VAT Row: North Is Rich, Can Live Without the South, Says Baba-Ahmed

VAT Row: North Is Rich, Can Live Without the South, Says Baba-Ahmed

  • A respected northern elder, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed says the notion that the north is poor is a false narrative
  • According to Baba-Ahmed, contrary to widespread insinuations, northern Nigeria is very rich and can survive on its own
  • The comments of the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum was in reaction to the ongoing debate concerning the Value Added Tax

FCT, Abuja - Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum says the north is a rich region and can survive on its resources without support from southern Nigeria.

Baba-Ahmed made the statement on Tuesday, September 21 when he featured on a programme aired on Arise TV.

Baba-Ahmed is of the opinion that the north can survive on its own. Photo credit: Hakeem Baba-Ahmed
Source: Facebook

He was reacting to the recent tussle between southern states and the federal government on the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT.

His words:

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“We are a rich region and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to other states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.
“We need leaders, the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong.”

VAT: Wike threatens showdown with FIRS

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers had earlier threatened to “take over” all offices of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in the oil-rich south-south state if the federal government agency continues with its “bullying.”

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The governor spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, the state capital while addressing business owners in the state.

Wike instructed all business owners operating in the state to start remitting their VAT to the Rivers government starting from September 2021.

Lagos govt joins forces with Rivers in VAT battle against FIRS

Meanwhile, the Lagos state government on Friday, September 10, applied to the Court of Appeal in Abuja to be joined as a co-respondent in the appeal filed by FIRS against Rivers state.

The FIRS is challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, which held that Rivers state has the power to collect VAT within its domain.

The Attorney General of Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), informed the court of the state's interest to be joined as a party in the appeal.


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