Except President Muhammadu Buhari urgently sets a machinery in motion for the much sought after restructuring of the twisted Nigerian federal system, some of the aggrieved states of the federation are likely to achieve that through legal means.
Spurred by the success of Rivers State on Value Added Tax (VAT) collection, attorneys general of the 38 are in court to extract more revenue from Abuja. They have sued the Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, for non-remittance of stamp duties fund generated from the states.
The chief law officers of the states are claiming that funds generated from stamp duties are not remitted into states’ coffers, and as such they are seeking an order of the court to mandate Mr Malami to pay N176 billion for the backlog of stamp duties received between 2015 and 2020.
They are praying for an order of court directing the defendant to pay over to the plaintiffs all the sum of monies amounting to one hundred and seventy-six billion, sixty-seven million, four hundred thousand naira (N176,067,400,000,00) representing ascertained and admitted collected stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within their respective states for the period of 2015 and 2020.
They are also seeking an order of perpetual injunction, “restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or how so ever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth.”
In addition, they sought to declare thatMalami had no right to withhold stamp duty transactions from individuals in their states, arguing further that Malami should not be allowed to collect, administer or collect stamp duties.
“A declaration that the defendant is not entitled to collect, administer, or keep the proceeds of any stamp duties on transactions involving individuals within the respective states of the plaintiffs or any manner interfere with the plaintiff’s right and authority in the administering the provision of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,” the document explained.
They sought the court to declare their entitlement to receive 85 per cent of stamp duties generated from electronic money transfer levies and others.
They are equally demanding a declaration that “the plaintiffs are entitled to 85% of all stamp duties collected on electronic money transfer levy, on electronic receipts or electronic transfer for money deposited in deposit money banks and financial institutions, on any type of account to be accounted for and expressed to be received by the person to whom the transfer or deposit is made in the plaintiffs’ respective states.”