The Nigerian Federal Government has made it known that it might consider heading to the Supreme Court to resolve and settle the controversy surrounding the Value Added Tax (VAT) collection by states. ayokinews.com reports
This was made known by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
AGF Malami also made it clear that the federal government wasn’t supporting the Northern Governors against the Southern Governors resolve to ban ‘Open Grazing’ in their respective states.
Speaking on the VAT issue, AGF Malami said, “There were certain judgments obtained by some state governors before their respective state High Courts, and arising from those judgments and the laws that were passed by those state governments, the Federal Government filed an appeal against the judgment challenging the laws that were put in place, which I feel has been determined by the Court of Appeal.
“The Court of Appeal has granted an order of stay of execution, directing these state governments to maintain status quo pending the determination of the main appeal and these matters are being considered for determination.
“The Federal Government is looking at all options at its disposal, inclusive of the possibility of invoking the jurisdiction, the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, taking into consideration that the dispute at hand is a dispute between the states and the Federal Government, in respect of which only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to entertain, taking into consideration, the constitutional provisions relating thereto. So, this is the position we are as far as contention among the parties relating to VAT is concerned.”
When asked by newsmen if he wasn’t worried that the position his office had expressed on VAT and ‘Open Grazing’ laws would influence the course of justice, the AGF replied: “On the issue of farmer/ herder clashes, no position was taken by the Office of the Attorney General outside the scope of the constitutional provisions.
“The position of the office is about freedom and liberty of movement among others….And what the Office of the Attorney General has simply succeeded in doing is making a reference to relevant constitutional provisions and established a position that each and every Nigerian is entitled to freedom of movement.”