20 March 2018

Nigeria: Lagos Assembly Moves to Review Controversial Land Use Charge

The Lagos State House of Assembly has set up a six-man ad-hoc committee to review the controversial 2018 land use charge in the state.The Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa disclosed this at the plenary yesterday.He urged the people to participate in the second public hearing to have the opportunity to express their grievances.

The speaker disclosed that public hearing was done when the land use charge was in process, before its passage and transmission to the governor for assent."We invited the public, but we didn't hear much from them. If only they had responded at that time, probably we would have done what would be acceptable to all.

"This review is another opportunity for people to be part of the process. This is because it would be very difficult to separate government from taxation. Governance has to be run based on the taxes collected by the government. So we have to look for ways to balance it," he said.

Members of the committees are Chairman House Committee on Lands, Mr. Bayo Oshinowo, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Mr. Yinka Ogundimu, and Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Petitions, Mr. Funmilayo Tejuosho.Others are Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Mr. Tunde Braimoh, with members as Mr. Jude Idimogu (APC-Oshodi-Isolo II) and Mr. Olusola Sokunle (APC-Oshodi-Isolo I)

Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has urged critics of the new charges to lodge their complaints through the state's online platform.He urged the residents to lodge their complaints through on-citizens state online, info.lagos ministry of justice, a toll free line 767, and the hotline-08093929329.He said he had displayed his administration's commitment to the policy of inclusive government, with a 50 per cent reduction in the charges.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday questioned the meeting by the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).The meeting was to discuss the outcome of the protest, which the association held last week against the land use Act.Although, they did not disrupt the gathering, they claimed that they were on a peaceful mission to observe the meeting.

In the course of the meeting, members of the association hinted on plans to stage another protest, adding that the 'reduced land use charge' was unacceptable.Ogunlana said the branch would stage another session tagged "walk the talk" to protest against the over 400 per cent increase in the land use charge and another over 300 per cent charge in car registration.

These, they said, was without having a dialogue with the relevant stakeholders. Ogunlana lamented that if these regimes of taxes were allowed to stay, Lagos State would be a living hell.The NBA chairman cautioned the government against hiding under developing Lagos into a mega-smart city to kill the residents with 'pharaoric taxes.'


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