The Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted the request of the Lagos State Government to be joined in the suit challenging the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) of states.

The Lagos State Government had in the suit sought to join the Rivers State Government in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which empowered Rivers state to collect VAT and not the federal tax authority.

In the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the court also ordered all processes filed, to be served on the Attorney General of Lagos State. The case was then adjourned to October 7 and will be heard at the Appellate Court in Port Harcourt.

What you should know

Recall that on September 10, a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted permission to Lagos to seek to join in the suit over VAT collection between the FIRS and the River State government in the interest of justice.

About 2 weeks ago, the Court of Appeal in Abuja reserved its ruling on the application for a joinder filed by the Lagos State government as the legal tussle over the collection of VAT continued.

When the court resumed sitting on September 16, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Moyesore Onigbanjo, told the panel of judges led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that Lagos was entitled to collect VAT, stressing that the VAT Act was approved by an order of the court, although it has been annulled.

Onigbanjo added that going by the submissions of the FIRS, Lagos State has already enacted the VAT law and it would lead to another action if they were not allowed to be joined in the suit. He, therefore, urged the court to uphold the application for joinder, arguing that the case of joinder sought to prevent multiplicity of action.

On his part, counsel to the Rivers State government and SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, supported the application for joinder by the Lagos State government.

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