The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has threatened to seal off Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) offices if they continue to “bully” organisations within the state over value-added tax (VAT) payment.
Wike made this known during an interactive session with corporate organisations in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
In August, the court had issued an order restraining FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers and directed the state government to take charge of the collection.
After the judgment, Wike signed a bill on value-added tax (VAT) collection into law.
On Monday, the court also dismissed an application by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) seeking to stay of execution on the VAT controversy.
Despite this, FIRS asked taxpayers to continue to honour their tax obligations under the VAT Act until the court of appeal or supreme court gives a final verdict on the matter.
The governor had said the judgment of the federal high court had sufficiently addressed the illegality perpetrated by the FIRS.
“An agency of government cannot dictate to a state government. If they will ever dictate but not to a state like Rivers because certainly, we will not allow it, Wike said.
“People say that ‘let heaven not fall’, sometimes I believe that it is important that heaven should come down so everybody will rest.
“We have challenged it (VAT collection in court), and we have no apologies to anybody. And the problem in this country is that no one wants to come out.
“And all these bullyings by FIRS…they should mind the state they are bullying, they should be very careful. You don’t bully states like us.
“I have the political will to do a lot of things. I am not one of those governors that will shy away from this or that. If they continue to bully us… all their offices in the state, I will take them. You should know those that you bully, not states like us… don’t try it.
“I will not be a party to injustice, but let history be that some of us stood up and challenged the illegality. Until we leave May 29, 2023, I will continue to challenge what I think is not right.”
The governor also said that shares allocated to states from VAT collection are inequitable and unjust.
UN Deputy Sec Gen Condemns Gruesome Killing of Deborah, Demands Justice
Amina Muhammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, has called for justice following the killing of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto over blasphemy.
Muhammed spoke out via her official Twitter page on Tuesday, stating that religions should not be “misinterpreted to preach violence”.
“Justice must be done for the senseless, brutal killing of the young Deborah Yakubu in Nigeria. Religions should not be misinterpreted to preach violence when they promote peace.
“My prayers are with the family and for the repose of her soul,” she tweeted.
On Monday, the Sokoto Police Command arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in the state, for their alleged participation in the crime.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges while the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
The trial judge reserved the ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.
AfDB’s Adesina Not Contesting for Presidency – Report
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, will not be contesting the Presidency of Nigeria.
A support group had purchased and submitted the N100m Presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the top banker last week.
Some had also reported that Adesina visited Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) last week to seek his support.
But The PUNCH confirmed that Adesina will not be taking part in the Presidential screening of the APC slated for May 23.
Adesina’s office is expected to issue a statement in a few hours distancing himself from Nigeria’s partisan politics.
The AfDB regulations bar its President from partisan politics.
Specifically, Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the agreement establishing AfDB, titled ‘Prohibition of Political Activity; the International Character of the Bank’, states that “The Bank, its President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member (country); nor shall they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member (country) concerned.”
Paragraph 3 of the article states that “The President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff of the Bank, in discharge of their offices, owe their duty entirely to the Bank and to no other authority.”
Similarly, the AfDB code of conduct bars its executive from partisan politics. Section 10 of the Code reads: “Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as executive directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere.”
Should Adesina seek to run for the office of President of Nigeria, he would need to resign his current position permanently, a risk it was learnt the top banker was not willing to take.
There are at least 25 other aspirants running for President on the platform of the APC.
Some of them include APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; oil mogul, Tein Jack-Rich; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and many others.
N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris
Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.
According to the report, Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.
Sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.
The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.
The sources further said that after progress was made in the investigation, Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.
“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”
However, a top EFCC confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.
President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.