Nigerian truck drivers file lawsuit against attorney general, state governments over tax collections

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, speaks during a conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria on Tuesday instituted a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja requesting it to compel the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to stop the collection of taxes, road blocks, levy or fee from its members.

The association also asked the court to compel the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to stop the collection of the taxes from its members.

The 774 local government areas in the country, through the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and the National Freight Haulers Association, were joined as defendants in the suit.

Abel Ozioko, counsel to the association, filed the motion with reference number FHC/ABJ/1198/2020.

The association urged the court to determine whether the provisions of items 59, 62 (a) and 63 part 1 of the second schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 constitutions and sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies Act, the states and the local governments are prohibited from mounting roadblocks for the sole purpose of tax collection.

It attached a newspaper publication, which showed where its members were being harassed and extorted on highways as well as the rising food crisis which resulted from the extortion.

It said its members were now unable to convey food to many parts of the country.

The association sought a declaration of the court that the defendants “are by provisions of the sections 2 (2) and 3 of the taxes and levies act, the prohibited from mounting a road block in any part of the Federation of Nigeria for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy duty vehicles and haulage drivers”.

It also demanded that an order be issued “to restrain local government areas or their agents from future taxations or truck stops or any hindrance of movement of truckers in any part of the country.”

The court is yet to fix a date for hearing of the suit.

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