By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has given Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, a seven-day ultimatum to immediately reverse the new land use charge recently announced by his government or face a mass street protest next week Monday.
The NBA Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, made this known Wednesday at a press conference held at the secretariat of the association in Ikeja.
In his speech titled: ‘Hell Tax Must Go’, Ogunlana said it was clear that if these regimes of tax are allowed, the state would be turned into a “toxic environment and a living hell for Lagosians.”
The NBA chairman said the state government cannot hide under “developing Lagos into a Mega Smart City” to kill Lagosians with Pharaoic taxes.”
He said the increase the Land Use Charge would have an adverse effect on all other services and functions in the state as owners of properties and services would automatically transfer other financial burdens to their customers who would have to bear the burden or crumble.
Ogunlana explained that it was absurd that the governor is seeking dialogue after its government had deliberately and selfishly created the situation in the first instance.
According to him, “We think it is highly absurd for the governor to be seeking dialogue over the issue of the hellish tax regimes after his government deliberately and selfishly created the situation in the first instance.”
He added: “Consultation ought to come before legislation and not the other way round. Our respectful and sober view is that the government of the state has lost sync with the difficult and harsh realities of life of the people of the state and has taken their support and goodwill for his government for granted.
“Ambode should not let the people regret voting for him the first time and go on to reject him for a second term.
“Few weeks ago, Lagosian 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 to 400 per cent.
“Recently, one of our colleagues who regularly pay the sum of N140,000 as LUC for office building received a notice of the LUC demand, he is now to pay N2million.
“If these tax rates are allowed, Lagos State would be turned into a ‘toxic environment and a living hell’ for Lagosians.”
Ogunlana therefore demanded a scrapping of the move by the state government of its new tax regime to turn the state into a hell.
“Life will become not only too expensive but volatile and dangerous.
“The state government cannot hide under “developing Lagos into a Mega Smart City to kill Lagosians with Pharaoic taxes.
“If by March 12, 2018, the state government refuses to suspend or jettison the new land use charge rates, car registration fees, litigation fees, NBA Ikeja branch shall conduct a ‘Walk the Talk Protest’ in Lagos as phase two of the struggle against the ‘economic genocide the Lagos State Government is waging against Lagosians,” Ogunlana added.