13th July, 2010
Members of Hoteliers Association of Nigeria (HAN), Lagos State chapter, have appealed to the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, to order officials of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Board to comply with the ruling by the Federal High Court in Lagos, reaffirming its earlier judgment restraining the state government or any of its officials from collection of consumption tax from hoteliers operating in the state.
In his ruling last week Monday, Justice Okechukwu Okeke refused to grant an application for a stay of execution by the Lagos State government.
While urging both parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit brought by the hoteliers challenging the imposition of consumption tax on their members, Justice Okeke restrained the state government and its officials from harassing or forcing the hoteliers to pay the new tax.
He had in a similar ruling last October, restrained the state government from enforcing the payment of consumption tax pending the determination of the suit.
Reacting to the ruling, President, Lagos chapter of HAN, Aare Tola Odunuga, described it as a victory for the rule of law, saying, â€œwe want to appeal to the state government to obey the ruling.â€
Giving reason for the appeal, Odunuga stated that similar rulings in the past had been ignored by officials of the state Internal Revenue Board.
â€œOur members have had ugly experiences with some officials of the state government in the past when a similar judgment was given. Instead of obeying courtâ€™s ruling, they were harassing our members and threatening them. We believe that as a democratic government, Lagos State should strive to obey the rule of law,â€ he said.