Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has threatened to shut offices of the Federal Inland Revenue Service ,FIRS, domiciled in the state should the FIRS continue to threaten companies domiciled in the state or bully the state over its (Rivers State) bid to collect Value Added Task (VAT).
Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had August 9, 2021, ruled that it was the right of the Rivers government to receive VAT in the state.
The state argued that it was against the constitution for it to generate VAT that is later shared to other states.
However, the FIRS, allegedly issued threat to companies, warning that companies that pay to the state rather than the Federal Government would be sanctioned.
But Wike, in an interactive session with stakeholders in the state which was monitored by Info Daily on national television, further threatened to shut down companies or banks that refuse to pay its VAT to the state.
While stating that Rivers State is not among the “small, small, small states” that can be threatened by anyone including the Federal Government, Wike also stated that he’s not among those governors who shy away from what is right.
“FIRS should stop bullying at us. Rivers is not among the small, small small states they can bully at. If they continue their threats and bully, I will short all their offices in Rivers.
“I am not among the governors that will shy away from what is right.
I have the political will and constitutional rights to collect VAT.
“Any bank or company that refuses or fail to pay to us, I will shut down, I will be happy that during my time, heaven falls,” he said.
While stating that some states “are just waiting in Abuja to benefit from proceeds from other states”, disclosed that Rivers State made nothing less than N15.8bn VAT in the month of June for Federal Government, but only N4.8bn was given back to the state by the Federal Government.
“In the month of June, N15.8bn was collected as VAT in Rivers State but only 4.8bn was given back to the state as VAT. Where did the remaining go?,” he questioned.
Asked about the State of Execution order and appeal at the Court of Apeal, Wike said it’s a delay tactics by FIRS and other parties concerned
He, however, vowed that if the court rule otherwise in the case, which he doubted, the state government would abide by the ruling.