States’ attorneys general meet in Lagos over VAT, others

Attorneys-General of the 36 states are meeting in Lagos from tomorrow to June 17 to discuss critical legal issues relating to Value Added Tax (VAT), Paris Club refunds, stamp duties and others.

Chairman of Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State helmsman, Rotimi Akeredolu, is delivering the keynote address.

Other matters for deliberation are proposed amendments to Stamp Duties Act, pensions and gratuity for judges, as well as rejigging of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Other major legal issues to be considered are anti-corruption commissions established by states, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) threat to recover “unremitted tax deductions by states and local governments.”

The gathering is also to be addressed by Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Simon Lalong of Lagos and Plateau states. Other speakers are Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata and Director-General of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishana Okauru.

The body’s interim chairman and Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), would also make a presentation.

The body was established as part of efforts to form a formidable force of state attorney-generals to take positions on legal issues, advise the AGF and take legal action or review legal actions taken on behalf of the states.

Part of its mandate includes pursuit of true federalism, adherence to the constitution, rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

The chief law officers recently warned the Federal Government against tampering with funds accruing to the states and the 774 local councils in the guise of satisfying the alleged $418 million London/Paris Club loan refund-related judgment debts.

They had insisted that the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which dismissed their opposition to the payment, is now a subject of an appeal at the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal.

They further warned that should the Federal Government proceed to make further deduction, it would be acting illegally and in contempt of their appeal challenging the judgment.

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