The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, declared on Tuesday that the north will not break up Nigeria in the fight over VAT or restructuring because the area is well-equipped to survive without relying on the south.
Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, participated in an interview session on Arise TV on Tuesday, September 21.
According to SLEEKGIST, the NEF allegation came amid discontent in some sections of the North over new rules in Lagos and Rivers States that allow them to withhold VAT within their states.
Speaking on the VAT imbroglio engulfing Nigeria which is presently at the Court of Appeal, Dr. Baba-Ahmed while giving the position of the North, said:
“The thing about is: the north wants restructuring; the north wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
“I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the north, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate,” he said in giving the perspective of the North on the VAT war that is presently raging in Nigeria.
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