Court Strikes Out Suit Against Rivers Contributory Law


Attempt to use the courts of law to frustrate the implementation of the Rivers State Social Services Contributory Levy Law 2010, was frustrated as the Port Harcourt High Court Monday struck out a suit challenging the law.


The law allows the state government to collect special taxes and levies for the maintenance of public infrastructure in the state.


A human rights group, the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) had in October 2010, barely one month after Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi signed the bill into law, gone to court, asking it to determine whether the state government had the right to collect extra taxes and levies that are not part of the approved list of taxes and levies for collection.


Joined as defendants in the suit were; the Attorney-General of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly, as well as the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue.


While delivering judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Obiye Daniel-Kalio said the suit lacked locus standi, hence his decision to strike it out.


Daniel-Kalio frowned at the absence of the claimant, who is the Executive Director of IHRHL, Mr. Anyakwe Nsirimovu as well as counsel to the claimants during the court’s sitting.


Speaking to newsmen, the Solicitor-General of the State, Mr. Rufus Godwins described the judgment as a welcome development, saying that the state government will now go ahead to enforce the law for the benefit of the people of the state.


Describing the contributory levy law as extant, Godwins stated that those who are against the enforcement of the law were against the interest of the people of the state.


He wondered why someone could go to court to challenge the existence of a law barely one month after it became law, without waiting to see how the enforcement of the law would affect the people of the state.


By Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt

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