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Truck drivers pray court to stop multiple taxation by states, LGAS

Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria has approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying it to order the attorney-general of the federation, 36 states of the federation, and the FCT to stop multiple roadblocks and collection of taxes, levies and fees from heavy-duty and haulage vehicles across the country.

The originating summons with reference number FHC/ ABJ/CS/1198/2020 and dated September 21, 2020, was filed by their lawyer, Abel Ozioko.

Joined in the suit as defendants are the 774 local government areas in-country through the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and the National Freight Haulers Association.

The truck drivers are asking the court to determine whether the provisions of items 59, 62 (a) and 63 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List For Collection) Act, the states and local governments are prohibited from mounting roadblocks for the purposes of tax collection.

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The truck drivers decried extortion and harassment of their members on highways, adding that the food crisis already being witnessed in Nigeria was as a result of difficulty faced by their members in conveying food items to various parts of the country.

They are seeking a declaration of the court that the defendants “are by the provisions of Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, prohibited from mounting a roadblock in any part of the Federation of Nigeria for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers.”

“A declaration of this court that by Section 2 (2) and (3) of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, the 4th to 41st defendants are not empowered to collect any form of taxes, levies or fees from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers on any federal highway or federal trunk roads in Nigeria.

“A declaration of this court that the 1st plaintiff is entitled to monitor the trucks of its members transporting goods and produce on several highways in Nigeria, to ensure their compliance with all traffic regulations and to avoid diversion of their trucks.

“A declaration of this honourable court that the 4th to 41st defendants are only entitled to collect tax from payable at the 3rd and 42nd defendants a single haulage fee at the state of departure and a point of loading of the goods at the point of off-loading the single haulage fee payable at the point”.

They are further demanding an order restraining the defendants’ agents or by themselves, whatever name they may be called from collecting multiple taxation or further stopping or erecting or hindering any road movement whatever of the plaintiffs’ means in any part of Nigeria highway or federal trunk road in Nigeria.

The plaintiffs want the court to stop the defendants from collecting for the purpose tax, levy and haulage fee from heavy-duty drivers. No date has been fixed for hearing.

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