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South-South governors ready to join VAT case in Supreme Court

… to set up BRACED security outfit …Want oil corporations relocated to oil region

Governors of South – South States of Nigeria who met in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Monday, have resolved to join the suit currently before the Supreme Court of Nigeria over collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) between Federal Inland Service (FIRS) and Rivers State.

They have also resolved to set up a regional security outfit that may be known as BRACED Outfit, to help in enforcement of anti-grazing law enacted by most of the southern states, as they are currently lacking enforcement.

The governors declared that they unequivocally support collection of VAT by State governments in Nigeria.

This is part of the six point communique that was read out to journalists by Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, who presided over the meeting of the South-South Governors Forum meeting that held at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday.

“The BRACED Council met on Monday, October 4th, 2021. After an extensive deliberation, the council resolved; unequivocally to support the decision for States to collect Value Added Tax, and resolved to join the suit before the Supreme Court.”

The meeting that was also attended by Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; Emmanuel Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom State; Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State and Senator Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa State, also approved the South-South regional security architecture which will be launched very soon.

Read Also: Can Edo race with other Southern states on anti-grazing, VAT bills?

This is predicated on the fact that most of the BRACED Commission States have already established their State security outfits.

The BRACAED Council called on the president and the Federal Government to uphold the tenets of the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by appropriately constituting its board.

In addition, the Council expressed the hope that the Federal Government will make the forensic audit report on the NDDC public and be courageous enough to deal justly and fairly with the report with the view to strengthening the capacity of NDDC to meet its obligations to the people of the region.

Also contained in the communique is the demand by the Council on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to take necessary measures to review some unfair aspects of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the spirit of fairness and equity.

“It (Council) urged that the amendment should include clear definition of host community and that the trustees should be appointed by State Governments.

“Council regretted that the President and the Federal Government has generally failed to give reasonable consideration to requests made by the region during the dialogue with the special federal delegation led by Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the President.

“Notable among the requests were the relocation of the NNPC subsidiaries and IOCs headquarters to the Niger Delta, and a completion of a number of federal projects in the region, notably roads.”

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