Three chieftains of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) have dragged the Federal Government before the Federal High Court over imposition of a Proof of Ownership levy on all vehicle owners.

In the 34-page court processes obtained by CITY LAWYER, the plaintiffs urged the court for “A DECLARATION that by virtue of Section 86 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 that sets up the Joint Tax Board (JTB), the power it purportedly exercised to impose yearly fee for annual renewal of Proof of Ownership (POC) Certificates on vehicle owners, is ultra vires, unlawful and unconstitutional.”

The plaintiffs are Mr. John Akpokpo-Martins, Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL; Ms. Funmi Adeogun, Secretary of NBA-SPIDEL, and Mr. Francis Ogunbowale, NBA-SPIDEL Governing Council member. The defendants are the Federal Government, Joint Tax Board, and Governor of Lagos State.

The plaintiffs also urged “A DECLARATION that the imposition of annual renewal of Proof of Ownership certificates on vehicle owners amounts to multiple taxation and therefore, illegal, in view of the fact that tax agencies and other agencies of Governments usually issue certificates of proof of ownership to vehicle owners at the point of registration of vehicles.”

Outlining four other declarations sought, the human rights activists are seeking “An order striking down the provisions of section 73(1), (2) & (3) of the National Road Traffic Regulation No. 101, Vol. 99 of 25th of December 2012, on the ground of being in violent breach of Item 63 of Part I of the 2nd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution and section 1(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and therefore unconstitutional.”

They are also seeking an “order of injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, servants and privies from harassing, disturbing and or interfering with the rights of freedom of movement of Nigerians using their vehicles in any part of the federation of Nigeria on the ground of non-payment and renewal of proof of owenership certificates in respect of their vehicles.”

It was unclear at press time whether the matter has been assigned to any judge for hearing.

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