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VAT: Lagos given permission to join case with Rivers 

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The Lagos State Government Thursday has been granted the permission by the Appeal Court in Abuja to join Rivers State in the appeal case filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Recall that a court in Rivers granted the state permission to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) from companies operating within its jurisdiction, also, the Lagos state government swiftly enacted its law empowering it to do likewise but reacting to the decision, FIRS filed an appeal at the appellate court to challenge the collection of VAT by states.

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However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the court granted the request by Lagos and ordered all processes filed to be served on the Attorney-General of the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo.

The case was later adjourned to October 7, 2021 and would be heard at the Appellate Court in Port Harcourt.

On September 16, the court reserved its ruling on the application after Onigbanjo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), took his application for joinder in the suit.

He had informed the panel of judges led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that Lagos was entitled to collect VAT, giving that the VAT Act was approved by an order of a court, although it had been annulled.

According to the attorney-general, states that are recognised by the Constitution to collect VAT and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is aware of that fact.

He added that the principles for joinder of a party, seeking to be joined, must be a necessary party that has shown that its interest, legally and financially, would be affected.

While Onigbanjo explained that the case of joinder sought was to prevent multiplicity of action, counsel to the Rivers State government and SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, supported the application by the Lagos State government.

But counsel to the FIRS and SAN, Mahmoud Magaji, opposed the application for joinder while relying on Section 243 of the Constitution.

He stated that the Constitution does not support applications for joinder and Lagos State was not a party to the suit at the trial court.

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