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Akwa Ibom state maritime sector Regulation law 2017: Homeland Integrated offshore company seeks nullification 

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      In a bid to forestall the payment of alleged double taxation, a limited liability company in Lagos, engaged in the business of marine logistics Solutions, Homeland Integrated offshore services Limited has dragged Akwa Ibom state Government before a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria.
       The company is seeking the order of the court to declare that the Akwa Ibom state Maritime Sector Regulation law 2017, enacted by the Akwa Ibom Government is invalid, null, void, and Altra vires the powers of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly to the extent that the said Act applies to use of vessels on waterways falling under item 36 of the exclusive Legislative list and 2nd Schedule of the National Inland Waterways Authority Act.
       The company is also urging the court to declare that the Marine vessel used levy charged by, Akwa Ibom state Government and internal revenue service amount to double taxation in the light of the levies paid by the plaintiff Homeland Integrated offshore services Limited to Federal Inland revenue service, Nigeria Marine Administration and Safety Agency and National Inland Waterways Authority.
      Joined as respondents in the ensuing Legal battle, are the Attorney General and commissioner for justice Akwa Ibom state, Speaker, Akwa Ibom state house of Assembly, Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, The National Assembly, Federal Inland revenue service, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, National Inland Waterways Authority and Multi Capital Resources Limited.
      According to an affidavit sworn to by an associate in the employment of Lexavier Partners and filed before the court by Dr Francis Chuka Chuka Agbu SAN, the deponent averred that the Plaintiff, Homeland Integrated offshore services Limited company, received letters dated 30th August 2021, 11th October 2021 and 5th November 2021 respectively, from the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service and Multi Capital Resources Limited, demanding the payment of a Marine Vessel Use Levy which was imposed by the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service pursuant to a law, titled Akwa Ibom State Maritime Sector (Regulation Law) 2017, which was enacted by the Speaker Akwa Ibom state house of Assembly. The said levy was purportedly in respect of vessels owned and operated by Plaintiff on waterways in Akwa Ibom State.
    By the said letters, the Multi Capital and Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service also threatened to disrupt Plaintiff’s business upon failure to pay the said levy.
    Prior to the receipt of the letters, the Plaintiff has been paying relevant taxes, charges and levies on accounts of its operations on the same waterways to the Federal Government through the Federal Inland revenue service, Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency NIMASA
    The said taxes, charges and levies are imposed and paid pursuant to several statutes enacted by the National Assembly, including but not to the: The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act 2007 (“NIMASA Act”);
. The National Inland Waterways Authority Act 1997 (“NIWA Act”‘)
The Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 (“Cabotage Act”), amongst others.
The said charges are levied on/for the use/ operation of vessels on all waterways within Nigeria. The said charge is enforced and collected by the NIMASA on the premise that it is the appropriate authority vested with the powers to assess, administer and collect same.
     The Plaintiff was therefore taken aback when it received letters  from the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service and Multi Capital Resources Limited in respect of the same incidence of tax (that is, for the use of marine vessels) and for the same periods over which the Plaintiff has religiously remitted payments to the Federal Inland revenue service, NIMASA and National Inland Waterways Authority, between 2019 and 2021).
     The Plaintiff immediately instructed its solicitors to obtain a copy of the said
Akwa Ibom State Maritime Sector (Regulation Law) 2017. A perusal of the law revealed that the referenced law is purportedly for the regulation of maritime activities within Akwa Ibom State.
The demand by the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service and Multi Capital Resources Limited   has placed the Plaintiff under the risk of double taxation. The Plaintiff is also under an imminent threat by the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service and Multi Capital Resources Limited to disrupt its business operations.
        In order to avoid the risk of double/multiple taxations on the same matter and in view of the risk of obstruction of it’s operations by the Defendants (as threatened in their letters), it has become expedient to
approach this Honourable Court for the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the said Law, vis-a-vis the legislative competencies of the Speaker Akwa Ibom state house of Assembly and The National Assembly.
   Prior to the  letter of demand to the company, Akwa Ibom state Government had  through a bill sponsored by a member of the House of
Representatives sponsored a Bill to the National Assembly, seeking to enable State Governments to make laws to regulate Nigerian Waterways by removing the said item from the Exclusive Legislative List into the Concurrent Legislative List. The said Bill was rejected by the National Assembly in July 2021.
Despite being aware of the Constitutional position on the limit of its powers, Akwa Ibom state Government has continued, through the agency of the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service and Multi Capital Resources Limited, to exercise powers that it knows are outside its remit and has continued to threaten the Plaintiff’s business.
        However, in a counter affidavit sworn to by the legal officer of the Akwa Ibom Internal revenue service Mfon Udoma, he stated that Akwa Ibom State is one of the littoral States in Nigeria and has a coastal boundary, and as a fact that there is a demarcation between International Waterways, Federal Government Waterways and State Government Waterways Akwa Ibom State, like other coastal states, controls and derives revenue therefrom from State Government Waterways within the boundaries of Akwa Ibom State.
 Akwa Ibom State Maritime Sector (Regulation Law) 2017,  does not operate or apply at the International Waterway or at the Federal Government Waterways.
      The demand Notice Served on the Applicant arose from her usage of marine vessel within Akwa Ibom State Waterways.
     The said levy was not based on levies imposed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency or NIMASA ACT, nor based on the levies imposed by the National Inland Waterways Authority or the Law establishing the same, neither does the levy based on Cabotage Act or any Federal Government Law but it was rather based on the acts of the Applicant within 200 meters Isobaths in the Akwa Ibom’s waterways.
 The Applicant is evading payment of the levies arising from his operation on the Akwa Ibom State Waterways and has brought this suit as a ploy to delay the payment of levies arising from his activities within the Akwa Ibom’s state waterways.
    Akwa Ibom state house of Assembly can make regulation to regulate activities in her waterways which as a fact falls within the 200 meters water isobaths and could derive revenue from the applicant’s activities of 200-meter nautical miles.
     The payment of levy arising from the law will not affect the business of the applicant in any way.
    Respondent does not make any law that encroaches on the power of the Federal Government as it has to do with Akwa Ibom State Waterways, and accordingly has nothing to do with any bill at the National Assembly as there is no bill at the instance of the Akwa Ibom state Government that was rejected.
     Akwa Ibom state Government  know  that waterways are balkanised into the International Waterways, National,
States Waterways
The case has been adjourned till after the court vacation for hearing.

