The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday held a day public hearing on the controversial amendments to the state’s Land Use Charge law 2018 amidst chaos and rancor.
The lawmakers had passed the Land Use Charge Bill 2017 to law on Monday January 28, and the Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday, February 5, 2018, signed it into law.
But residents of the state and other stakeholders had rejected the new law, describing it as draconian and exploitative.
The Public hearing on Tuesday was designed to address concerns of Lagosians and protests that have been going on since the law was enacted.
However, the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, which had been at the vanguard of opposition to the amendment of land use charge, had opposed the public hearing.
The Association had asked that the public hearing should be shifted to between 10 and 15 April 2018 to allow stakeholders “adequacy of cogitative and comparative study of the proposed amendment as well as qualitative and comprehensive submissions, via their memoranda."
"Our humble request we pray be appreciated, from the perspective of the dictum. What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well" and not to be misinterpreted as a calculated attempt to scuttle, hobble or hinder your legislative prerogative and responsibility," the Association said.
The Lagos House of Assembly proceeded with its planned public hearing on Tuesday despite acknowledging receipt of the Association letter.
Speaking at the public hearing the Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa justified the increase in the rate of the land use charge on the need to generate more revenue for the state.
"What we are getting from the Federal government is not enough. The only way to continue project is to generate revenue and the only way to generate revenue through tax,” the Speaker said.
Members of Nigerian Bar association, Ikeja branch later walked out from the meeting claiming they cannot stand being part of a staged and well scripted public hearing.
The Land Use Charge is an annual charge rate on a percentage of the market value of a property.
There have been controversies over the amendment of the law which according to some stakeholders, increased charges by as much as 400 percent.