SOUTH SOUTH GOVS JOIN RIVERS IN VAT SUIT AT SUPREME COURT

Governors of South-South states in Nigeria, on Monday, October 4, 2021, resolved to join Rivers State in the suit challenging the Federal Government, represented by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), currently before the Supreme Court.

NAN reports that the resolution of the Governors was contained in a six-point communique read to newsmen by Chairman of the South South Governors Forum and Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, at the end of the regional Governors Forum meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“The Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Council, after an extensive deliberation, resolved unequivocally to support the decision for states to collect VAT and resolved to join the suit before the Supreme Court.

“This is predicated on the fact that most of the BRACED commission states have already established their state security outfits,” the communique stated.

The BRACED council called on the president and the Federal Government to uphold the tenets of the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by appropriately constituting its board.

Furthermore, the Council expressed the hope that the Federal Government would make the forensic audit report on the NDDC public and be courageous enough to deal justly and fairly with the report to strengthen the capacity of the organisation.

The communique demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly take necessary measures to review some aspects of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the spirit of fairness and equity.

The communique requests that NNPC subsidiaries and International Oil Companies (IOCs) head offices be relocated to the Niger Delta and also the completion of some federal projects in the region, such as roads.

The meeting was attended by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (who is the host Governor), Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom state; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Sen. Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa. They are all Governors on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party PDP.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State, who recently defected from PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, was conspicuously absent and did not send his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, to represent the state at the meeting.

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