Ayade absent as south-south govs agree to join Rivers VAT suit

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade

South-South Governors Forum on Monday announced its members would be joining the suit filed by Rivers State Government at the Supreme Court to force the Federal Government off the 7.5 per cent value added tax.

The meeting was held in Rivers 18 months after the last one at Asaba, Delta State.

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, who recently joined the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, was not at the meeting. The other governors of the region who are all members of the opposition were, however, present.

Chairman of the forum and Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said in a communiqué that they would soon unveil a joint security outfit.

“Bearing in mind that most of the BRACED states have established their states’ security organ, we approve a regional security architecture which will be launched very soon,” Mr Okowa said.

“We unequivocally support the decision for states to collect value added tax, and resolved to join the suit before the Supreme court.”

The forum also called on the Federal Government to publish the report of the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission and urgently appoint a substantive board for the commission.