A non-governmental organisation Metro Auto Workshop (MAW) has urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to respect the September 11, 2020 ruling by Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris of Nyanya High Court, which had barred the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS) from collecting revenue in the FCT.
The NGO, on behalf of residents and business owners in Abuja, had alleged in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1095/19, which it filed before a Nyanya High Court, Abuja, that “it is not proper for the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to delegate its function to another body.”
The suit before the Nyanya High Court had AMAC, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), FCT Minister and National Assembly as defendants.
Speaking with Blueprint in Abuja Tuesday, counsel to MAW, Barrister Opara Orji, said that such delegation of duties to DOAS totally negate the provision of Section 2(1) of the Taxes and Levies Act, “which says that no person other than the appropriate tax authority shall assess or collect on behalf of the government any tax or levy”.
Supporting his prayers by quoting section 7(5) of the 1999 constitution, fourth schedule, which spells out the powers of local government in the area of revenue generation, Orji said the appropriate tax authority are the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Local Government Revenue Committee.
The NGO, therefore, prayed the court for an immediate termination, withdrawal and scrapping of DOAS in the FCT to avoid the continuation of further taxation of people, which the court later proscribed, alleging that the FCTA had continued to show a flagrant disrespect to the lower court rulings, even when it had filed a notice of appeal before the Appellate court of Abuja on Jan. 25, 2021.
However, in the notice of appeal by FCTA, marked as Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/1082/2021, it said that there was need for the court of appeal to restrain the MAW and its cohorts (respondents) from executing the ruling of the trial court pending the determination of appeal by the appellant.
FCTA said that the execution of the ruling of the trial court by the NGO and its cohorts would paralyse the operation, function and activities of the applicant department, adding that the execution of the rulings would render over 50 employees of the department of DOAS jobless, even as it said that the trial court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the originating summons.