Kaduna hosted an emergency meeting of the governors of the 19 northern states, which was convened under the auspices of the Northern Governors’ Forum. A meeting of the regional governors was scheduled for Monday to discuss issues relating to the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT), which is currently being litigated in the Supreme Court.
It was hosted by the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, who was also in attendance.
A closed-door meeting was held immediately following their arrival at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House in the state capital, before an open-door meeting was held that included traditional rulers from the northern region.
The monarchs from northern states and Abuja were led to the meeting by Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, Chairman of the Northern Traditional Council and Sultan of Sokoto, who would also speak on the anti-open grazing law passed by the Southern Governors Forum.
The meeting was presided over by Simon Lalong, the governor of Plateau State who also serves as the Forum’s chairman.
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There were several governors in attendance including Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Plateau Governor Simon Lalong, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru, Borno State Governor Prof. Babagana Zulum, and Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule.
There were also deputy governors from Kwara, Kano, Benue, and Kogi, as well as the Secretary to the governments of the 19 northern states, who were all in attendance.
At the outset of his remarks as host, El-Rufai, while welcoming his colleagues, expressed concern that the region was grappling with serious challenges such as economic hardship, insecurity, and the issue of federalism, and that these issues required immediate attention and solutions.
According to the Chairman of the Forum, the Forum’s last meeting, held in February, was an opportunity to receive progress reports as well as to critically examine pressing national issues such as the Value Added Tax and others, and to make decisions that would have a positive impact on the region.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto stated that Nigerians had high expectations for today’s meeting of the regional governors, and he urged the Forum to reflect on the previous meeting and the extent to which its resolution had been put into effect.
Abubakar thanked and commended some governors in the region who had done a commendable job in combating insecurity in the North, noting that the regional monarchs were always willing to work with the governors to move the region forward in areas such as poverty alleviation, education, and infrastructure development.
As previously reported, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ruled last month that Rivers State possessed the authority to collect VAT within its territorial jurisdiction.
FIRS to Appeal VAT
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, on the other hand, was on its way to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision. At the appeals court, Lagos State filed an application to be joined with Rivers State as a co-defendant in the FIRS’s appeal, arguing that the FIRS’s appeal should be dismissed.
The appeals court ordered the parties to the suit to maintain the status quo ante until the appeals court rendered a decision.