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VAT Saga: Oyo State seeks to join Rivers’ suit against FG

The Oyo State Government has asked the Court of Appeal, sitting in Port Harcourt, to be joined in the suit instituted by the Rivers State Government against the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The suit is in respect of the bid by the Rivers government to take over the collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT) from the Federal Government.

The joinder request is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Ibadan by Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seyi Makinde.

According to the statement, the suit instituted by the Attorney-General of Oyo State, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, is seeking an order of the Appellate Court to enable Oyo State to join the suit as an interested party.

“In the suit, the Government of Oyo State is seeking two orders, viz: an order of the Honourable 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.

“According to the Attorney-General of Oyo State, the government of Oyo State was unaware of the suit between the Attorney-General of Rivers State and the Federal Inland Revenue Service at the Federal High Court until the judgment was delivered.

“Other grounds upon which the application was based include that the decision of the appellate 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.

“Oyo State Government also indicates that the applicant,  Attorney-General of the State, represents the interest of the Oyo State Government, whose interest in the collection of VAT within Oyo State will be impacted one way or another by any judgment delivered by this Honourable Court in this appeal,” the statement read.

According to the statement, the grounds claimed by the Oyo State Government include that :“The applicant is a necessary party to this suit being a party who will be bound by the judgment of this Honourable 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.

According to the Oyo State Government, it is in the interest of justice that the appellate court grants the application, adding that the joinder will not prejudice the appellants and respondents.

It further stated that the state, being one of the 36 states of Nigeria, would be affected by the decision of the appellate court.

It added that joining the state to the suit already instituted by Rivers would help to avoid multiplicity of suits by the states against the Federal 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 was a necessary party to be joined since it has sufficient interest in the outcome of the appeal.

The state argued that after going through its processes, the appellate court would find that the application was necessary and that it has sufficient interest in the determination of the appeal as one of the states of the federation.

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