South-South Governors on Monday threw their weight behind Rivers and Lagos State Governments in the ongoing suit against the Federal Government on the rights to collect Value Added Tax.
The suit before the Supreme Court also has the Federal Inland Revenue Service as a defendant.
In a meeting of the South-South Governors Forum held at the Rivers Stare Government House, Port Harcourt, the governors also approved the launch of a security outfit for the six states in the region.
The forum noted that the BRACED (an acronym for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states) have already set up their security units.
The governors also called for details of the forensic audit carried out on the Niger Delta Development Commission to be made public.
It also called on the federal government to fully appropriate the law that enacted the creation of the NDDC by constituting a substantive board.
Chairman of the forum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State gave resolutions reached at the meeting as follows:
“One: Bearing in mind that most of the BRACED States have established their state security organs, we approve the regional security architecture which will be launched very soon.
“Two: Unequivocally support the decision for stated to collect the Value Added Tax and resolve to join the suit before the Supreme Court.
“The council urged the President and the National Assembly to take necessary measures to review some unfair aspects of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act to ensure fairness and equity.
“It urged that the amendment should include a clear definition of host communities and that the Trustees should be appointed by state governments.
“The council call upon the President and the Federal Government to uphold the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission by appropriately constituting its board.”
Governor Okowa exercised regret that the federal government has failed to consider the region’s request for “the relocation of NNPC subsidiaries and IOC’s headquarters to the Niger Delta and the completion of a number of projects in the region, notably roads,” during a dialogue with a delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.