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VAT: Lagos Unfairly Treated, Generates Over N500bn Annually ~Speaker

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Generates

The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, on Wednesday, disclosed that Lagos State generates an excess of N500 billion in Value Added Tax, VAT form annually.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosere Onigbanjo (SAN), said, the state government is poised to execute judgement granting states the power to collect VAT, saying no booby trap will affect its implementation.

 

 

The duo spoke on Wednesday, at public hearing at the State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, on ‘A Bill for the law to impose and charge value Added Tax on certain goods and services provided for the administration of the tax and other Related Matters.’

 

 

Recall that a Federal High Court in Rivers State presided over by Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, had issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Attorney General of the federation, both first and second defendants in the suit, from collecting, demanding, threatening and intimidating residents of Rivers State to pay to FIRS, personnel income tax VAT.

 

 

The Speaker, represented by his deputy, Wasiu Eshilokun, in his address, said: “Hitherto, the responsibility of collecting VAT is assumed by the Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS. This, I reckon is against the messages and spirits of the true federalism that our fathers fought for and that we are currently agitating.

 

“Lagos States feel financially strangulated and unfairly treated by the Federal Government in her administration and appropriation of receipts of VAT.

 

 

“Lagos state for instance, generates the excess of 500 billion in VAT form. If we go by generation trend, in tandem with the N2.4 trillion forecasted by the FIRS, Lagos state will be contributing about 55 per cent of the total VAT collectables in the entire country.

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“But what do we get in return, some paltry sum. This injustice and inequity are part of the premises that some of the extant agitations are founded.

 

 

“Thankfully, the judiciary through the Federal High Court of Port Harcourt Division came to the rescue of the nation and assuaged the fears of teeming Nigerians in her judgement.

 

 

“It is in the light of this judgement the Lagos State’s seeks by proposing to practicalize this her bill rights for a law that will enable the state to collect VAT that will ensure the state could thereby create a complete true developmental federalism goals.”

 

 

Onigbanjo, while, responding to a representative of civil society organizations, Mr Adeola Samuel who cautioned the state government over the execution of the judgment in favour of Rivers State, said the state government would soon sign the VAT law in the state.

 

 

Samuel had stated that the execution of the judgement by the Lagos State Government was a booby trap that would make it failed in its implementation.

 

 

According to him, “There is a booby trap except if Lagos wants to overlook it. The doctrine of covering the field will have to be applied. If the law is passed as it is, there will be a lot of litigations.”

 

 

He cited a judgement where it was declared that an individual or organization cannot benefit in a judgement that one was not joined.

 

 

In a swift reaction, Onigbanjo said, “That judgement on VAT law is not valid only in Rivers State. Any state in Nigeria stands to benefit. Your statement is not correct on the position of the law.

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“The National Assembly does not have power on VAT, that is what brings us where we are today. The position as it is today the VAT law is no longer applicable in Nigeria. I respectfully disagree with your position sir.”

 

 

While addressing newsmen shortly after the hearing, the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Rotimi Olowo said, “it will make no sense if all money accruable to us in Lagos State is taken by the Federal Government. Lagos is working hard and we are sweating.”

 

 

He maintained that there is a lot of pressure on the State Government in terms of infrastructure, saying with the proposed law on VAT in the state, would bring about holistic development in the state.

 

 

Recall that a Federal High Court in Rivers State presided over by Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, had issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Attorney General of the federation, both first and second defendants in the suit, from collecting, demanding, threatening and intimidating residents of Rivers State to pay to FIRS, personnel income tax VAT.

 

 

Justice Pam made the assertion while delivering judgement in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, filed by the Attorney General for Rivers State (plaintiff), against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (first defendant) and the Attorney General of the Federation (second defendant).

 

 

The Court, which granted all the 11reliefs sought by the Rivers State Government, stated that there is no constitutional basis for the FIRS to demand for and collect VAT, Withholding Tax, Education Tax and Technology levy in Rivers State or any other State of the Federation, being that the constitutional powers and competence of the Federal Government is limited to taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains which does not include VAT or any other species of sales, or levy other than those specifically mentioned in items 58 and 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution.

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The judge dismissed the preliminary objections filed by the defendants that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the suit and that the case should be transferred to the Court of Appeal for interpretation.

 

 

Justice Pam, who also dismissed the objection raised by the defendants that the National Assembly ought to have been made a party in the suit, declared that the issues of taxes raised by the State government are issues of law that the court is constitutionally empowered to entertain.

 

 

He declared that after a diligent review of the issues raised by both the plaintiff and the defendants, the plaintiff has proven beyond doubt that it is entitled to all the eleven reliefs it sought in the suit.

 

 

The court agreed with the Rivers State Government that it is the State and not FIRS that is constitutionally entitled to impose taxes enforceable or collectable in its territory of the nature of consumption or sales tax, VAT, education and other taxes or levies, other than the taxes and duties specifically reserved for the Federal Government by items 58 and 59 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended.

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Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes

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Nigeria colours is currently flying high in far away United Arab Emirate, where her team came 1st in the senior category of an intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held at the weekend.

Spelling Bee

 

Nigeria team featured in 2 categories of the 2021 Intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held on Friday 24th September at the Best Western plus Hotel Deira Creek Dubai.

 

 

The team came 1st in the senior category courtesy Oni Inioluwa Daniel of the Ambassadors College, Ota and Nigeria also came 3rd with Olujobi Oluwadarasimi Opeyemi also of Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State.

 

 

In the junior category Pearl Koshi Etika-Matthews Eni Memorial High School, Calabar, Cross Rivers State came 2nd, whilst Nanret Adamu from St. Augustine College, DU, Jos, Plateau State emerged the most promising Speller in the Senior category.

 

 

The Nigerian Consulate in Dubai was ably represented by Consul Prince Wale Awolesi, who donated $500 of his personal funds to the over $4,000 left to settle their bill.

 

Peat Philips Foundation

Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.

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Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen

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A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

 

The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.

 

 

 

“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.

 

 

A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.

 

 

“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).

 

 

So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).

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“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.

 

 

They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?

 

 

“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.

 

 

They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.

 

 

“What?” I screamed.

“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.

 

 

“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.

 

 

 

“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’

 

 

“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”

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Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today

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Yoruba Nation

Three Nigerian groups On Yoruba Nation  are set for protests today at the United Nations headquarters in New as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) addresses the UN General Assembly.

 

 

While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.

 

 

One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.

 

 

Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.

 

 

PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’

 

 

 

Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”

 

 

He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.

 

The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”

 

 

Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.

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“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.

 

 

“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”

 

 

 

TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.

 

 

He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.

 

 

“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.

 

 

“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.

 

 

It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”

 

 

 PUNCH

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