36 State Attorneys General Ask Supreme Court To Stop FG From Collecting Stamp Duty

The Attorneys-General of 36 states in Nigeria have instituted a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the collection of stamp duty by agencies of the Federal Government.

Yusuf Ali, SAN, filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs against the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

Ali is asking the apex court to interpret “WHETHER having regard to the provisions of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria read in conjunction with the provisions of Section 163, items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule part I and items 7 (a) and (b) of the second Schedule part II and other provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), the Defendant could claim, retain, distribute or in any other manner deal with the monies or sums collected as Stamp Duties on individual persons transactions within the respective States of the Plaintiffs without reference to, concurrence of, in put or agreement of the Plaintiffs?”

The application dated August 19, wants the court to declare “that the Plaintiffs are the sole authorities entitled to administer and collect Stamp Duties on all transactions involving individuals within their respective States.”

“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 reliefs sought partly read.

According to an affidavit in support of the originating summons, the Director of Legal services of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chijioke Chuku, deposed that the matter of remittance and non-remittance of stamp duties has been a challenge between the federal and state governments.

He noted that that FG, through its agencies, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some consultants, “have been imposing and collecting Stamp Duties in respect of instruments executed between persons and individuals in the states of the Federation, contrary to the clear provisions of the applicable laws.”

The court processes claimed that the federal government has been charging and collecting stamp duties that are due to the states without consulting the governors.

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