Ambode shuns lawyers, others protesting against increase in land use charge

Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

LAGOS State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday declined to address lawyers under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association protesting the review of the Land Use Charge.

The NBA, Ikeja Branch led by its Chairman, Adeshina Ogunlana had on Tuesday morning led Lagosians and other civil society groups, to protest over what it described as “Hell Tax” regime recently introduced by the Ambode-led administration.

The protesters, who kicked started their rally from the premises of the Lagos State Magistrate Court, Ikeja, were initially locked out for about 45 minutes while being prevented from gaining access to the State House of Assembly and the Lagos House.

The development angered the protesters, who insisted that they would not talk to members of the State Assembly-led by the Majority Leader, Sania Agunbiade, who had come out to attend to them.

Submitting their protest letters, to the lawmakers, after gaining access, Ogunlana, warned that the Branch with the support of Lagosians would be forced to approach the Court if Governor Ambode and the State Assembly refused to do the needful.

Reacting, Majority Leader of the Assembly, Sania Agunbiade, assured the protesters that their protest letters would be given adequate consideration and that all their concerns would be looked into.

Recall that the NBA had last week given Governor Ambode a seven-day ultimatum to revert to the old Land Use Charge.

Speaking at a press briefing at the NBA secretariat, the Chairman of the branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana said the branch would on Tuesday (today) embark on street protest tagged “walk the talk” to protest the over 400% increment in land use charge and another over 300% in car registration without having a dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

“To the horrible shock of Lagosians, they woke up a few days ago to learn about the hyper-inflated rate of the so-called land use charge which the Governor of Lagos state has escalated upwards 400%.”

“Another notable tax increase is in the car registration fee, which is 300% In the judiciary, filing cost of litigation has jumped astronomically, pushing genuine but financially weak grievances away from employing and enjoying access to legal and judicial justice,” Ogunlana said.

Ogunlana lamented that if these regimes of tax were allowed to stay, Lagos State would be a living hell.

“Clearly the sharp increase in ancillary property tax of the land use charge will have a bandwagon effect on all other services and function in Lagos State as owners of properties and services will automatically transfer other financial burdens to other customers who will have to bear the burden or crumble under the weight.”

Adeshina said that the government could not hide under developing Lagos into a mega-smart city to kill Lagosians with what he called “pharaonic taxes”.

“Must Lagos become a so-called Paradise at the expense of lives and limbs of Lagosians?” he said.

“Ambode should not let people regret voting for him the first time and go on to reject him for a second term,” Ogunlana lamented.

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