The Southern Governors convened in Enugu on Thursday and declared that it is within their jurisdiction to collect the Value Added Tax, or VAT. This comes amid a dispute between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, which is now being litigated.
The governors also restated their support for an open- grazing ban, pushing each state in the area to pass legislation as soon as possible.
Rotimi Akeredolu, Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ondo State, released a communiqué following the meeting. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Babajide Sanwolu of Lagos, Gbega Oyetola of Osun, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, and the host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State were also in attendance.
Rauf Olaniyan, Oyo, Bisi Egbeyemi, Ekiti, Philip Shuaib, Edo, Ude Okochukwu, Abia, Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi, and Placid Njoku, Imo were among the Deputy Governors in attendance.
The following is the complete text of the communiqué:
The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum met today, Thursday, September 16th, 2021, in Government House, Enugu, Enugu State, to examine the state or the nation, as well as the progress of implementing the resolutions taken in previous sessions, and to settle the following:
- Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which Southern Nigerian states are enacting or amending Anti- Open Grazing Laws that are consistent with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors, and encouraged those states that have yet to do so to do so quickly.
Encouraged the full operationalization of previously agreed- upon regional security groups that would meet, share intelligence, and collaborate to ensure the region’ s security and safety.
- Reaffirmed the Forum’ s earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism, as resolved at the Forum’ s inaugural meeting on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 in Asaba, Delta State, and emphasized the need for the Southern States to use the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National Assembly, to pursue their inclusion in the Nigeran Cooperative Union.
In accordance with paragraph 3′′ above, the meeting decided to support the position that VAT collection is a state responsibility.
- Expressed satisfaction with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum’ s handling of issues relating to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the south, in accordance with the principles of equity, justice, and fairness in Nigerian politics.
- The Southern Governors’ Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State to host the next meeting in November 2021.
SAN Governor of Ondo State and Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum Arakunrin Oluwarotim O. Akeredólu.