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Appeal Court joins Lagos in Rivers, FIRS’ dispute, Oyo joins VAT fight

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday granted the application by Lagos State, through its Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, to be made a respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service on the controversial Value Added Tax.

The court, therefore, joins Lagos State as the Third Respondent in the appeal the FIRS filed to set aside the judgement of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, which gave Rivers State the nod to collect VAT revenues within its territory.

The appeal by the FIRS came against the August 9, 2021 judgment by Justice Steven Pam of the Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, voiding the VAT Act and holding the states could collect VAT.

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Delivering his ruling, Justice Haruna Tsanami, held that Lagos State had effectively shown that it has sufficient interest to protect by being made a party in the case.

The Court rejected the objections by the FIRS and the Attorney General of the Federation and proceeded to join the AG of Lagos State as the third respondent.

The Court ordered that all processes so far filed in the case be served on the AG of Lagos and that further proceedings in the case will continue at the Port-Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal on October 7.

Oyo State government has asked to be joined in the battle to take over collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The state asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to join it in the suit instituted by the Rivers State government against the attorney-general of the federation in respect of the bid by the state to take over the role from the federal agency.

The suit was filed on a day Governor Seyi Makinde proposed N294.51 billion Appropriation Bill for the 2022 fiscal year to the House of Assembly for scrutiny and approval.

In the suit, filed by its Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, the state is seeking an order of the appellate court to enable Oyo State to join the suit as an interested party.

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