Former deputy president of the senate, Ike Ekweremadu has called on the national assembly not to interfere in the ongoing battle between the Federal Inland Revenue Service and some states over collection of the Value-added tax (VAT) and stamp duties.
There has been legal tussle between Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and some state governments, Rivers and Lagos States specifically, over VAT collection.
Reacting to the development, Ikweremadu urged the National Assembly not to embark on any legislation over the collection of the value-added tax (VAT) and stamp duties, stressing that allowing the litigations to run the full course could be a major step towards strengthening the nation’s federalism.
Uche Anichukwu, media aide to the former lawmaker, in a statement on Sunday, quoted him to have said: “I commend Governors Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu as well as the Rivers and Lagos Houses of Assembly for their courageous moves,”
“It is by so doing that our constitution or laws can be tested and our federalism strengthened.
“In April 2012, I delivered a lecture at the Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada, entitled ‘Nigerian Federalism: A Case for a Review’.
“On the occasion, I forewarned that Nigeria would surely run into stormy economic weather unless we reinvented our federalism, steering the country away from a military-imposed ‘feeding bottle federalism’ to one predicated on self-reliance, hard work, enterprise, and resourcefulness.
“This I believe, will catalyse national development and economic prosperity.
“Many others have also made related calls. Unfortunately, only a few people were interested in what we were talking about.
“Although we achieved a number of successes, perhaps my worst experience at the helms of the constitution amendment process was in the Seventh Assembly.
“We recorded the most elaborate amendments to our constitution, including the rearrangement of the Legislative Lists to devolve more powers to the subnational governments by moving certain items like Aviation, Railway, Power, Stamp Duties, among others to the Concurrent Legislative List. Unfortunately, the amendments were denied assent by the President.
“But as a lawyer and lawmaker, I know that case law or judicial precedent is also a veritable source of law.
“So, I think we should allow the constitution and the laws of our land to be tested in the courts of law.