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VAT: Oyo Seeks To Join Rivers State In Suit Against FG

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Oyo State government has sought to join in the suit instituted by the Rivers State government seeking to take over the collection of Value-Added Tax from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The suit is against the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been locked in a legal battle with Rivers and Lagos states over which government should collect Value-Added Tax- state or federal.

Instituted by the Attorney-General of Oyo State, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, the suit is seeking an order of the Appellate Court to enable the state join the suit as an interested party, Tribune reports.

In the suit, Oyo State government is seeking two orders, which are an order of the court joining the Attorney-General of Oyo State as a respondent on the appeal with suit number FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 and appeal number CA/PH/282/2021, and any other order the court may deem fit.

Oyewo said the state government was not aware of the suit between his Rivers State counterpart and the FIRS at the Federal High Court until the judgment was delivered.

Other grounds upon which the application was based include that the decision of the Appeal Court will affect the collection of VAT by the government of Oyo State, being one of the states which the judgment of the lower court recognised as entitled to collect VAT within its territorial jurisdiction.

The state government also indicates that the applicant (Attorney-General of Oyo State) “represents the interest of Oyo State government, whose interest in the collection of Value Added Tax within Oyo State will be impacted one way or another by any judgment delivered by this Court in this Appeal”.

The grounds claimed by the state government state among others that: “The applicant is a necessary party to this suit being a party who will be bound by the judgment of this court in this appeal.

“The interests of the applicant and that of the respondent, in this case, are similar, being states within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

An affidavit filed in support of the motion stated that it is in the interest of justice that the court grants the application, adding that the joinder would not prejudice the appellants/respondents.

It also stated that Oyo, being one of the 36 states in the country, will be affected by the decision of the Appeal Court, adding that joining the state to the suit already instituted by Rivers State will help to avoid multiplicity of suits by the states against the Nigerian government.

In a motion on notice also attached to the proceedings already filed before the court, Oyo State said it relied on eight grounds and declared that the state is a necessary party to be joined since it has sufficient interest in the outcome of the appeal.

“We, therefore, urge the court to resolve the sole issue raised in this application in favour of the applicant and hold that the Applicant is a proper, desirable and necessary party to be joined in this appeal…

“In conclusion, we humbly urge your Lordships to grant this application in the interest of justice and effective determination of the issues before the court,” it said.

Source:- Sahara Reporters

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