The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday, September 9, 2021, has given its final verdict by passing the bill to ban open cattle grazing in the state and the Value Added Tax (VAT) bill.
This is coming after the house held a stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday on both bills.
The bills passed will be transmitted by the Clerk of the house, Olalekan Onafeko to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.
Both bills were passed after unanimous votes by the lawmakers at the sitting where they were read the third time.
The anti-open grazing bill if defaulted by persons (herders) in possession of firearms would attract a 21-year jail, also the bill contains the establishment of a taskforce to curb open grazing of cattle.
Lagos State has joined the league of other states including Benue, Ogun,Ekiti, Ondo and other parts of the country to curb killer herdsmen activities.
Also, the VAT bill was passed days after a similar legislation by Governor Nyesom Wike in Rivers State where it has been empowered by a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the said tax in the state.
Commenting on the passage of the VAT bill, Speaker of the House, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa through his Deputy, Honourable Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni said states have always felt financially strangulated and unfairly treated by the Federal Government in her administration and appropriation of receipts of VAT.
He noted that Lagos state generates an excess of N500 billion in VAT.
“If we go by generation trend in tandem with the N2.4 trillion forecasted by the FIRS, Lagos state will be contributing about 55 percent of the total VAT collectables in the entire country.
“But what do we get in return? Some paltry sum. This injustice and inequity are part of the premises on which some of the extant agitations are founded.”
The Speaker said this agitation had been helped by the judgement of a Federal High Court in the case of the Attorney General of Rivers State versus the Federal Inland Revenue Service (2020) in which the rights of Rivers state (by extension, other states) were upheld.
“Though the FIRS has expectedly appealed the judgement to the Court of Appeal, it is expected that the appellate court will follow the sound logic in the Federal High Court decision,” he said.
The Speaker said the proposed law would allow the state more resources to meet its developmental goals.
“More so, this action brings to the fore of actualization, the true federalism for which we have been agitating,” he added.
Also, on the anti-open grazing bill, the Speaker said, “If there is no security, there will be no peace and development. Farmers/herders clash appears to be the oldest. Both the farmers and herders are critical to food stability.
“Both of them affect our health. Their conflicts lead to insecurity and claim lives and properties. We must engage ourselves to make the right decisions