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Appeal court joins Lagos in FIRS appeal over VAT collection

COURT OF APPEAL HEADQUARTER, NIGERIA

The court of appeal, Abuja division, has granted the application of the Lagos state government as a co-respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The FIRS is challenging the judgment of the federal high court, Port Harcourt, which restrained the agency from collecting VAT and personal income tax (PIT) in Rivers state.

At the lower court, the FIRS had appealed for a stay of execution, but the court dismissed it on the basis that it would “negate the principle of equity”.

Consequently, FIRS went to the court of appeal.

On September 10, the Attorney-general of Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo, applied to be joined as a party in the appeal. The state had also passed a VAT bill into law.

Onigbanjo had submitted that the outcome of the appeal would have a direct impact on the state.

“My lord, it is not in dispute that Lagos, one of the federating states in Nigeria, is entitled to collect VAT and that’s our interest,” he said.

“Even the appellant recognised that the Lagos state government has an interest in the matter in their affidavits in support of stay of execution where copious reference was made to the Lagos state government.”

Delivering ruling on Thursday, Haruna Tsammani, presiding judge, held that Lagos state has been able to prove that it has a direct interest in the subject matter of this appeal.

He agreed that all the reliefs sought by the Rivers state government which were granted at the high court made reference to “any other state of the federation.”

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“It is not in doubt that Lagos state is a constituent state in Nigeria,” the judge held.

“It is, therefore, my finding that the applicant has been able to establish that he has a direct case in the subject matter of this appeal.

“The application for joinder is in the appeal as the third respondent is accordingly granted.”

The court also ordered that all the processes in the suit should be served on the state.

On Tuesday, Oyo state also filed a joiner application before the court of appeal.

Lawbreed Limited

Publishers of Judgments of The Supreme Court of Nigeria (S.C Report) - on the Authority of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

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