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CIPM appoints a new Registrar/Chief Executive, Oluwatoyin Naiwo

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A former Director, Strategy, Advocacy & Stakeholder Relations of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) Oluwatoyin Naiwo has been appointed as Registrar and Chief Executive of the Institute.

According to the Institute, Naiwo’s appointment takes effect from Monday, September 12, 2022.

Her appointment was announced in a statement by the CIPM President, Olusegun Mojeed.

‘Ms Naiwo is no newcomer to the CIPM having served as Director, Strategy, Advocacy & Stakeholder Relations, with the responsibility of driving the Institute’s strategy development and execution process, spearheading the Institute’s role in advocating a legislative agenda on Human Capital matters with the Nigerian government, building and maintaining relationships with governmental (Federal and State) and non-governmental institutional stakeholders both within Nigeria and internationally to extend CIPM’s reach and influence,’ the CIPM President said in a statement.

Aside her previous role in CIPM, Naiwo has a grasp of comprehensive and strategic understanding of business and technical issues and Human Resource Management. Her diverse experience in Human Resource Management spans over a twenty-eight (28) years period across industries and sectors in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

Elaborating further on Naiwo’s leadership experience across board and what her appointment means for the Institute, the CIPM President said: ‘Ms. Naiwo has extensive leadership experience across industries and sectors and has demonstrated her ability to build successful organisations and businesses. We are confident that the Registrar and the new team will be a force in developing and driving CIPM forward in line with our vision to be the Institute of choice for People Management’

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BREAKING: LASG IMPOUNDS 40 TRAILERS UNDER FLYOVER BRIDGES AT COSTAIN TO IGANMU IN LAGOS

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The Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) today impounded 40 illegally parked trailers, trucks and tankers under flyover bridges at Costain to Iganmu area of Lagos.

The General Manager of LASTMA Mr Bolaji Oreagba disclosed that the enforcement operations which was led by the Director of Operations (Headquarters) Mr. Peter Gbedemeje was carried out immediately after the expiration of a ‘7-day Removal Order” served on them.

Mr Oreagba disclosed further that the level of voluntary compliance was encouraging as majority had removed their heavy duty vehicles before the commencement of the enforcement operations.

“We are very happy with the level of voluntary compliance by owner/drivers of these illegally parked trucks including other illegal workshops such as Iron benders, mechanics, food/ Fruits vendors”.

These 40 impounded trailers were contravened around Ijora, Costain, Breweries and Ajegunle Park by Ijora Mobil Road area of Iganmu, Lagos

The Head of Operations, Mr Peter Gbedemeje stated that the cleanup exercise would be continuous and be extended to other parts of the State in order checkmate criminal activities across the State.

He however confirmed that owners/drivers of these impounded 40 trailers would be charged to court accordingly.

 

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LASTMA ARRAIGNS 146 TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATORS/OFFENDERS BEFORE MOBILE COURT

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The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has arraigned owners/drivers of 146 vehicles arrested across the State for various traffic offenses in August, 2022.

The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba disclosed this over the weekend, adding that the alleged offenders are being prosecuted before the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Mobile Court).

According to him, “77 offenders are being prosecuted for One-Way Driving, 5 for Willful Obstruction, 5 for Illegal Parking, 2 for Unpainted Commercial Vehicle, 5 for Wrongful Overtaking, 4 for Driving on Walkways/Kerbs, 6 for BRT Obstructions, 10 for Reckless & Dangerous Driving, 4 for Picking/Dropping Passengers at Undesignated Bus Stops and 5 for Disobeying Traffic Control Officers among others”.

Also, as part of our feedbacks mechanism “we attended and resolved various complaints from motorists via our ‘complaints lines and social media handles
08174722227 08100565860
Instagram (ekolastma)
Twitter (@followlastma)
Facebook (ekolastma)
YouTube (LASTMATV)
SoundCloud (@lastmaRadio)”

“It is disheartening that despite the state government’s vigorous public enlightenment and advocacy campaign via various media outlets, including online sensitization, on the dangers inherent in disobeying traffic rules and regulations, some recalcitrant drivers are still endangering the safety of other road users on Lagos Roads”, Oreagba stated.

The General Manager also revealed that all those arraigned by the Agency before the Lagos Mobile Court were found ‘Guilty’ as charged after strong pictorial and video evidence tendered by LASTMA’s prosecution team.

While urging all road users including commercial bus drivers to always drive with caution, particularly during these “Ember Months”, Oreagba disclosed that LASTMA will continue to strengthen its monitoring and enforcement team to apprehend Traffic Law violators.

Also speaking, the Director, Legal Department of LASTMA, Mr. Akerele Kehinde Oseni maintained that the prosecution of the arrested owners/drivers of the 146 vehicles for various traffic violations will serve as a deterrent to other recalcitrants road users.

Akerele, however, informed that the 146 impounded vehicles were later released to their respective owners after the verifications of receipts of their fine payment with other relevant documents.

 

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