By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation AGF and the governments of Adamawa, Plateau and Kaduna States are set, this week, to join the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in its appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that empowered Rivers state to collect the tax.
Two others; Kogi and Zamfara, are also in the wings watching to join the fray, it has been revealed.
The high court had in the judgment ruled against the FIRS in the tax collection tussle and ordered that the Rivers State Government was the rightful collector of the tax among others.
The FIRS had challenged the judgment at the Court of Appeal seeking that high court verdict be set aside.
However, a source close to the AGF and governors of the three states on Sunday in Abuja said they would file a leave of the court to be joined in the suit on Tuesday.
Although the AGF is already a defendant in the appeal, the source hinted that the Federal Ministry of Justice under the AGF has opted to be part of the appellant in the matter so as to enable it argue effectively in support of the FIRS.
“They are going to seek to be joined in the suit as co-appellants against the federal high court’s judgment that favours Rivers State.
“These states understand the possible consequences if the final judgment at the Supreme Court goes against the FIRS.They are going to take the fight as if it is theirs,” the source stated.
“In fact, their motion papers would be ready by October 4 and will be filed on Tuesday October 5. I can confirm that one to you, the source revealed .
The source also added that more states especially Kogi and Zamfara are going to be joining the suit to form a coalition with the FIRS.
However, Dr Jibrilla Umar Gwandu, Senior Special Assistant to AGF Abubakar Malami SAN could not be reached for comment at the time of filing this report.
The decision of the three states is coming on the heels of the communique released by the Northern State Governors’ Forum last week where they expressed dissent and disagreement with the VAT laws of Lagos and Rivers State.
“VAT is being confused by Lagos and Rivers state governments as a sales tax. If every state government enacted its own VAT law, multiple taxation would result in increase in prices of goods and services and collapse in inter-state trade,” Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong offered said while reading the communique of the meeting of the Governors.