COURT STOPS AKWA IBOM MINISTRY FROM COLLECTING TOLLS

The High Court of Akwa Ibom State, sitting in Uyo Judicial Division, has ordered Akwa Ibom State Government and the Ministry of Transport to stop collecting tolls from commercial vehicles.

The tolls include regular motor park fees and other charges usually collected from commercial motor vehicle operators in the state.

The court ruled that it was not for in the power of the state government or the ministry of transport or their agents to collect such charges.

The court, however, on Wednesday granted Uyo Local Government Area the power to collect the charges.

The presiding judge, Pius Idiong, delivered judgment in the suit brought before him by one Mr. Michael Nnah, who joined others as claimants while one Kingsley Akpan, who is acting as the Chairman of the Ministry of Transport Monitoring Unit, the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Transport; the Akwa Ibom State Government; and Uyo Local Government are the defendants in the case.

The judge ruled that by virtue of the powers granted Uyo LGA and other councils in Nigeria in the Constitution, the state government, the Transport Ministry and Akpan did not have any lawful power or authority to regulate motor parks, and collect parking permits, fees or other charges from commercial motor vehicles in the state.

 

Idiong stated that it would result in double taxation for the state government or the ministry of transport or their agents to collect such taxes simultaneously from commercial motor vehicles operating in the state, when the authorised tier of government, the Uyo LGA, was collecting.

The judge ordered that the defendants to immediately end the collection of parking permits, fees and other charges as well as the regulation of motor parks in Uyo LGA and other local government areas in Akwa Ibom State.

The judge said, “The claimants are entitled to nominal damages hereby assessed at N500,000 only against Akwa Ibom State Government, the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Transport and Mr. Kingsley Akpan to cover at least the unlawful levies, which they were compelled by them to pay and which evidence is before the court.”



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