Southern Governors met in Enugu on Thursday, declaring that it is within their purview to collect the Value Added Tax, VAT.
This is coming amid row between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, a case that is now subject of litigation.
The governors also reaffirmed their stand on open-grazing ban, urging every State in the region to quickly pass a law to that regards.
A communiqué after the meeting was read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Also present were Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta, Babajide Sanwolu, Lagos, Gbega Oyetola, Osun, Emmanuel Udom, Akwa Ibom, Nyesom Wike, Rivers, Dapo Abiodun, Ogun and the host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Deputy Governors present included Rauf Olaniyan, Oyo, Bisi Egbeyemi, Ekiti, Philip Shuaib, Edo, Ude Okochukwu, Abia, Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi, Placid Njoku, Imo.
The communiqué read in full:
The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16th September 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State reviewea tne state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
1. Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti- Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.
2. Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
3. Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to Structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11th May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembiy as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigeran Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
4. Following from paragraph 3″ above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.
5. Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
6. Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
7. The Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.
Arakunrin Oluwarotimí O. Akeredólu; SAN Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum.