Lagos – The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, on Tuesday took to the streets to protest the reviewed Land Use Charge in Lagos State by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Adesina Ogunlana, the NBA chairman, led members of the branch and others in the protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex to urge Ambode to reverse the policy.
Ikeja NBA had last week given the governor seven days ultimatum to reverse the new increment in the Land Use Charge, and failure on the part of the government to reverse it resulted in the protest.
However, the governor says he is open to negotiation on the policy.
The march kicked off at 9am from the NBA secretariat, Ikeja Lagos, with members of the branch and civil society.
During the long walk from the NBA secretariat to Alausa, the protesters distributed handbills with inscriptions “Ambode, Stop This Oppressive Land Use Charge”, “We Say No To Taxation”, etc.
The protesters, who were chanting solidarity songs under the scorching sun, were received at the entrance of the Lagos State House of Assembly by security aides who barred the protesters from gaining access into the premises.
After much exchange, the House of Assembly approached the protesters who refused to be calmed down due to the fact that the gate was shut against them.
When the protesters, who refused to dialogue with members of the House of Assembly, were finally allowed into the premises after much drama, the NBA chairman presented a strong-worded letter addressed to Governor Ambode.
While reading the letter titled ‘Call For A Re-Think And Review Of The Land Use Charge Tax, All Other Excessive Taxes, Levies And Charges In Lagos State’, Ogunlana urged the governor to reverse the LUC.
Ogunlana also held that the increment in tax would create hyper-inflation in food, transport, accommodation, among others for Lagosians.
He said: “We urge our governor to listen to wise counsel over these excessive taxes of government as imposed on the people and review same downward considerably.
“We also urge the governor to suspend the application of the LUC law now for immediate review of tax extensive consultations with stakeholders.”
The letter was received on behalf of the governor and the House Of Assembly speaker by Kehinde Bamigbetan, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy.
While receiving the letter, Bamigbetan thanked members of NBA and assured them that the governor would get back to them on their request.
“The Lagos State governor is a leader with a listening ear and he will get back to you,” he said, adding that their concerns and grievances were open to dialogue.
Non-governmental organisations present at the protest include Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Joint Action Front (JAF), United Action for Democracy (UAD), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), among others.