Despite the recent downward review of the new Lagos land use charge approved by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch, Lagos has reiterated its absolute rejection of the Land Use Charge as well as high litigation cost in the court, bore hole levies, car registration and all such other oppressive, illegal and extortionate charges.
Speaking during a press conference held in Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday, the NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana said the branch has given the state government up till 28 March to adhere to its positions or risk another protest action.
Describing the land use charge as Governor Ambode Toxic Tax, Ogunlana, said the Land Use Charge Law 2018 as known now must be repealed in its totality.
Speaking on the heels of the committee set up by the state assembly to review the land use charge, Ogunlana said the parliament must within seven days publish in the newspapers the proposed draft of the Reviewed Land Use Charge Law for interested residents and stakeholders to study for adequate participation in public hearings that will precede any amendment and which amendment should be delayed until May 2018.
According to Ogunlana, “Lagosians, from our understanding and interactions are not against taxation in Lagos state and not even against increase in taxation. However, the conditions for their acceptance of taxes are transparent, gradual, reasonable and legal utilised.”
Speaking further, the NBA boss urged Lagosians not to be in a hurry to pay the ‘GATT’, saying that no payment should be made until the government listens and bows to the people’s will.
Speaking on the reduction of the land use charge less than forty-eight hours after the NBA held its historic protest, Ogunlana said while nobody is clapping for the state government, the reduction is being a sham, calculated ploy to hoodwink the good people of Lagos state and to present the facade that Ambode government is a listening and sensitive government.
“The reduction is a sham, farce and a fraud because the rates prescribed now subjected to reduction is based on a fraudulently extractive foundation. There was no proper evaluation properties. Property owners were never aware or involved in any evaluation their properties.
“So when government says it is slashing cost, they are only deceiving people: the amount prescribed are mere fantansies of their imagination.
“In the meanwhile, we heard the news that the House of Assembly has set up a committee towards the review of the LUC 2018 to reflect the purported rejection by the executive arm of the government. It is also being said that the House of Assembly is inviting Lagosians to public hearing on the so called review. Again we have serious objections to the modalities of this line of response.
“A call to a public hearing on a proposed legislation must be accompanied with a draft of the proposition, sent to the invitee ahead of the hearing. So if the House of Assembly, Lagos State want to do a thorough and clean job, let it publish to the world via all media the proposed amendment and give no less than a month for its study by concerned bodies before the hearing takes place. ” Ogunlana submitted.
The NBA boss, who said the NBA Ikeja Branch resisted pressures mounted on them by the police, the Eleko of Eko, Oba Akinolu and other some of others to abandon the earlier held protest, maintained that the NBA Ikeja Branch was not alone in the rejection of the GATT, as it is on record that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Landlords Association also in particular rejected the land use charge.
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