The Emerging Culture of (Un)Armed Violence by Legal/Illegal Revenue Collectors in Urban Cities in Nigeria: Evidence from Enugu State

  • Stephen Nnaemeka Azom
  • Rowland Chukwuma Okoli


The increasing emphasis on internally generated revenue (IGR), especially with the dwindling oil revenue and increasing cost of governance, has resulted in aggressive search for IGR by states and local governments through various strategies. Existing analyses posit that the concurrent revenue drive by the three tiers of government engender multiple taxation. Others highlight the outcomes of various revenue mobilisation strategies used by the three tiers of government to improve IGR. However, the effect of the culture of violence by armed and unarmed revenue collectors in urban cities in Nigeria is yet to attract systematic scrutiny. Thus, this study examines the effects of the emerging culture of (un)armed violence by legal/illegal revenue collectors in Enugu metropolis. The study utilised the mixed methods for data collection and analysis. Our analysis shows that states and local governments experience fiscal challenges due to the lopsided federal structure of the post-colonial Nigerian state, which concentrates major sources of revenue at the centre. However, since the constitution empowers all the three tiers of government to collect specified rates and taxes concurrently, states and local governments, against the backdrop of rapid reduction in oil revenue, increasing cost of governance and growth of neoliberal ideology—which emphasise the need to increase tax rates while reducing government spending, have continued to adopt the strategies that translate to the use of armed and unarmed agents to enforce rates and taxes. In this light, Enugu metropolis has gained notoriety for the activities of armed and unarmed revenue collectors of state ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) and local government, which are turning the state into the Hobbesian state of nature by the crude and violent revenue collection strategies. The major victims of this violence are the helpless operators in the informal economy such as commercial drivers, owners of small and medium businesses and tenants in residential apartments in the state.


Violence Internal generated revenue Governance and fiscal federalism 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Nnaemeka Azom
    • 1
  • Rowland Chukwuma Okoli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceFederal University LafiaNasarawa StateNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Political Science and International RelationsGodfrey Okoye UniversityEnugu StateNigeria

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