The Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, over excessive taxes imposed on their members across the country.
In the suit filed on Tuesday and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1198/2020, the plaintiff sought an order compelling the relevant authorities sued as part of the 42 defendants to put an end to the alleged excessive roadblocks and collection of taxes, levies, or fees from their members.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, are part of the 42 defendants in the suit.
The remaining defendants are the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Produce Dealers, the 36 state governments through their respective Attorneys-General, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, and the National Freight Hauliers Association.
The plaintiff, through its lawyer, Mr Abel Ozioko, urged the court to determine if, by the provisions of items 59, 62(a), and 63 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies Act, the states and local governments were not prohibited from mounting roadblocks for the purposes of tax collection.
The association of tanker drivers attached to the suit as an exhibit newspaper publications showing how it had decried the extortion and harassment of its members on the highways.
It attributed the rising food crises in the country to the difficulty faced by its members in conveying food to the various parts of the country.
The association, therefore, sought among others, a declaration by the court, that the defendants were by the provisions of Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies Act, prohibited from mounting roadblocks in any part of the country for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers.
It sought, “A declaration that by Section 2 (2) and (3) of the Taxes and Levies Act, the defendants are not empowered to collect any form of taxes, levies or fees from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers on any federal highway or federal trunk roads in Nigeria.
“A declaration that the association is entitled to monitor the trucks of its members transporting goods and produce on several highways in Nigeria, to ensure their compliance with all traffic regulations and to avoid diversion of their trucks.”
It also urged the court to issue an order restraining the defendants or their agents from imposing multiple taxations on its members or further stopping or hindering them in any part of the country.