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FG Asks Lagos to Refund Billions of Naira Collected in Wharf Landing Fees

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  • FG Asks Lagos to Refund Billions of Naira Collected in Wharf Landing Fees

The federal government has asked the Supreme Court to declare the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Law No 5 of 2009 unconstitutional and to order the state to refund all the monies collected through the law.

The law was passed in 2009 when Babatunde Fashola, now the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, was the state governor. It imposes levies which vary from N1,000 to N3,000 on consignments transported from Lagos ports into the local government areas of the state.

In an originating summons filed on behalf of the federal government by Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation asked the court to declare that the state has no power to make law on any maritime, shipping and navigation matter including ‘Wharf Landing’ which are exclusively reserved for the federal government in item 36 of the Exclusive Legislative List, Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.

The federal government also asked for an order directing Lagos State to account, refund and pay to it all the sums it has charged, received and collected pursuant to the implementation of the Wharf Landing Fees Law. It put the refunds at billions of naira.

The federal government also wants the apex court to authorise it to deduct the accounted sum from the statutory allocation due to the state from the Federation Account.

In a brief filed in support of the originating summons, Agbakoba argued that the intent and purpose of the Wharf Landing Fees Law, “is very clear from the nature of the law itself; which is to levy taxes and tariffs on goods and consignment imported from overseas through the sea ports in the state.”

According to him, the law encroaches on the powers of the federal government to collect import duties and customs duties.

The case was filed during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan and it will come up today at the Supreme Court for hearing. Giving the relationship between the present leadership of the federal government and the state government, it is not clear yet if the case will go ahead or be discontinued.

However, in a counter-affidavit deposed to by Olanrewaju Akinsola who was then the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Justice Sector Reform, Lagos said it had the power to authorise relevant local government councils to collect the fees in areas outside the jurisdiction of the ports authority, pursuant to Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

The state also said the law was aimed at stopping the incidence of multiple and illegal taxes in Lagos, adding that prior to the enactment of the law, several local government areas engaged in indiscriminate imposition of levies on vehicles carrying goods and equipment in a bid to ameliorate the damage caused to their infrastructure by heavy traffics, especially those coming from the ports.

It stated that the Joint Tax Board approved the collection of the fees by Apapa Local Government Area of the state from 2002, and exhibited the letter of approval in its defence.

The state also said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, by its letter dated 16 January, 2002 also approved the recommendation of the Joint Tax Board empowering Apapa Local Government to change and administer wharf landing fees.” It also attached a copy of the approval letter from the finance ministry.

In a letter to the then AGF, Mr, Bello Adoke (SAN), Lagos State explained that the law did not seek to regulate any activity within federal ports.

The letter which was written by Olasupo Shasore (SAN), who was then the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, read in part: “The Wharf Landing Fee was enacted pursuant to paragraphs 9-10 of the Concurrent Legislative List, Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution.

“Apart from the issue of constitutionality, it is also important to draw your attention to the inappropriateness of your solicitors, Olisa Agbakoba and Associates acting as counsel to the AGF in the matter at the Supreme Court. The law firm is a counsel to Hermonfield Limited, a sub-contractor of the collecting agent appointed by the state government to collect wharf landing fees. The bona fide of the law firm is suspect as this case appears to have been filed after failure of an attempt to foist the sub-contractor on the state government.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis

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Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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Rishi Sunak Announces Resignation Amid Labour’s Sweeping Victory

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Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party following a historic victory by Labour in the general election.

Addressing the nation from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Sunak expressed his deep regret and took full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all,” Sunak began, visibly moved.

“But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgement that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The Conservatives experienced a staggering loss, with more seats taken by Labour than in any previous election.

This shift marked a dramatic change in the political landscape, as large swathes of the country turned red. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, claimed victory early Friday morning, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters.

“The UK has the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back,” Starmer proclaimed.

Sunak, who retained his seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire, described the night as “sobering.”

In his concession, he stated, “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight; there is much to learn, and I take responsibility for the loss.”

Following his resignation speech, Sunak and his wife, Akshata, departed from Downing Street for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the King confirmed, “His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Sunak said, “I am honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world.”

He also acknowledged the many Conservative MPs who lost their seats, stating, “It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service.”

As the Conservative Party faces a period of introspection and rebuilding, Sunak emphasized the importance of the party’s role in opposition.

“It is important that the Conservative Party now rebuilds and also takes up its crucial role in opposition, professionally and effectively,” he noted.

The leadership race within the Conservative Party is expected to commence shortly, as the party seeks to navigate its path forward after this significant electoral defeat.

For now, the UK braces for a new political era under Labour’s leadership, with the promise of significant changes on the horizon.

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