VAT War Continue - Rivers, Lagos await Supreme Court hearing


The Supreme Court has yet to fix a date for the hearing of the appeal filed by the Rivers State Government challenging the order of the Court of Appeal, which directed parties to maintain status quo in the dispute over the right authority to collect Value Added Tax in the state.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service had approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the judgement of the Federal High Court in Rivers State which ruled on August 9 that the state, and not the FIRS, should be the authority collecting VAT and Personal Income Tax in the state.

The Court of Appeal had on September 10 ruled that the parties in the suit should maintain status quo. On Thursday, however, the Appeal Court also said it reserved ruling on the application for a joinder filed by the Lagos State Government.

It can be recalled that the Rivers State Government had approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria to challenge the ruling of the Court of Appeal that the parties should maintain status quo.

The counsel for the Rivers State Government on the matter, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), told newsmen on Friday that they had just filed their processes at the apex court and had yet to be given a date.

“No date yet,” he said. “We just filed (the appeal). We need to settle records. When we have done that, they will give us a date.”

In the notice of appeal, the Rivers State Government argued among others that the “Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they relied on the provisions of Section 6(6) of the constitution and the inherent jurisdiction of the court to found their decision to make an order to maintain status quo which they identified as restoring the parties to the position they were before the judgment of the Federal High Court in FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 was delivered on August 9, 2021.”

Rivers State also argued that “the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the oral application for maintenance of status quo made by the Counsel for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (the 1st Respondent herein) in spite of the fact that a condition precedent to the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal was not fulfilled by the 1st Respondent.”

It also alleged that the justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law and breached Rivers State’s right to fair hearing when they entertained a vague oral application for maintenance of status quo and went ahead to make far-reaching orders.

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