The seeming revolt orchestrated against the Federal Government over tax related matters by the Government of Rivers State, which is gradually enjoying support among States in the country, appears to have suffered a minor setback.
An Appellate Court sitting in Abuja says that in order to protect the ‘res’ in the matter before it, the Rivers State as well as Lagos State Governments should maintain the status quo.
The Court of Appeal Friday, ordered Rivers and Lagos States to maintain status quo on the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT.
It ruled that its order would stay in force, pending the determination of an appeal lodged by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
The Court explained that the order was made to preserve the subject matter of the appeal before it.
It urged all the parties to “refrain from taking any action to give effect to the judgement of the Rivers State High Court”, which gave Rivers State Government the right to collect VAT revenue, instead of the FIRS.
Before issuing the order, a panel of three Justices led by Justice Haruna Tsammani deferred hearing on an application filed by Lagos State to be joined as an interested party in the matter.
Lagos through its Attorney-General, Moyosore Onibanjo, SAN, protested against the issuance of an order for the maintenance of status quo.
The State argued that such an order of court could not be binding on it, since it was yet to be joined as a party in the appeal by FIRS.
Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had ordered the business community operating in Rivers to remit VAT payments to the State Government.
Lagos State responded, passing a bill on VAT which is yet to be assented to by the Governor.
Across the country, a new corridor of war over earnings from stamp duties has opened and the 36 states are joined together in the battle against the Federal Government.
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