Hundreds of Lagosians led by the Ikeja chapter of Nigeria Bar Association, on Tuesday took to streets in protest against recent increases in taxes and charges paid by the state government.
The Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration has begun the enforcement of about 400% increment in Land Use Charge, Car Registration and Litigation fee in the state.
While speaking during the protest, Chairman of NBA Ikeja, Adesina Ogunlana, described the increases as inhuman, urging Lagosians to reject them by not paying the new land use charge.
Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer and an activist who joined the protest, said the governor is fulfilling the wish of the elites and cabal to amass wealth for the corrupt few with imposition of astronomical charges on the residents.
He also dismissed claim by governor that the charge would only be paid by house owners.
Inibehe argued that house owners would eventually distribute the charge to all of their tenants thereby affecting all residents.
Malachy Ugwummadu of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, asserted that the bill is coming at the wrong time considering the current inflation rate. He added that minimum wage must go up before the Governor can increase charges.
“The law did not say the land use charge should be increased upward. Why can't the governor increase it downward?” He asked.
Malachy added, “Minimum wage is still N18,000, he (Ambode) should increase minimum wage being collected by the people before he can upwardly review any tax in the state.”
On his part, Aremu Abiodun of the Joint Action Fronts, maintained that the bill is condemnable and is targeted at driving the poor out of Lagos.
Having received a bill of over N700,000, Mr. Oreoluwa Eboda, a house owner in Lagos state lamented that the law is anti-human and should be reversed.
“A bill of N110,000 was brought for the year 2018 and a total fee of more than N700,000 was brought to my house that I should pay. They said my house which is just a bungalow is valued at N14.5 million. Ambode should immediately reverse the increase in the land use charge", said the angry Landlord.
Receiving the protesters, the state's Commissioner for Information, Kehinde Bamigbetan, told the protesters that the clerk of the House of Assembly would receive the letter of protest on behalf of the governor, while adding that the House would look at the content of the letter and act within the confines of the law.
He said, “the Governor called for dialogue and this protest is part of it, we would deliver the message to the full house and Governor.”