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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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TANKER ACCIDENT : LASTMA RESCUE ANOTHER 4 ACCIDENT VICTIMS INSIDE TRICYCLES AT IKOTUN, LAGOS

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…Tricycle driver with one passenger died instantly.

Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) today rescued another 4 fatal accident victims inside mini commercial buses (tricycles) around Ikotun area of Lagos.

The accident which occurred around 12:30 pm today involved a fully loaded container truck (JJJ 125) and 4 mini commercial buses (tricycles) with registration nos (LSD 83 QM), (AKD 690 QK) & (AKL 87 QF)

The driver of one of the mini commercial bus (tricycle) with one passenger died instantly.

Those four (4) rescued accident victims by Lastma personnel were 2 pregnant women and 2 children.

Lastma personnel immediately handed over those rescued victims to Police men from Ikotun Police Station who took them to General Hospital for treatment.

 

A preliminary investigation revealed that the fully loaded container truck (JJJ 125) had a brake failure and crushed 3 tricycles by a valley around synagogue when going towards Ikotun.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) immediately moved the tanker with those crushed tricycles to Ikotun Police Station

Other emergency responders including the Nigerian Police men from Ikotun Police Station were at the scene of the accident.

The General Manager of LASTMA Mr Bolaji Oreagba however warned tanker owners and drivers to always ensure that their trucks are properly checked and in good conditions before embarking on any journey.

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Funke Felix Adejumo @ 60: Celebrating an Amazon and a fisher of Men

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When Pastor Funke Felix Adejumo heed to the alter call by giving her life to her creator at age 14 little did she know that it was the path to her greatness in life as her steps and sojourn in ministry has been ordered to take a very wonderous path? Although it was a tough decision today that singular decision has made her a teacher, mother, mentor and role model to millions of people across the world.

One thing she is notable for is the fact that you can serve your creator without looking tattered and unkempt as she is known to have stated in preachings that it’s essential for women to dress well and not follow the old order of Nigerian Christianity. Today, through her teachings lots of marriages have been salvaged, lots of homes have been restrengthening, lots of lives have been saved and lots of unbelievers have been converted to believers.

 

The graduate of English from the University of Nigeria Nsukka didn’t just get to her current status by fluke; it took her years of sheer dint of hard work and resilience to attain the enviable height she is today. While growing up, she faced different challenges being a female child as her father didn’t want to invest in her education but with divine intervention, her story changed for good as she is today a graduate and an honorary Doctorate Degree holder. Her life further had a new direction when she met her husband Felix Remi Adejumo in 1892 and got married in 1984 this further cemented her faith as a preacher. With a rough start in ministry in Akure Ondo State, she persevered, built and stood firmly by her husband helping him nurture the Agape Christian ministry that used to be moribund to having over 30 branches across Nigeria.

 

Tomorrow Saturday the 28th of January the well-respected woman of God will glide into the leagues of Sexagenarian as many across the world are getting set to celebrate her to the high heaven with already planned activities to mark her day; it is worthy to note that; her life and teaching over the years have been centred round not only prosperity but preaches patience, growth, development, hard work, and spirituality. Funke Adejumo remains one of the biggest vineyards of his creator sent to the world to redefine Christianity and win souls to the kingdom at 60, her life should be an emulation to all women.

 

 

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A Minister Without Enemy Hasn’t Touched Kingdom of Darkness –Apostle Suleman

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Apostle Johnson Suleman

 

God is not mocked. Insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God’s servant is an expression of weakness and carnality. These were the words of servant of God and senior pastor at the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleman, in one of his recent past evangelistic sermons.

 

The enemy is seeking to destroy the Church and in his fantasy, he is attacking what he perceives to be the greatest opportunity for destruction: the pastor’s personality. According to the ‘Restoration Apostle’ in the message extracted from four of his recorded old teachings, “while the enemy devises a scheme to destroy the Church, he would find ways to attack the prophet, and as he finds ways to attack the prophet, he would see his person as the area of greatest vulnerability.”

 

However, Apostle Suleman affirms that while challenges with the Church have been around since the beginning, church leaders with strong faith and the committed flock would continue to remain essential to the Church. The famous Minister of God underscores some facts which he believes are characteristics of a prophet with leadership potentials: he loves God and shows love to people around him because, he says, love is the foundation for a healthy ministry; he has a clear vision and is strategic, he exhibits servant leadership and is dedicated to serving others.

 

The enemy has different tactics aimed to hinder the word of God. But God is not mocked, declares Apostle Suleman, adding that, “but we are prepared for the attacks and we are prepared for the defeat of the attacks.” “We must put on the armour of God, which is primarily a righteous life. But along with that, we must be aware of the enemy’s tactics because the enemy wants to immobilize us and keep us from progressing in our spiritual lives, and therefore, he will come with many different attacks. He wants to keep us from building and completing the work that God has called us to. Because our enemy is both wise and relentless, we must be aware of his tricks and schemes.”

 

 

A prophet of God must stand strong in the face of criticism, Apostle Suleman counsels. “Of course, criticism usually stings and criticism on a public forum stings even more. It discourages the church and hurts the testimony of Christians and the church. But we must stick to preaching the truth at all times and pray to ensure whatever attention of true believers that the devil had taken or captured is recovered.”

 

Apostle Suleman then warns that he is not a regular preacher because he is aware there are enemies and their antics, positing that any Minister of God who has no enemies has not really touched the kingdom of darkness.

 

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