THE Court of Appeal has granted the application of the Lagos State Government to join Rivers State as a co-defendant in a suit filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the power of states to administer and collect value added tax (VAT) in the country.
The plea was granted by the court’s Presiding Judge Haruna Tsammani on Thursday.
He held that Lagos State had been able to prove that it had a direct interest in the subject matter of this appeal.
The judge also agreed that all the reliefs sought by Rivers State Government, which were granted at the high court, would apply to any other state of the federation.
The court equally ordered that all the processes in the suit should be served on the state.
Lagos State Attorney General Moyosore Onigbanjo had, during the hearing of the suit earlier this month, notified the appeal court sitting in Abuja on the willingness of his state to join the suit.
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 had 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.”
The FIRS is challenging a Port Harcourt Federal High Court judgement which held last month that the Rivers State Government had powers to collect VAT within its territory.