Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Conscience Party (NCP), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) and Joint Action Committee (JAC) have expressed their disapproval of the 2018 Land Use Charge Law in Lagos state.
The groups did this by storming Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday,in protest against the hike in levies charged by the state government on property in the state.
The protesters, who defied the scorching sun, started the march, which terminated at the Ikeja High Court, demanding an immediate reversal of the new Land Use Charge, LUC law enforcement and subject it to fresh review.
They, however, demanded that other taxes and levies introduced by the Ambode-administration should be shelved and subjected to review to prevent hardship in Lagos.
The protesters, who were dressed in red T-shirts with the inscription, ‘NBA Rejects Oppressive Taxes in Lagos State’, argued that the government never embarked on wider consultation before the law was passed.
They were armed with placards which read: ‘Lagos Is Not Only For The Rich’, ‘We Are Not Selling Houses, Why Commercial Valuation’, ‘Land Use Charge Increment Is Wicked, Satanic and Oppressive’, ‘Assembly Members Must Wake Up and Scrap Anti-people Laws’, Ambode Taxes Will Kill The Masses’, among others.
While reading the letter sent to Ambode on their stand on the new law, NBA Chairman, Ikeja Branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, lamented that the taxes introduced by the present administration would further lead to job losses and cripple the state economy.
He said: “We urge that you suspend the application of Land Use Charge for immediate review now, after excessive consultation with stakeholders.
“We respectively convey our branches’ deep opposition to the direction of your revenue generation drive in Lagos state by way of legislation of taxes and levies, especially the Land Use Charge as captured in the Land Use Charge Law 2018.”
Responding, the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa, assured the protesters they would respond positively to their demands soon.
Ambode, who was represented by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said: “We have received your letter and I can assure you that we will address your demands. And just yesterday, I said that I am open to dialogue. I will not renege on these promises. I want to urge you to remain patient; you will receive positive response soon.”