Banditry: Northern Governors call for synchronised security operations

Asma'u Halilu

The Northern States Governors’ Forum has urged the Armed Forces to embark on simultaneous operations in it’s fight against banditry and kidnapping in the region.
The forum has resolved to share plans of all the frontline states, as well as come up with a common decision similar to other regions.
This was contained in a communique signed by the Chairman of the forum, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong after an emergency meeting held by the forum in Kaduna.
He assured the northern people of the forum’s readiness to work in synergy with the Federal government  in finding lasting solutions to the current security challenges in the nation.
According to him, the forum appreciates the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping and Boko haram, especially in the Northeast and parts of Northwest and Northcentral States.
They encouraged the Armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to enable the security challenges be permanently addressed in the shortest time.


Value Added Tax

Speaking on theissues surrounding Value Added Tax, VAT, the forum observed that, the judgement of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, 13% derivation, National Economic Development Council and many other currently levied and collected by the Federal government of Nigeria, Federal Inlands Revenue Service.
“Rivers and Lagos State Government had enacted their own VAT laws and the Southern Governors Forum have expressed support for this course of action”, Lalong stated.
“VAT is being confused by these State government as a sales tax. If every State enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxation will result in increases of prices of goods and services and result to collapse in interstate trade. VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer”.
“Another confusion is ignoring the observation above and its overall effect.  The reason Lagos accounts for 50% VAT collection is because most of the telecommunication companies, banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos”.
Governor Lalong disclosed  that, until and unless the Supreme court pronounces judgement on the substantive matter between Rivers state and the Federal government, the matter is subjudice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this.



He mentioned that the Traditional Rulers Councils appreciated the efforts made so far by the NSGF in addressing the key areas of challenges facing the Northern States, and have expressed their willingness, solidarity and collaboration with the Governors in addressing these challenges particularly the issue of security.
The Governor decried the high level of conspiracies being perpetrated by some Judicial Officers in releasing and granting bail to arrested criminals, noting that, the attitude sabotages the fight against criminality, hence the need to develop good and robust intelligence mechanism amongst States.
The Forum called on agencies to live up to their responsibility, traditional rulers are to equally mobilize their various communities in checkmating the ugly trend of criminality in their domains.
Lalong mentioned that the Forum expressed dismay over the ugly trend in the spread of drugs and its consumption amongst the teeming youth and therefore, called on all levels of governments and communities to raise to the occasion by stemming the tide.
The Forum also called on the Federal government to expedite action on the well established National Livestock Transformation Programme as a spring board in transiting from the open grazing system as widely practiced in the North.





Hauwa Abu

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