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Treat VAT suit as matter of urgency, Wike begs supreme court

  Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has appealed to the supreme court to give the case before it concerning the collection of value-added tax...

 


Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has appealed to the supreme court to give the case before it concerning the collection of value-added tax (VAT) between his state and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the urgency it requires.

 

Wike made the appeal at the march-past and parade in commemoration of the 62nd independence anniversary of Nigeria in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

 

According to a statement from Kelvin Ebiri, his special adviser on media, he said such urgency and eventual ruling of the case in favour of the state, would further add more financial resources that will accelerate the economic growth of Rivers.

 

“We have also not given up in our determination to right the injustice associated with the collection and distribution of value-added taxes generated from the state by the federal government, just as we again, call on the supreme court to please, treat this matter with the urgency that it requires,” Wike was quoted as saying.

 

The issue of VAT collection had generated a legal battle between FIRS and some state governments.

 

Rivers and Lagos state governments had enacted laws and called for decentralisation of collection, while some states pushed for centralised collection.

 

But in September last year, a court of appeal directed the states to maintain status quo pending the determination of an appeal filed by FIRS.

 

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Not satisfied with the injunction, the Rivers state government filed the matter before the supreme court.

 

The case is still in court.

 

Wike said since 1999 that the country returned to democracy, it has continued to witness deliberate constitutional distortions, institutional weaknesses and widespread corruption that have prevented Nigerians from enjoying a robust democratic practice.

 

He highlighted the absence of a free and fair elections, the rule of law, and social justice as part of experiences that are yet to take root in Nigeria.

 

 “This is not to say that Nigeria has not made any progress as a nation,” the governor said.

 

“Certainly, we have achieved some visible developmental strides and economic progress as Africa’s largest economy.

 

“The fact that we have remained together despite the recurrent conflicts and crisis of confidence is also worth celebrating as an achievement.

 

“But, after 62 years, Nigeria deserves more than what it has achieved and Nigerians likewise deserve much more than what their leaders have delivered to them with the country’s enormous natural and human resources.”

 

Wike bemoaned the “inability” of the federal government, led by All Progressives Congress (APC), over the last seven years, to keep the economic and social conditions within Nigeria from deteriorating.

 

He pointed to such inability as evidence that the APC-led federal government is totally bereft of measures it could take to stem or ameliorate the predicaments they have visited on Nigerians.

 

 “Life is sacrosanct, but the present federal government has failed in the most basic duty to the nation to protect the lives and property of its citizens,” Wike said.

 

“Under their watch, infrastructure across all sectors, including roads, education and healthcare has collapsed. Tertiary education has remained comatose for over seven months and with no employment opportunities, the federal government continues to toy with the future of the youths.”

 

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