- Ikeja NBA Gives Lagos Seven-day Ultimatum to Reverse Land Use Charge
The Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, has given the Lagos State Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the recent hike in Land Use Charge.
The Chairman, NBA Ikeja Branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, said in a statement on Wednesday that the association was set to embark on a mass protest tagged: ‘Hell Tax Must Go’ against the new tax regime.
Ogunlana stated that the NBA was strongly opposed to the LUC, which he described as an “excessive and arbitrary tax regime” calculated at turning Lagos State into a “toxic environment and a living hell” for the residents.
He said the association would give Governor Akinwunmi Ambode till next Monday to retrace his steps on the LUC, failing which its members would hit the streets on Tuesday.
According to him, the protest will be the association’s “first phase of critical and constructive response to the decidedly insensitive, provocative, arbitrary and parochial tax agenda programme against the Ambode administration.”
The NBA chairman said, “Few weeks ago, Lagosians woke up to learn about the hyper-inflated rate of the so-called Land Use Charge, which the governor of Lagos State has escalated upwards by 400 per cent.
“Recently, one of our colleagues, who regularly paid the sum of under N140,000 as LUC for an office building, received a demand notice for the LUC; he is now to pay the amount of N2m.
“If these tax rates are allowed, Lagos State will be turned into a toxic environment and a living hell for Lagosians.”
According to Ogunlana, the new LUC will have an adverse effect on all other services and functions in Lagos State as owners of properties and services will automatically transfer other financial burdens to their customers, who will have to bear the burden.
He added, “My view is that the government of Lagos State has lost sync with the difficult and harsh realities of life of the people of Lagos and has taken their support and goodwill for granted. Life will become not only too expensive, but volatile and dangerous.
“The government cannot hide under developing Lagos into a mega smart city to kill Lagosians with exorbitant taxes.”
Meanwhile, residents of the Lekki peninsula have revealed plans to go to the Lagos State Land Use Appeal Tribunal over the new bills being served on them under the re-enacted LUC Law.
The Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association, a coalition of all residents associations along the Lekki-Epe Axis of the state from the 1004 Estate to Epe, met on Sunday and unanimously resolved that the members would not pay the new charges, which they said were four times higher than what they paid in 2017.
The Chairman, VGC Property Owners and Residents Association, Mr. Olusegun Ladega, said residents found the new charges exorbitant and out of tune with their economic realities.
Ladega, who is also the Vice Chairman, LERSA, told our correspondent that the charges were based on unrealistic and arbitrary valuation of residents’ properties.
He stated that the residents had commenced the process of documentation and had set up a committee to take their case to the Lagos State Land Use Appeal Tribunal.
Ladega explained, “We were served bills on the Land Use Charge that were about four times higher compared with what we paid in 2017 due to the valuation of our properties through a process we know nothing of and consider as unrealistic and arbitrary.
“The figures with which they valued our properties are out of tune with market realities and we do not even know when these properties were valued. How do you value a property without the owner knowing? We have resolved to take our case to the tribunal shortly.”
Ladega noted that residents of the peninsula were being squeezed economically as they also had to pay tolls to get to their houses despite the fact that there was only one way leading into the area.
He called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to make laws that were fair, just and in tune with economic realities.
“They should look at the recently passed law and see if they have acted in the best interest of the citizens,” he advised.
Charges low, won’t cause hardship – LASG
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government on Wednesday said the Land Use Charge Law of 2018 would not cause hardship, adding that the rates were not high.
Speaking during a press briefing in Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the figures being bandied around were not true, adding that people with high amounts in the demand notices were those who had not paid land charges for several years.
“There have been so many misconceptions and misinformation about the new law. The law is a progressive enactment duly made by the House of Assembly and handed over to the executive for implementation in the overall interest of the people,” he stated.
Shedding more light on the law, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, said it was a merger of all property and land-based rates and charges in the state.
“It is a consolidation of the ground rent, tenement rate and neighbourhood improvement levy. The owners and occupiers holding a lease to a property for 10 years or more are now liable to pay the annual charge,” Ashade stated.
The commissioner said property owners could determine the amount to be paid by multiplying the market value of their properties with the applicable relief rate of 40 per cent and the annual charge rate.
He noted that the minimum rate was only increased from N1,200 it was in 2001 to N5,000.
Sanwo-Olu Orders Full Reopening of Markets
Governor of Lagos State Orders Full Reopening of All Markets
Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has ordered the full reopening of markets in the state after a report showed new cases of COVID-19 have subsided.
The governor ordered the full reopening of both the food markets and non-food markets across the metropolis.
Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said the governor took the decision to further deepen trade and commerce and ease the hardship of recent happenings.
It should be recalled that the markets were shut due to the outbreak of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in March before they were partially reopened for activities in May.
The governor, however, urged all traders to observe all safety protocols in order to prevent a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks on Looted Palliatives, Explains Delay
Looted Palliatives: Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has spoken on the recent actions of criminals and thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and looted warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept for distributions.
The group refuted claims that the stolen items were hoarded for certain people instead of distribution to the vulnerable they were meant for. This is despite the fact that some of the palliatives were already rotten by the time criminals broke into the warehouses.
Some of the looters, who spoke with the press, said a sizeable number of the items were already rotten and destroyed by rodents, while one of the lawmakers tasked with distribution claimed he planned to distribute the items on his birthday. A statement that angered many Nigerians.
However, in a statement issued on behalf of the group by Osita Nwanisobi, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, on Monday, CACOVID said due to the huge size of the items meant to be distributed, the complex process involved in manufacturing, packaging and the eventual distribution to 2 million most vulnerable families across the 774 local government in the country, the group agreed to conduct the supply in stages, especially given locked down imposed by the Federal Government during the period.
The statement reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver, and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.
“The very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”
Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest
Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.
According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.
This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.
Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.
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