Tunde Fowler used to get death threats when he began collecting levies in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos 10 years ago. Today he gets hailed as Tax Muyiwa, a nickname that means “bring your tax” in the local Yoruba language.
His staff of about 3,000 administrators no longer need police escorts to prevent them from being attacked. They walk freely in their green-and-white logoed Lagos Internal Revenue Service polo shirts, reflecting a growing acceptance among a taxpaying population that’s surged by half to 4.5 million in the past five years.
“Society has taken us as part of them,” Fowler, the 58-year-old chairman of the tax agency, said in an interview at one of Lagos’s members-only boat clubs, overlooking a lagoon on the affluent Victoria Island.