By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Nigerian Opposition Coalition (CUPP) and Action Peoples Party (APP) has dragged the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to court.
CUPP and its alliance party members, APP are seeking an order to set aside the increment on Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on Nigerians by the present APC administration.
Other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1249/2019, filed at the Federal High Court Abuja, are the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Specifically, the plaintiffs are praying for an order setting aside the 7.5% increment, amendment, variation or howsoever described in the chargeable tax rate of the VAT as it relates to the supply and consumption of goods and services in Nigeria.
Similarly, the plaintiffs are seeking an order of mandatory injunction restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, agencies, ministries, officers, agents or howsoever described from further implementing or in any other manner howsoever carrying out or giving effect to the 7.5% increment, amendment or variation in the chargeable tax rate of the VAT as it relates to the supply and consumption of goods and services in Nigeria.
Obed Agu, Esq, instituted the legal action, which was filed on October 17, on behalf of the plaintiffs, Action Peoples Alliance and Barr Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.
The plaintiff is prayed the court for a declaration that the FG, President Buhari and Finance Minister do not have the powers to unilaterally amend or override any provision of the Value Added Tax Act as it relate to the imposition of chargeable tax rate without going through the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for an amendment of the relevant provisions thereof.
They wants a declaration that the act or conduct of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants in unilaterally amending, varying, modifying or increasing the chargeable tax rate of the Value Added Tax to 7.5% without following the due process of law is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
Also, they are seeking a declaration that the FG and Finance Minister are under a primary constitutional obligation to consider the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry in line with the fundamental objectives and directives principles of the state policy in imposing, amending, varying and/or increasing the chargeable tax rate of the VAT as it relates to supply and consumption of goods and services in Nigeria.
“A declaration that 1st and 3rd Defendants by failing in their primary constitutional obligation of considering the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry before the imposition, amendment, variation and/or increment in the chargeable tax rate of the VAT to 7.5% acted unconstitutionally, capriciously, mala fide and illegally.
The suit has been assigned to Justice Inyang Ekwo, but no date has been fixed for mention.
Meanwhile, addressing newsmen at the Federal High Court on Tuesday, spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere expressed optimism that “the judiciary will strike down the insensitive and anti people VAT increment.
“For a government to clearly go outside the direct provisions of the law just to suffer citizens and tax them out of existence is condemnable, arbitrary, undemocratic, tyrannical, capricious, oppressive, cruel and indeed must be rejected and resisted” Ugochinyere said.