr Oshiga as State Coordinator, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu States.

Others moved include David Ogedemgbe, Head Large Tax Audit, who became State Coordinator, Lagos Island; Shetimma, Tamadi, a Deputy Director from the office of the State Coordinator, Benue Kaduna and Niger, became State Coordinator for the states; Lucky Obodoekeh Chukwu, Deputy Director, Head Oil and Gas ( Downstream) became

Head, Large Tax Audit; Umar Aminu Galadanchi of Large Tax Office, Kano became the State Coordinator Kano, Jigawa and Katsina States; Muazu Garba, Assistant Director, Training School, became State Coordinator, Oil and Gas (Downstream); Etsu Madami, State Coordinator, Kebbi Sokoto and Zamfara moved to Borno, Plateau, Bauchi and Yobe in the same position; Peter Alfred, Assistant Director, Large Tax Office in Lagos, is now Head Special Tax Audit Lagos; Yerima Silas, Assistant Director, Large Tax Office Lagos ( Non-Oil) moved to Kano to head the Large Tax Audit Office.

Four other managers were also moved.

Adebayo Kayode, Director Investigations, was moved to Special Investigations Department, while Idris Ndanusa, a fresh Director was hired and posted to INTERNAL Affairs Department, Chukwuemeka Obiagwu, formerly of Enforcement Department is now in the Enforcement Unit, Office of the Executive Chairman, Ozavize Winfrul, a Deputy

Director of the Compliance unit in the Chairman’s office moves to Compliance Research, Simon Kato a Deputy Director and Special Assistant, Office of the Chairman moved to Domestic Taxes Group, Group, Odekunle John Oluwatoyin, an Assistant Director and former Chief of Staff to the former Executive Chairman was transferred to Enforcement Unit in the Office of the Transition Lead Enforcement and Compliance Group, Maupatin Olatundun, formerly the Special Adviser to the Executive Chairman was moved to Tax Audit

Department; Olufemi Akinfala, formerly Head, Research and Development Department was moved to Planning Research and Statistics Department; Oyebanji Matthew, Deputy Director Special Tax Audit, Lagos, became Tax Controller Oil and Gas, Lagos, while Muazu Garba, an Assistant Director, Tax Controller Oil and Gas (Downstream) was moved to Tax Investigation Department.

Orebanjo Adebola an Assistant Director at Relationship Management Unit, Lagos was moved to Large Tax Office, Non Oil, and Aniko Emmanuel was also moved to Large Tax Oil and Gas.

Two other Assistant Directors: Oluwa- Ameenat Badmus and Oluola Adedayo were moved from Relationship Management Unit to State Coordinator’s office, while most staff of the Relationship Management Unit—said to be a creation of Tunde Fowler, were also transferred.

An Assistant Director confirmed that more transfers and movements will come as Nami strengthens his hold on FIRS.

“These transfers are normal. When Fowler also came, he moved people on a continuous basis until he was comfortable to do the job. And let me tell you, in FIRS that I know, anyone who has spent four years in an office could be transferred. It’s in black and White. And staff know. The new chairman is eager for results. And as you can see, his focus is tax, tax, tax and anything that could assist him to realise the 2020 target,” the official said asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to journalists.

When contacted, FIRS spokesperson, Wahab Gbaddamosi, described the massive shake-up as “normal internal staff transfers in FIRS.”

He said it the usual movement of staff carried out by a new management.

“FIRS Human Resource policy, which says that any staff that has done four years in a position can be moved around approves such movements. In any case, any decision a new management feels can enhance revenue generation capacity towards realizing set targets is normal. There is nothing special about it,” Gbadamosi said.