THE 36 state governments in the country have sued the federal government at the apex court for allegedly refusing to remit revenue generated from stamp duties into state governments’ accounts, Premium Times reported on Friday.

The states, according to the report, are praying the court to order the federal government to refund over N176 billion collected as stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions from the states between 2015 and 2020, arguing that the responsibility of collecting stamp duties lies squarely with the states and not the federal government.

The plaintiffs suing through their respective attorneys-general, filed the suit against the Attorney General of the Federation, representing the federal government

The states, in the case which was filed on August 24, 2021, and marked SC/CV/690/2021, are asking the court to determine whether or not “having regard to the mandatory provisions of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) the plaintiffs (all the state attorneys) are not the sole authority to administer and collect stamp duties on all transactions involving individuals/persons within their respective states?”

They further prayed the court to determine “whether having regard to the provisions of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria read in conjunction with the provisions of Section 163, items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule part I and items 7 (a) and (b) of the second Schedule part II and other provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the defendant (Malami) could claim, retain, distribute or in any other manner deal with the monies or sums collected as stamp duties on individual persons transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs without reference to, concurrence of, input or agreement of the plaintiffs?”

The plaintiffs also asked the court to ascertain whether or not they are “entitled to 85% of all stamp duties collected on electronic money transfer levy, on electronic receipts or electronic transfer for money deposited in deposit money banks and financial institutions, on any type of account to be accounted for and expressed to be received by the person to whom the transfer or deposit is made in the plaintiffs’ respective states.”

Among other prayers, they urged the court to declare that they “are the sole authorities entitled to administer and collect stamp duties on all transactions involving individuals within their respective states.”

The plaintiffs also asked the court to issue an order, compelling the Attorney General of the Federation to account for and refund all monies collected by way of stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs from the period 2015-2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment.

Other prayers sought by the state governments in the suit which is yet to be slated for hearing, include: “A declaration that the defendant is not entitled to collect, administer, or keep the proceeds of any stamp duties on transactions involving individuals within the respective states of the plaintiffs or any manner interfere with the Plaintiff’s right and authority in the administering the provision of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

“A declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to all the sums of money collected by the defendant as stamp duties through whatever source or means in their respective states from 2015-2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment of this honourable court with respect to individual persons’ transactions.

“A declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to 85% of all stamp duties collected on electronic money transfer levy, on electronic receipts or electronic transfer for money deposited in deposit money banks and financial institutions, on any type of account to be accounted for and expressed to be received by the person to whom the transfer or deposit is made in the plaintiffs’ respective states.”

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or how so ever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth,” plaintiffs prayed the court.”

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