Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi on Tuesday reiterated his support for the Federal government on the ongoing battle on the collection of Value Added Taxes(VATs) between the central government and state governments.
Umahi, who spoke at the inauguration of South-East leaders of the Christian Association in Nigeria(CAN), noted that now was not the time for states to demand control over their resources especially amid the insecurity bedeviling the nation, which he said affect some states more than some others.
The governor said this while addressing the sit-at-home order given by the agitating Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist group.
He said the people of the South-East will be doing themselves no good if they obeyed the order, stressing that it is more dangerous staying indoors.
He said “the sit-at-home is not biting the southeast Governors. If you sit-at-home, some of their children are outside the country, it’s not biting them.
It was at this point, he dabbled into the issue of VAT. “Nobody is sitting at home in the West, in the North, in the South-South. We are only sitting at home here, what do we intend to achieve? Nothing!, he said.
“We are killing ourselves and we say we are agitating, agitating for what? So, it’s a very terrible thing. When our people push for restructuring, yes, I agree with restructuring but it has to be administrative restructuring, I will continue to preach it. Our states that are very weak must be taken care of before we say let everybody control their resources.
“There was a time we were house boys and house girls and they were very helpful in service to other states. It is time to be built up before you can collect their VATs separately. I will continue to preach that allow the federal government to collect VAT and share for us”.
Umahi further called on CAN and traditional leaders to sensitize the people of the zone on the dangers of the sit-at-home order.
He said; “We fear that a splinter group may come and toe this thing we are sitting on Mondays, Tuesdays and on Fridays and on Sunday sit-at-home by the Christian body.
“Another sit-at-home on Wednesdays and Thursdays, yes, I am hearing that and then the end would have come and would have become very clear to our people. I never see when people brought war upon themselves.
“So, I plead with the Christian body to announce the dangers they are bringing to ourselves.”
Rivers and Lagos states have signed into law the bill to empower them to collect VAT. Ogun also moves inches closer to doing the same. But the Appeal court has ordered them to stand down. However, Governor Nyesom Wike, refusing to bulge, has proceeded to the Supreme court.