Northern Governors, Traditional Rulers In Emergency Meeting Over VAT, Insecurity

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Governors from the Northern part of the country under the aegis of the Northern Governors’ Forum and traditional rulers from the region are holding an emergency meeting in Kaduna state.

Top on the agenda at the meeting are issues relating to the Value Added Tax (VAT), insecurity and economic problems confronting the region.

The meeting, taking place at the Executive Council Chamber of the Kaduna State Government House, is chaired by the Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong.

Those in attendance include the governors of Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Gombe states. The governors of Niger, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Zamfara and Taraba states are represented by their deputies.

Also present are the Sultan of Sokoto and the chairman of Northern Traditional Rulers Council, Abubakar Saad.

The Shehu of Borno, the Emir of Zazzau, Estu Nupe, Emir of Kano and other royal fathers are also at the meeting.

In his remark, the host governor, Nasir El-Rufai said the northern region is facing severe economic and security challenges that require the emergency meeting between the governors and traditional rulers.

According to El-Rufai, the forum will help chart a way forward to deal with these issues.

While highlighting the agenda for the meeting, the chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong, disclosed that the governors will take a common position on VAT collection and the surrounding controversies.

Last month, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had held that the Rivers state government can collect VAT within its jurisdiction.

However, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) challenged the judgement of the lower court at the Appeal Court.

At the Court of Appeal, the Lagos state government also filed an application to be joined with Rivers state as a co-defendant in the appeal filed by FIRS.

After debates and deliberations, the Appeal Court ordered parties in the suit to maintain status quo pending the determination of the appeal.

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