Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers says the state is not fighting the Federal Government or any of its agencies over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) as hinted at in some quarters.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday at a public conference titled: “Taxing Powers in a Federal System” to mark Mr. Ahmed Raji’s 60th birthday, (SAN) Wike said the state was only trying to pursue what was right and legitimate within the arms of the Constitution.
The governor represented by the State Attorney General, Mr. Zacchaeus Adangor, (SAN) argued that Rivers and the Federal Government were co-equal because both derived their lives from the constitution.
“I have heard many comments that we are fighting the Federal Government, there is no desire or intention of the Rivers government to fight the Federal Government.
“The principle of co-equality is fundamental for a federal arrangement, this principle leads to the principle of autonomy, autonomy leads to physical autonomy and physical autonomy leads to physical federalism and when all the principles are put together, what it means is that Each level of government, whether federal or state, is co-equal because neither derives its life from the other.
“Both derive their life from the constitution because they have co-equality.
“That is the fundamental aspect of physical federalism and until we achieve it, we will continue this path of speaking without result but I believe that the court has a role to play, the court can end this crisis and controversy when it makes a statement.”
Also speaking at the event, Professor Abiola Sani appealed to the judiciary for a definitive and definitive ruling on the stalemate surrounding tax collection in Nigeria’s federal system.
Sani, a business law professor who was the guest speaker on the occasion, called on the National Assembly to use the ongoing constitutional amendment to highlight clear tax powers among the three levels of government. (NAN)