Lawrence C. Nnoli Versus Lagos State Government and 3 others (SUIT NO: ID/3819GCM/17)
Honourable Justice T.A.O Oyekan-Abdullai of the High Court of Lagos State in her judgment on 19th November 2019 has held that the Lagos state government acting through its Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) does not have the power to prescribe, impose and collect Motor Vehicle radio license fees from vehicle owners.
It would be remembered that the claimant, Lawrence C. Nnoli who is a lawyer approached the High Court of Lagos state in 2017 challenging the action of the Lagos State Government in introducing and collecting motor vehicle radio license fees through its Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA). In his Originating Summons, he averred that the introduction and collection of the Motor vehicle radio licence fee by the Lagos State Government through the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency is a violation of Section 7 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which vest the introduction and collection of such taxes on the local governments.
In its reply, the Lagos State government averred that the Sole Administrators of the entire fifty-seven (57) Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State have already transferred to the state government their powers to impose and collect such taxes through a resolution dated 28th February 2017 and signed by the entire fifty-seven (57) sole administrators of the local governments and local council development areas and as such, it has the right and powers to prescribe, impose and collect such tax on behalf of the local governments and local council development areas.
In his reply on points of law, the claimant, Lawrence C. Nnoli replied that the sole administrators as appointed by the governor of Lagos state cannot legally administer the powers and authority belonging to the local governments. He further contended that all rights and authority vested on the local governments by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) are the exclusively preserved rights of the local governments as run by their democratically elected officials and that even Section 2 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection)Act, Cap. T2, LFN, 2004 expressly prohibits any tier of government including the local government from delegating its powers and duties of collection of taxes to another entity whether it is to individuals or to another tier of government.
Agreeing with the submission of Mr Lawrence C. Nnoli, the court was of the opinion that “collection of the radio license by the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) on behalf of the local governments is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect”.