In what could be termed accelerated hearing and passage, the Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday passed two bills including anti-open grazing into law within four days.
The bills passed by the House included a bill for a “Law to Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing in Lagos State, Trespass of Cattle on Land and for Other Connected Purposes and a bill for a “Law to Impose and Charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on Certain Goods and Services, Provided for the Administration of Tax and for Related Purposes.”
After the presentation of the two reports by the chairman, Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Kayode Joseph and chairman, Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, the members took turns to deliberate on the reports.
The Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, directed that the bill be sent to the governor for his assent.
He said the bill seeks to address the menace of open cattle rearing and the security of life and property, adding that the bill is targeted at dousing the tension in the state.
While acknowledging the fact that in the past, herders and farmers used to have symbiotic relationships, he said the bill seeks to protect the citizens, herders and farmers.
On the financing of grazing land for herders Joseph posited that it is a private business, adding that it is in line with the law of the land.
Olowo posited that the state generates N1.5 trillion monthly but the revenue generated is distributed to other states, adding that ordinarily the state should get 10 per cent of what it generates.
Meanwhile, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN) has declared that the judgement of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt that gave authority to the Rivers State government to collect VAT does not apply to other state.
Okocha made the declaration while speaking during LEADERSHIP’s podcast studio morning programme, “Inside Nigeria”, which was monitored in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He said since the VAT suit was between the Rivers State government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and judgement given in favour of the former, the law can only apply in the state.
The former NBA President said, “The legal implication is that for now, Rivers State government is entitled to collect VAT and this has been backed up by a law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.