A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned a suit seeking to stop the imposition of an annual levy for a certificate of proof of vehicle ownership in the country till March 4, 2024.
The Federal Government had in June 2023 introduced a fee of N1,000 to be paid by all motorists annually for Proof of Ownership certificate verification.
The Lagos State Government commenced the collection of the fee for POC from motorists in July 2023.
However, the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law dragged the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government, and the Joint Tax Board to court to challenge the imposed levy.
The plaintiffs, the chairman of NBA Spidel, John Aikpokpo-Martins, the Secretary, Funmi Adeogun, and a member of the Governing Council of NBA-SPIDEL, Francis Ogunbowale in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1285/2023 contended that the defendants commenced the policy without any statutory support directing vehicle owners to pay the mandatory fee.
The plaintiffs are asking the court for an order restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, and proxies from harassing, disturbing, and/or interfering with the rights to freedom of movement of Nigerians using their vehicles in any part of the country, on the ground of non-payment and renewal of proof of ownership certificates in respect of their vehicles.
The plaintiffs also asked the court to determine, “Whether the imposition of annual renewal of Proof of Ownership certificates on vehicle owners by the Defendants does not amount to multiple taxations and therefore illegal, because the I and 3rd Defendants (and the various State Governments, through their various tax agencies, have already issued certificates or evidence of proof of ownership to vehicle owners at the time of registration”
In a statement on Tuesday by the Publicity Secretary, NBA-SPIDEL, Sadiya Saleh, noted that proceedings commenced on the matter on Monday before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
At the preliminary hearing, the court confirmed that all the defendants in the matter were served the originating processes and proof of services filed.
While the NBA-SPIDEL was represented by Godspower Eroga, and Vincent Adodo the first and second defendants were not represented in court.