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VAT: Lagos Attorney General files application to join Rivers as co-respondent in FIRS appeal

The Attorney General (AG) of Lagos state, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has filed an application to join the Rivers state in responding to an appeal by the Federal Inland Revenue Service challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on Value Added Tax (VAT).

Recall the Federal High Court had ruled that Rivers state and not the FIRS has the power to collect VAT and Personal Income Tax within the state.

Also, Lagos state like Rivers had on Thursday passed the VAT Bill to empower its government to be able to collect the VAT within the state; thus barring the FIRS from doing the same.

In the application as a co-respondent filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, the Lagos AG, argued that the application for joinder should be taken first before FIRS’ application for stay of execution.

However, the counsel for the FIRS, Mahmoud Magaji (SAN) argued that their application for stay of execution should take precedence over the application for joinder.

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The Attorney General of Rivers State, Zacchaeus Adangor, and E. C. Nkala (SAN) represented Rivers State while Tijjani Gazali (SAN) represented the Attorney General of the Federation.

Meanwhile, Kogi State government says it will not be drawn into the value-added tax collection row sparked by Lagos and Rivers states. 

Reacting to the development in an interview with Arise TV on Friday, Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi’s commissioner for information and communication, said Kogi State opposes the development despite its advantages.

He said “we are not created equally, and God that created us did not give us equal potential, and we have to support one another”.

The commissioner then added, “this call shows that some of our leaders are insensitive, self-centred and trying to make policies that will further divide the country”.

“Kogi is bordered by about 10 states of the federation and a gateway to the north, south, to everywhere. And you know that thousands of vehicles transverse the state on a daily basis. It’s the mineral capital of Nigeria. When you look at our advantages, we should even be at the forefront of fighting for VAT to be completely retained in the state,” Fanwo said.

“But I think we should take it beyond this when you look at the development of the south-west in those days — the cocoa house — and the groundnut pyramids in the north, the whole of Nigeria is reaping the benefit till today. And what we need to do at this material time as leaders is to stop thinking about ourselves alone.

“The position of governor Yahaya Bello on this is very clear: we will not jump on that bandwagon to call for the retention of VAT completely in the state. We are not created equally, and God that created us did not give us equal potential, and we have to support one another.”

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