Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abdullahi Candido, has vowed that the council is not under any obligation to obey any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into in the past between area councils and any party where the power to collect tenement rates in Abuja was delegated to FCT Inland Revenue Service, vowing that his government cannot allow itself to be intimidated into obeying such.
He said that such agreement might have been made under outright intimidation and force by the past government which he accused of showing readiness to accent to the provisions of the Constitution.
The council boss, who reacted to the report that collection of the tenement rates by the council was suspended by the National Assembly, argued that asking the council to put a stop on the collection within its jurisdiction amounted to undermining the rule of law and subverting its constitutional mandate.
Speaking at the council’s secretariat, Candido argued that his council was legally recognised by the constitution to service the grassroots and heavily depended on collection of taxes to be able to provide amenities to the people.
“As an institution, the National Assembly that went on air to suggest stopping of the collection, I think that there is no institution that can protect the sanctity of the constitution and defend its supremacy than that hallowed chamber,” he said.
He restated the position of the council as having legal backing and statutory function over tenements and said that it should be allowed to discharge its responsibility without any form of harassment or intimidation.
The council boss said that it wished to appeal to relevant bodies especially the National Assembly to be guided by the provisions of the constitution on the issue and to allow the rule of law prevail.
Candido disclosed that previous judgements up to appeal court had expressly recognised and validated the legality and power of AMAC as the tier of government empowered constitutionally to collect the tenement rates within the area under the coverage of the council in Abuja.
He said, “As a responsive and responsible administration, we feel it is pertinent to address the issue in order to put matters straight
“The power of AMAC to collect, demand and enforce compliance in respect to the payment of tenement rate under the coverage of the council is in accordance with section 7 and the fourth schedule of the Constitution.
“The local government Act, laws of FCT 2006 and the Taxes and Levies (Approved list for collection) Act 2004 as well as the Abuja Municipal Area Council Tenement rate collection Bye-law 2012 also lay credence to the council’s claim
“The council perfectly understands its constitutional, statutory and legal powers (by virtue of the Constitution of Nigeria, various Acts of the National Assembly including the local government law adopted by the National Assembly vide Section 13 of the FCT Act Cap 128 LFN 2009 and Court of Appeal decision) and will not involve itself in any activity that is not backed up by law.”