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Truck drivers sue state govts, others over excessive taxation

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Truck owners across the country, under the aegis of Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria (HDHTAN), have sued the 36 state governments and six others for alleged imposition of excessive taxes that cripple their operations.

In the suit, the plaintiffs want the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the 36 states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to stop the arbitrary erection of road blocks and collection of tax, levy or fee from heavy duty vehicles and haulage across the country.

The truck drivers sued the states through their Attorneys-General.

Other defendants in the suit include the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Nigeria Association of Agricultural Produce Dealers, the Minister of the FCT, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and the National Freight Haulers Association (NFHA).

The originating summons dated September 21, 2020, was filed by their lawyer, Abel Ozoko.

It also joined the 774 local government areas in Nigeria through ALGON and the NFHA as defendants in the suit.

The truck drivers are asking the court to determine whether the provisions of Items 59, 62(a) and 63 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List For Collection) Act, the states and local governments are prohibited from mounting road blocks for the purposes of tax collection.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration of the court that the defendants “are, by the provisions of Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, prohibited from mounting a road block in any part of the Federation of Nigeria for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy duty vehicles and haulage drivers”.

No date has been fixed for hearing.

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